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Lesson Planet--The Search Engine for Teachers Review by Krystin Corneilson

Education Planet
924 Anacapa Street, Suite 4i
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

The Web is a vast, fabulous resource for homeschooling parents and students. However, navigating around cyberspace to find just what you need can be time-consuming and frustrating. Lesson Planet is a search engine designed with teachers in mind. Whether you are looking for complete lesson plans, worksheets, or state standards, the answers are just a click away. The material is created and managed by a team of educators, and it shows! The lessons are teacher-reviewed as well and are easy to find. Another perk: the site is advertising-free and fully member supported.

The home page of Lesson Planet is clean and straightforward. There is a simple search bar at the top of the page that can be easily modified for a specific grade or review level. The main part of the page offers Lesson Plans, separated into core subjects and suggested subsections. For instance, Math had additional Algebra, Geometry, and Money options. You can also search the Lesson Plans by Calendar, Theme, or Curriculum Connection (for shared lesson plans). Worksheets can be searched by Subject or Theme. In addition, you have the option to create lessons or newsletters or even store previous searches and documents.

Here's how it works. For a yearly fee of $39.95, teachers or parent educators gain access to literally thousands of teacher-reviewed lesson plans, worksheets, and resources. One of the main differences between this and other search engines is the benefit of teacher reviews. Instead of spending time figuring out if lesson plans are suitable, you can see up front what other teachers think based on a 5-star rating system and a more thorough written analysis. A second advantage to this site is that no inappropriate pop-ups or other ads will mar your experience. The membership fee replaces the need for advertisers.

Along the bottom of each page is a convenient list of resources: Contact Us, About Us, FAQ's, etc. If you have a question about the site, its developers, or how to review or how to get their free trial, you'll find the information quickly.

Pros: Honestly, I am a Web warrior. I can find my way around pretty quickly and am amazed at what I can find. However, all of the material that standard search engines produce can be overwhelming, and wading through dozens of sites to find just that one lesson can be too time-demanding. Plus, I am not a big fan of reinventing the wheel. Lesson Planet offers a fast, teacher-tested alternative.

Cons: Even though this website is a wonderful resource at a very reasonable price, if a teacher doesn't remember to use it, the money is wasted. So, the only flaw I could muster was that of the user, not of the site.

From a parent-teacher perspective, for content, ease of use, and value, I'd give Lesson Planet 5 stars.

Product review by Krystin Corneilson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November 2009