Parents should use TpT or Teachers Pay Teachers. Here is some advice from a teacher, seller, and parent.
I started on Teachers Pay Teachers as a seller and quickly became a buyer for my high school students. Over time, I became a buyer for my own children who are in elementary school.
So, do you have to be a teacher to use Teachers Pay Teachers? Nope. Not at all.
Parents should use Teachers Pay Teachers— TpT. The possibilities for use are endless: summer, vacations, extension activities, student-led learning, and virtual learning.
TpT is probably set up for teachers and tutors, but Teachers Pay Teachers for parents is important, especially as some students learn virtually. With a few ideas, parents can use TpT well. Here are some thoughts.
First, TpT is an open marketplace for teachers. It feels a bit like Amazon or an educational Etsy. Teachers post products they’ve made. Educators range from pre-K to college professors. It’s awesome for teachers, and it’s awesome for parents too.
Second, you can find out about many “stores” before purchasing an item. Many stores have blogs (like mine). You can find a blog by searching the store’s name on the web. Not every store has a separate website, but most do. Other sellers write books, so you can search their names. For instance, many parents find my blog and TpT store from my workbook. Overall, a few minutes of searching will give you insight about stores from which you buy.
Third, TpT has thousands upon thousands of products—many of which are free! (I’ll talk more about pricing later). Why? Educators want children to learn and they want to provide learning opportunities for every child. TpT provides enriched learning tools, not only for teachers but for parents also. As a mother, here are five reasons I believe every parent should use Teachers Pay Teachers.
I stand in awe of my friends who homeschool. It’s not right for my family, but it definitely is for some. I see lessons outdoors, science trips to the zoo, research done in back yards, and library trips for research reports.
The cool thing about TpT is that teachers love those ideas and create materials for alongside them. Homeschooling parents use TpT to supplement their purchased curriculums or student-directed learning. Many parents homeschool for religious studies. TpT has that too.
Standardized test prep.
Every Sunday, I receive an update from one website of parents asking for tutors. The email is endless and most tutors are asking for $30 per hour, minimum. The tutors are probably worth it and if your child needs that one-on-one attention (and you can afford it!), great! Other times, students only need a review with a few reminders, and sometimes parents can only swing a fraction of a tutor’s cost.
The beauty of TpT? Materials made by different teachers from different experiences that will fit different children. It’s cliche, but because TpT has such a variety of products and creators, you have a strong chance of finding what works for your child’s needs. If your high schooler is studying for the ACT or SAT, TpT has supplemental materials made by those very same tutors. If your child just needs a quick review, a $5 product might be worth your time.
Not every child learns the same way! Teachers know this, and teachers try their best to differentiate assignments. Still, your child might come home and need help. Activities on TpT can help in this situation. If your child needs a different approach for a concept taught in class, a fast download might make life easier.
These different approaches can help to reinforce learning and to teach a concept.
To reinforce learning.
TpT can help parents reinforce learning at home.
I have taught Julius Caesar dozens of times, starting with student teaching and covering multiple classes a semester. Overall, I love this play and my unit is huge. I have purchased materials, books, and complete unit plans along with creating my own materials. Since I love the play so much, I scaffold the material, provide group reviews, partner activities, research opportunities, and act out portions of the play. Often, I must scale back my unit! I make every effort to reach students because I know they all don’t love Caesar like I do.
So one year I was shocked during parent-teacher conferences when a parent told me that she brought a supplemental unit for home! What!
Her daughter likes writing (lots) and journaled as different characters. That would be massively time consuming in a regular class, especially as some of my students struggle to remember character names and who has recently died. The parent’s unit sounded fun, and I was thrilled that the child related to the characters in a unique way.
But. That unit worked better at home, for one student. Perfect.
To teach a concept.
TpT can also help parents teach a concept.
My second grade son dislikes spelling. Writing the words a few times and simple practice we’ve done, but his weekly spelling list requires attention. His teacher has sent home no fewer than 20 possible studying alternatives for his spelling words. Still? It is not his strength (which is ok) but I must help him. Pulling ideas from TpT has given us more options. Whether he adjusted to practice or likes the changes, the re-teaching at home is working.
We are lucky! His teacher will email me back by the end of the day with new ideas and she is attentive to his needs in class.
Not every teacher is this way, for whatever reason. I’m not saying a teacher isn’t trying. She may believe she is differentiating enough. Maybe the normal teacher is ill and a long-term substitute is teaching who doesn’t have an understanding of the class yet. And, unfortunately, some teachers may not realize or understand that a child needs a different presentation or teachers cannot afford to make or purchase materials.
Every school and every classroom has a unique situation that means a parent will go searching for extra materials, like I did for my son.
As I mentioned, I don’t homeschool my three children. However, we do schoolwork on weekdays during the summer. Parents want to engage their kids during the summer. Last summer, I used materials I purchased from TpT. Ty’s math book was for fast finishers. He also worked on early number puzzles as well as magic squares. My little girl, Za, was headed to kindergarten and needed number practice.
I’ve already purchased this summer’s ELA activities for Ty and am still deciding for Za. I’ll probably talk to her teacher and see what she suggests and go from there.
Teachers Pay Teachers for parents plays an important role in virtual learning. As I continue teaching, I see students learning online for a variety of reasons. Some are ill and have frequent hospitalizations or doctor appointments. Other students need a break from their physical school. Other times, students simply need to move to online learning for personal reasons.
Virtual learning has advantages, but students might lean on their parents for extra support. In such situations, TpT can help parents to help their students with online leanring.
As a parent, I love being on TpT because I feel like I am working with teachers—which is what education should be— a collaborative venture. I use free products, sure! Before I buy an activity, I research the seller. Every seller on TpT has at least one free item, which will give parents an idea of that seller’s style and quality. Download the freebies, please! Find what works for you and your children.
Parents should use TpT because of the variety and flexibility. It has broadened my teaching scope with high school students as a teacher, sure! It has also given me tools to work with my own elementary kids. TpT is our go-to place for extra learning materials that my family needs for whatever reason. I believe other parents will find it useful too.
Finally, you can gain insight into sellers by the free downloads they offer on their blogs. For instance, I have two dozen free downloads that you can use with your own children. Sign up, and I’ll send you a link and password.