Tuesday, November 3, 2009

abcteach.com Membership

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The TOS Crew members were given a short trial membership to abcteach for the purposes of review, and there just wasn't enough time to take advantage of all the things available there!

In case you have never heard of abcteach.com, I'll give you a little bit of information, so that you can decide if it would be helpful for you in your homeschool.

abcteach contains a wealth of educational material, aimed mostly towards preK-8th grade needs. There are worksheets galore and units of study as well. Here is a page that will give you more information about abcteach, including an idea of what is offered on the free portion of the abcteach site, but now I want to let you know about how we used the member portion of the site...

WORKSHEETS~
I know LOTS of homeschooling moms shudder when they hear that word, but guess what?

  • Sometimes it's exactly what your KIDS are looking for! (This *is* the one reason that I have my kids doing a spelling "workbook curriculum".... they are both fairly natural spellers, but they LIKE having a workbook to complete each year.... OK, I can handle that.... ;) )
  • Sometimes it's what YOU need... I know that a lot of our "work" is done orally, so sometimes having something that reviews what they know is helpful for inclusion in a portfolio of work, and quite honestly,
  • Sometimes a little "busy work" is good for the siblings of a toddler.... ;) Read on, though... some of this "Busy work" is just plain fun!
But seriously.... there are worksheets for so many different areas, themes, topics that you might be studying.... here is a list of the "sub-categories" in the member directory:
  • Art and Music:
  • Book Units:
  • Border Papers:
  • Clip Art:
  • Fun Stuff:
  • Graphic Organizers:
  • Handwriting:
  • Holiday/Seasonal:
  • Homeschooling and Parent Resources:
  • Language Arts:
  • Languages/ESL:
  • Learning Centers:
  • Math:
  • Middle School/Junior High:
  • Montessori Materials:
  • PowerPoint:
  • PreK/Early Elementary:
  • Puzzles/Games:
  • Report Forms:
  • Science:
  • Shape Books:
  • Social Studies:
  • Sports/Physical Education/Health:
  • Teaching Extras:
  • Test Taking Skills:
  • Theme Units:
  • Think Green, Teach Green:
  • Thinking Skills:
Each of these include further break-downs~ there is a LOT of material to make use of....
I'm going to give you an idea with a couple of the larger catergories....

In the "PreK/Early Elementary" section you will find numerous pages on the following....

abcteach Early Reader Word Walls - Alphabet Letter Patterns - Alphabet Posters - Badges - Booklets - Certificates - Charts - Class Surveys - Coloring Pages - Colors - Community/Community Helpers - Cut and Paste - Days and Months - Dots - Early Readers - Easy Puzzles - Easy Rebus Sentences - Elkonin Boxes - Facial Expressions - Family - Flashcards - Folder Game Boards - Handwriting - Matching - Math Concepts - Math Counters - Miscellaneous - Paper Beads - Patterns - Picture Cloze - Picture Sentences - Picture/Photograph Cards - Pre-Reading - Primary Maps - Projects - Punch Pin Cards - Reading/Book Units - Rhyming - Senses - Sewing Cards - Signs - Songs - Sorting - Spelling - Story Sequence - Theme Day - Tracing Patterns - Word Families - Word Shapes Activities - Word Slides - Writing


and in the "Teaching Helps" you will find a staggering number of pages as well:

Alphabet Letter Patterns - Badges - Banners - Bookmarks - Bookplates - Bulletin Boards - Calendars - Candy Bar Wrappers - Certificates - Classroom Discipline - Classroom Helpers - Daily Schedule Cards - Desk Tags - Flags - Flashcards - Folder Board Games - Forms - Gift Tags - Greeting Cards - Homework Extras - Incentive Charts - Labels - Lesson Plan Templates - Maps - Memory Books - Mini Offices - Monthly Assignments - Name Tags - Newsletter Forms - Notecards - Paper Beads - Passes - Patterns - Pocket Chart Cards - Portfolios - Postcards - Posters - Rubrics - Signs - Subject/Theme Assignment Sheets - Templates - Tracing Patterns - Vocabulary Extras - Word Families - Word Slides - Word Strips with Pictures - Word Wall Words - Word Wheels

Now, I realize that a lot of these look like they are generally geared more for the earlier years, but there are graphic organizers, thinking skills, writing prompts, science report/chart/forms, maps and... oh so much more.

However..... my absolute FAVORITE thing about the member site is the ability to create my own worksheets! Below you will see some of the variety that are available, and you can even check them out and print out a ready-made sample, to get an idea of what your worksheets could look like.

abctools
custom worksheet generators
Word Sort
ABC Sort
Shapebook
Shapebook &
Border Paper
Word Search
Word Search
Unscramble
Unscramble
Crossword
Crossword
Math
Math
Bingo
BINGO
Sudoku
Sudoku
Word Shape
Word Shape
Spelling
Spelling
Missing Letter
Missing Letter
Circle Spell
Circle & Spell

I was looking for something to challenge my 4th and 7th grader with the science curriculum that we are using right now (More about that later this week... ;) ), so I pulled up the crossword generator, typed in the vocabulary words and definitions for the first unit, and hit "Create". Now... the really cool thing is that I was able to make this crossword with two difficulty levels. The 4th grader's version had a word bank, but the 7th grader's version did not. How great is that? I think that my younger finished a little before his sister, but not too much before, so I felt that I was able to review the same material at the same time, but have something that was able to challenge them both on different levels with not too much work on my part!! :)

I plan to utilize the word searches as well, and DD is a huge fan of sudoku, so I can just print them out for her here! BTW, if you DON'T utilize a spelling "Workbook" curriculum, (ie.. All About Spelling, Spelling Power, etc....) I think that these worksheet generators would be perfect to add some fun to a child's spelling. (The main thing that my kids REALLY enjoy besides the tests... {grin} are the crosswords and scrambled words in their workbooks.....hmmm... maybe I can do without next year?)

If you are at a loss as to how these "generators" work, abcteach has developed a number of tools and tutorials (including videos) that will help you to make good use of your time and effort, when looking to supplement your curriculum.

There are only two things that I could think of that would improve the "useability" of the abcteach site:
  • A "preview" of each document~ I found it takes a little more time than I'd like when I'm looking for a particular worksheet or subject to find exactly what I'm looking for. If the premade pdf pages could be "previewed" on the website before downloading to my computer, that would be a great help, not only in time, but in space on my computer, which is almost bursting at the chips....
  • When searching by keyword, I would find it useful to have a list on the side, like Amazon or Ebay, or any number of other types of sites, where the search results are categorized. I realize that the directory is also helpful, but this would be a useful touch that would streamline the search process.
All in all, I am very impressed with abcteach, and find it a good value for the money, so much so that even on a tight budget, I scraped up funds to purchase a year's membership.
The current prices are:
  • $40 per user per year, or $70 per user for 2 years (individuals and "Groups" of 2-9... each user pays $40 fee)
Now, I imagine that a homeschool group would "Qualify" as a "Group".... you'll have to contact abcteach.com to verify that... but here is the information
  • $35 per user for groups of 10-29 people
  • $25 per user for groups of 30 or more,
  • and if you catch it when it's offered (I know that the Homeschool Buyers Co-op has a group buy for half price going on until November 30) there is a Super Site license for groups of 100 or more.
If you think this could be a good fit for your homeschool.... Check out the free portion of the site, with 5000 worksheets, and then decide if you might like to utilize the 30,000 more that are on the members site, not including the ones that you can generate yourself..... ;)

As always, please check out my fellow TOS Crewmates reviews, to help you make the most sound decisions on where to spend your homeschool budget.

Blessings~

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