Wednesday, June 24

Schoolhouse Teachers VS Khan Academy

 I was confident in my ability to homeschool through middle school. After all, most adults should have a good working knowledge of the information addressed up through eighth grade. However, the more specialized subjects that come with high school gave me pause for concern. 
  • Did I remember enough biology and chemistry to do it justice when teaching?
  • Would I be able to dissect an algebraic equation enough to adequately teach it?
  • And what about Latin...which I have no knowledge of, but he still wants to learn?
It was at this phase that I began to consider outsourcing parts of the school day. We looked around at various curricula, and there are some fantastic options out there! But online options seemed like a good fit for (a) the future of our tech-driven world and (b) portability as we traveled. More B than A.

After looking around a great deal, the two best options for us were SchoolhouseTeachers and Khan Academy. One is free; one is not. That seemed like it'd be end of story, but there's so much more underneath the surface here...

For starters, only certain subjects are available at Khan, and many of the ones we were seeking were not on that list. Secondly, I'm not a huge fan of Common Core, and it does follow those standards. After taking four classes through Khan, we eventually gave it up entirely because of the sheer number of errors found in the courses. We found errors in a history course (more of a re-written history than what you'd find in textbooks that are thirty years old). We also came across a math course that counted all correct answers wrong on the quiz. (Mom went back, took the quiz using a calculator, and it still counted everything wrong.) This was what led us toward using a different option for online schooling, in spite of it not being free.

SchoolhouseTeachers gives you an excellent bang for your buck.

  • There are over 450 courses taught by outstanding teachers. Courses vary in length from a few weeks to a full year or more, and there is something for every member of the family.
  • There are printable lesson plans for courses that help you keep track of lesson completion.
  • They also offer a handy checklist that shows which courses are appropriate for each grade level.
  • One membership covers every class on the site for your entire family, from preschool to high school, and beyond.
  • Classes are not live, so you can start ANY time!
  • There are no per-class or per-child fees and you can cancel anytime.
  • They provide you with multiple printable planners, a free membership to World Book Library (e-books), Right Start Media access (streamable movies, such as Drive Through History), and access to the Applecore recordkeeping system.
  • You get a print copy of The Old Schoolhouse magazine, and all back issues are online as well, so that you can access the information as it becomes relevant to your school.
  • Entire pages are dedicated to parenting special needs, preschoolers, high schoolers, and focused learning centers (new ideas for teaching struggling learners).
  • There are sections on homemaking, homeschool living, monthly menu plans, and discounts for a multitude of vendors–there’s even a section just for craft ideas for the kids!
  • The Monthly Menu page offers up an entire month of seasonally-appropriate recipes for each month of the year.
  • Schoolhouse Expo seminars, classes specifically for adults, family movie access (streaming), and extra member discounts make this great for parents, too!
  • For one flat rate, you have everything needed for the school year -- all grades, all classes -- at your fingertips. You choose whether to use printable or streaming classes. The only thing required is reliable internet!

  • So how exactly do they compare?
  • We've used both SchoolhouseTeachers and Khan Academy extensively, and found each to have their merits depending on what we needed at the time.  Here's a short breakdown on how they differ...

Schoolhouse Teachers
Khan Academy
Video, interactive, and printable courses - online and offline options
Strictly video-based courses – all online
Several course options for each subject (per grade)
One course for each subject (per grade)
Parent keeps track of student progress
Site keeps track of student progress with mastery points (not grades / percentages)
Some courses are for independent use, while others are designed for the parent to teach
All courses are taught by the site
Resources and classes designed for the entire family (eg, classes just for mom included)
Resources are only for the student
Classes for all subjects, all grades, and electives
Core subjects and a few elective classes
Features extra helps for special needs, gifted students, learning to read, and more
No extra features
One login for the entire family
One login for each student
Not Common Core
Follows Common Core standards
Online support group (Facebook)
No online support group
Receptive to questions and reports of errors
No known receptiveness for correcting errors
Faith-based or Neutral worldview courses
Secular courses
Annual or monthly membership covers every student in the family for ALL courses
Free to use for the courses available

Khan Academy is free to use.  SchoolhouseTeachers  usually has some amazing sales...with the option of month-to-month (to see if it's a good fit) or annual memberships.


  1. Frankly, I find the videos on KA dry and boring.

    1. Yeah....I think it depends on the subject. But for my son, there are some times / topics that even a dry video is a better teacher than I am...

  2. good comparison. I got completely lost on Khan. My son has learned how to search for specific videos.


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