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Monday, May 10, 2010

Lesson Planet Review

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My kids just cannot believe that their dad and I grew up during the days when most families DID NOT have a computer in the home and we actually looked things up in encyclopedias or dictionaries when we needed to know something.   To tell the truth, I'm really glad that as a homeschooling mom computers ARE available in most homes and the internet is available for daily use now.  I often look up information on the internet.  Being able to access activities and ideas from all over the world is such an amazing and wonderful thing! 

When I was given a free 3-month trial membership to Lesson Planet, I was happy to try it out and see what it has to offer to homeschooling families like mine.  First of all, Lesson Planet is a search engine that is meant for teachers--whether public or private school teachers or homeschool moms and dads.   When a topic is typed in, websites that have been reviewed by teachers come up.  Those topics can be narrowed down by using more specific words, by designating a grade level, or by specifying what kind of rating (2 stars or 5 stars, etc.) each website has earned.  Once the teacher chooses a website (or more than one) she can go to that website and find lesson plans or worksheets that relate to that topic.  The advantage is that instead of getting an infinite number of websites by Googling a topic, the list is more manageable and should (hopefully) contain only websites that are appropriate and might be useful in your school or homeschool program.

There are pros and cons to consider about Lesson Planet.  One of the good things is that it contains links to more than 200,000 lesson plans and worksheets.  I think that most any topic a teacher could need can probably be found using Lesson Planet.  Another good thing is that Lesson Planet members have access to LessonMaker, NewsletterMaker, and Online Storage.    Members also have access to a Homeschooling Guide who writes articles giving lesson planning tips and ideas, giving links to related resources, and offering some of her own favorite lesson plans for viewing.  Another thing I like is the Calendar feature.  Members have access to a calendar telling about birthdays of famous people born on each day and/or important events that happened on each day in history.  If you want to find out more about these specific features, you can sign up for a 10-day free trial.  

Although there weren't really any specific things that I disliked about Lesson Planet (other than several dead links I encountered--which are almost inevitable with the rate that internet resources change), I didn't find it extremely useful in my own homeschool.  I know many homeschooling moms who love to use activites and ideas to supplement lessons and keep the kids interested and involved in lessons.  I think those moms would love Lesson Planet and benefit from using it.  I, however, am one of those moms who looks for ways to somehow manage to get done what is necessary--not to supplement what we already have to do. 

In any case, though, it might be worth trying out Lesson Planet  for free for 10 days to see if it is something that might benefit you and your family.  Membership costs $39.95 per year, but I would encourage you to try out the free trial first.  Whether you are a classroom teacher or homeschool parent, a free trial is always a great thing!  The trial period will allow you time to try out searching for lesson plans, ideas, and worksheets as well as to try out some of the other features that members have access to.   You can take a look at the experiences and opinions of other Crew members here.
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NOTE:  As a Crew member, I received a free 3-month trial for the purpose of writing this review.  I received no other compensation.  The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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