Sunday, November 1, 2009

abcteach, a TOS Crew Review

The fact that I didn't know about abcteach at all and didn't expect to like it when I first logged on set me up for a huge surprise. I had no idea how much I needed a resource like this one until I began using it in order to review it. I even subscribed to the member section after our review period was over.

abcteach explains on it's website that it's aim is "to be a user-friendly educational site that provides quality printable materials for immediate use by teachers, education majors, and parents." Topics include math, reading, science, social studies, Montissori materials, shapes, art & music, foreign language, test taking, theme units, seasonal activities and and and.

Created by a retired schoolteacher, it's target student audience is pre-school through 8th grade. That's right up my alley! :)

There is a FREE section that offers users more than 5,000 documents, ranging from single page worksheets to "full ten-page units".

The MEMBERSHIP section provides subscribers access to more than 35,000 printables that include the handiest document generators I've ever seen, all in ONE place. "abctools are designed to help teachers create the documents they need for their classrooms when they can't find exactly what they are looking for elsewhere. We currently have tools for creating handwriting worksheets (ZB-Style Font, D’Nealian, Handwriting Without Tears, and Queensland), crossword puzzles, shapebooks, word walls, word unscrambles, word searches, math_worksheets, and sudoku. You can try all of our tools for free!" I get a kick out of creating my own word searches.

My (incorrect) first glance impression was that abcteach is a web site of busy work. MY FIRST IMPRESSION WAS WRONG.

I use abcteach a lot more than I thought I would. Because my homeschooler's academic skills are scattered from pre-school to 1st or 2nd grade, I can pull from different grade levels. I am a collector of workbooks, and they take up room on bookshelves and require time to browse through as I search for the "just right" page or lesson. abcteach is set up in a way that makes browsing on-line easy and quick, because I can search by grade level and subject matter. (Yes, I've wasted some time here just looking at it all, too--it's so much more comprehensive than my workbook collection! I wonder how long I will need in order to browse everything on the member section? I haven't seen it all, yet.)

Several times, I stumbled across something in abcteach that compliments a curriculum or resource we are already using. (Yeah, baby, print that and put it in my stack!)

abcteach sends members a weekly newsletter, which spotlights new items, which are sometimes seasonal in nature. I was able to print some October activities right away, even before I had the idea to do some October and autumn themed activities. I probably get a little bit too excited when I see the newsletter in my in-box. I've learned that abcteach always spotlights something I can use right now, for where we are.

There are fine motor activities for little hands that include cutting, coloring, and pin-pushing on abcteach.

abcteach also gives me the ability to print some activities that I know my daughter can complete independently along with some that she and I will complete together. Several times, I've studied some of the worksheets without printing them in order to get ideas on how to teach a new concept to my daughter.

If you have a child who needs visual supports at home, abcteach offers a section of graphic organizers and another section that is a nice variety of daily schedule cards. Some of them are more school oriented, but there are many that can be used at home, too.

We live 600+ miles from relatives, and I think that I'll print some activities for our next drive back "home". I need to start a folder of activities to take along when I know we're going to be in a waiting room.

Here's the pricing:

$40 per user per year / $70 two years — individuals/groups 2-9
$35 per user per year — groups of 10-2
$25 per user per year — groups of 30 or more. **SUPER SITE LICENSE pricing available for groups of 100 or more. Contact for details.

Obviously, once you purchase a membership, there are other costs involved. You'll need a printer, toner, paper, and maybe card stock.

There are enough documents on the free section of the web site for you to take a good look and decide if you'd like access to the membership section. Please take a few minutes to browse and see for yourself, and watch this intro video to learn more.
abcteach provided me free access to the subscription area of the web site for several weeks so that I could use the web site and review the product here for you.

My experience with abcteach has been limited to preschool and early elementary levels. Some of my crewmates are homeschooling older children. To read what my Crewmates thought of this product, go HERE.

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