Friday, November 19, 2010

KB Teachers- Product Review

As usual, let me begin by telling you that I received this product free of charge in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was received. But let me add that Cristophe T. Popper, the Founder and CEO of, didn't just give TOS reviewers a few months' access to the website to accomodate the deadline for reviews. He didn't just give us access for this academic year, as many companies kindly do. No, he gave us a two-year premium membership. To me, that speaks volumes about the company's generosity and willingness to serve its target community.

I had never heard of KBTeachers before, though it's been online for 10 years. Since I figured you may not have heard of it either, I thought I would share some information directly from their website about what they offer with their premium membership, since they know it best:

Now, I'll tell you right off the bat that I am not a worksheet kind of teacher. I've been known to create a few during my high school school teaching days, but generally speaking, I find fill-in-the-blank exercises mind-numbing and unproductive as an educational tool. However, I know that some teachers and homeschoolers and even students feel that they haven't "done school" if they don't have some paperwork to prove it. And I know there's a time and a place for pretty much any kind of teaching tool, so KBTeachers is a useful source for this kind of material. Thankfully, while it offers a wide variety of fill-in-the-blank type worksheets, KBTeachers offers more than just rote answer templates.

Here are some of the key features of the site that I think are noteworthy:
  • The math worksheets generator allows you to create an infinite number of pages for your students, and the fact that answer sheets can be created for each enables quick and easy evaluation.
  • Virtually every kind of worksheet has a variety of options from which you can choose the one that best suits your needs. For example, the "How to Tell Time"area has time interval options, time zone options, and analog clock options.
  • Most of the worksheets give student-focused instructions. This means they are easy to use and students can be fairly independent in using them.
  • Resources span a wide variety of subjects, including math, writing, grammar, science, handwriting, social studies, and art.
  • Seasonal themes are featured with activities and illustrations.
  • KB News weekly posts feature themes relevant to current dates and national and international celebrations.
I also like the fact that the site offers a variety of unique clipart ("not licensed from popular clipart sites"). However, I do find it frustrating that it is labourious to view these images because of the way the files are stored. For example, in order to view the 124 animal images, I have to click the link, open the file, open another file, then open each animal picture individually in order to see what is available. I have yet to figure out how to use those graphics as I don't seem to be able to save or copy them.

While I appreciate the fact that KBTeachers hits all the major seasonal holidays, I've noticed that they have withdrawn access to activities that are "out of season." So, at Thanksgiving, we cannot access Easter activities, or even Christmas activities. (I find this frustrating, as I like to think about and plan for these seasons all year long!) Those that I was able to view before they were taken down (the site is currently being redesigned) were very secular in nature, revolving around eggs and bunnies at Easter, and Santa and elves at Christmas, none of which appeal to me personally. It is also obvious that the science worksheets are from an evolutionary perspective, as evidenced by this clip from the page on "The Formation of the Solar System":

For my family, the KBTeachers resources that are most helpful are the ones that are geared towards early learning of math and language (I love that some of these are customizable), and some of the art activities (surprise, surprise!) -- though I would like the latter better if there were examples to accompany the  activity sheets. (I find I need to see whatever it is we're going to be creating in the step-by-step process.)
While some of the resources on KBTeachers are free, premium subscriptions are available for $29 for 12 months, or $49 for two years. If a site like KBTeachers sounds like it might be of interest to your family, you can try a 10-day free trial. You should also know that the KBTeachers team is ready and willing to create any kind of worksheet that you might be looking for and can't find elsewhere.

If you'd like to read what other TOS Homeschool Crew members have to say about this product, click here.

Thank you, TOS Magazine and KBTeachers, for the opportunity to use and review this resource!

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