Saturday, September 5, 2009

Review: ABC

I'm a big-time fan of worksheets. Whether this stems from my years in school or just an insane fascination with the printed word (or a combination of both), I cannot say for sure. All I know, is that I tend to do an awful lot of worksheet printing around here, and my ink and paper costs reflect that.

For several years, I've been aware of and used, but never their paid membership subscription. However, as part of the TOS Crew, I was provided with full, free access to their website in exchange for this review.

What it is: contains an extensive library of printable worksheets on virtually every subject imaginable, for Kindergartners on up to the upper elementary/junior high level. (Although there seems to be much more available for the elementary-aged students verses the older ones.)

The website offers everything from your basic "readin' writin' and 'rithmatic" sheets, to themed worksheets, book report outlines, handwriting practice, coloring sheets, crossword puzzles, flashcards, and more.

For the classroom teacher, the site provides nifty items like bulletin board trims, incentive charts, name tags, and certificates, plus lesson plan templates, power point presentation templates, and portfolio evaluation sheets.

While the site offers 5000+ free worksheets, paid members receive access to over 35,000 additional worksheets and teacher helps, with new items added each week, plus have access to their Worksheet Generator. (! Talk about a huge difference!)

What it costs:

Obviously, the free option is self-explanatory. With this option your access is very limited, but there are still several great worksheets to choose from. The free worksheets also contain ads, and there's no getting around them. Free users also do not have access to their Worksheet Generator, which is a bummer because it's so neat. (I loved the word shape one the best! It worked out really well for my "I hate spelling" son.)

Membership Package: $40/year or $70/ for two years, for 1-9 students. Larger groups receive a reduced rate of $35-25, based upon number of licenses. Groups of 100 or more are offered their "Super Site Licensing Price".

Paid members receive access to every single worksheet available, plus the Worksheet Generator, and your worksheets are ad-free. For more information, please click here.

Final Opinion:

I have to say that while I'm a fan of worksheets, I do have a problem paying for them. However, after using the paid membership service for a few weeks, I find myself torn in regard to the $40 price tag. Yes, it's still a bit much for our family's budget right now, but perhaps say around tax-return time, I may reconsider.

I was very impressed with the differences between the free vs. paid offerings, and my younger two children looked forward to the many different worksheets (I think they were bored with the other ones...oops!). Several times, I just let them scroll through the site and pick out one or two worksheets they wanted to do for fun. (Yeah, we're weird like that...) But in all honesty, they loved it.

Overall, I'd have to say that is a worthy site. While worksheets may not necessarily be every homeschooler's "thing", I do think that even the most die-hard, anti-worksheet family would glean some benefit from utilizing this website.

It also may not be the most economical option, depending upon your family's budget. However, when you consider all you get for $40 a year, especially for the younger grades, it doesn't seem too bad.

Therefore, I proudly award 1.5 thumbs up. :)

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