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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Review!!! Dollar Homeschool's Eclectic Education Series!!!

About the product/service:  As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received downloads of the entire Eclectic Education Series from Dollar Homeschool.  What are these books?  Well, remember the old one room schoolhouses?  Think Little House on the Prairie.  Back in the good old days, from about 1865 until around 1915, most schools in America used the same texts.  You might have heard of some of them, such as McGuffey's Readers and Ray's Arithmetic.  Others you may not have heard of include: Pinneo's Grammar, Thalheimer's Histories, and Norton's Sciences.  A full list of the history and science books can be found here.  (These books are normally sold on CD.)

Basically what the folks at Dollar Homeschool did was to take the time to find, organize, and make pdf files of all of these books.  Because they are old, these books no longer are under copyright laws.*  Anyone can make copies of these books, and there are even some available elsewhere.  I did not take the time to try to find them myself, and I can't tell you which ones, but I do know that Dollar Homeschool is not the only source for these materials.

So why buy from Dollar Homeschool?  Well, as far as I know they are the only folks who have taken the time and effort to gather all of these books into one place and put them into such a well organized package.  The amount of work they have done is amazing.  Every page had to be scanned and made into a pdf file.  Wow, I hate scanning even one page and always make my kids do it for me!  :)

So when it comes right down to it, you are not so much paying for the books as you are the labor that the people at Dollar Homeschool put into the huge undertaking.  Why did they do it?  Check out this video to find out!  And while you're on the website, go to their homepage and read the story of why America's public school stopped using these texts.  Very interesting stuff!

*Just to be perfectly clear, while the books are not copyrighted, the scanned images are.  In other words, if you have the book, you can scan it yourself.  However, you may not print out and share the scanned images from Dollar Homeschool.

What are the pros of this product? This is one of those products where just about every aspect of it can be both positive or negative depending on your point-of-view!  If you are interested in teaching your children by the old-fashioned textbook way, this might be just what you are looking for. 

As always, the advantage to digital materials is the ability to print out only what you need, as many copies as you need, and as many times as you need.  If you don't mind not have a "real book" in your hand, this can make things rather handy. 

They are cheap!  Yes, the cost is $159 for the series, but that is for over 100 books!  That's only about $1.50 apiece!

It's all covered!  Every grade from K-12 is covered in this series.

Like I said above, the people at Dollar Homeschool have worked very hard to collect and scan all of these books.  You could do it yourself, but, wow, I got tired just looking over all the files!

What's not to like? You simply have to realize that these are just scans of the originals.  They aren't reprints.  For this reason, the pages are not always perfect.  You might notice that some are not perfectly clear, and a page here and there might be missing.  Also, they are scanned in black and white which in some cases is a problem as colors are referenced in the text. 

Also, as up-to-date as these may have been in their day, they are quite out-of-date now.  Obviously, the history and science would need to be supplemented, but I also noticed that some of the math and grammar terms were different then.  This is not the kind of thing you could just hand over to your child and have them read.  You'd have to work right along with them and supplement/edit as you go along.
The Crazy Mom take:  Well, I am by no means "old school."  I probably lean more towards "unschool."  While I sometimes wish I was more "one room schoolhouseish" in my ways, I simply am not.  I actually have a set of McGuffey readers that I got many years ago.  I used them very briefly with my older kids, but they just weren't for me.  As far as Ray's Arithmetic goes, I looked it over and I just do not like it as much as I like our current curricula.  The other materials are quaint and old-fashioned, but, again, they just don't fit into my teaching style.  I do like the file of American poems which I am sure I will use in the future.

So, what I had to do for this review was put myself into the shoes of someone who did prefer the old-fashioned textbook method.  Well, for me, the whole digital thing just doesn't work.  I like a real "hold it in your hands" book.  Thinking of the McGuffey Readers, for instance, if I wanted to do a lesson, would I rather pull up a scan and print it out or grab my hard copy?  Hard copy it is.  No apologies!  LOL

So, now I have to put myself in the shoes of an old-fashioned, one room schoolhouse kinda gal (or guy) who is also high-tech and embraces the digital format.  No, it's not me, but those folks are out there.  I would have to say, that for that small, but very real, demographic out there, I would be able to recommend these CDs.  I think the fact that all the books have been scanned and organized so well, is a huge plus for someone who wants to go this route. 

The reality is that back in the day those books produced some very intelligent, as well as moral people.  Children were not taught fluff, and they were expected to learn, and they did.  I am simply not able to pull of this method, due to my "Crazy Momness," but this does not mean I do not respect the method.  I do. 

So, if this is your kinda thing, by all means, check it out!  I will just sit back and admire you and your ability to run your own little one room schoolhouse.  :)  And you can thank for pointing you in the direction of Dollar Homeschool!

What's the bottom line?  $159 for the complete series though you don't have to buy the entire series.  See website for more details.

I am going to give the Eclectic Education Series 3 out of 5 smileys!!!

Check it out!

See what my fellow TOS Crew members have to say @

*The Smiley System: 
I can't really recommend this product.
 I doubt this product would be helpful to many people.
 This is a good product, but isn't right for everyone.
 Most homeschool moms will find this useful.
 This is great, and I would recommend it to anyone!!!

Disclaimer!!!  I reviewed this product because I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew.  I was given the product by the vendor to use and evaluate in my home so that I might share my insights with others.  Other than receiving the product, which I kinda have to to be able to assess the product, I am not compensated for my reviews in any way.  I am in no way obligated to give a positive review.  I do try to point out negatives when I see them, though I am admittedly a pretty easy going gal!  What you read are my honest assessments of the products I receive. 

As with all products, you must do the research before buying.  Please visit the the other crew members' blogs, the vendor websites, and any other review sites you might find before buying.  I can't guarantee that a product will work for you.  You must decide what will fit with your teaching style, and your child(ren)'s learning style(s).  I do not judge anything other than the educational value of the products I review.  I am not qualified to make judgements as to the safely of any product, and I make no guarantee that the products I review are safe for you, your family, or anyone else.  I am simply giving my opinion; only you know what is best for you and your family.

Don't use your blow dryer while you sleep or take a bath.  Don't read my reviews in the tub either, and please do not read them when you are asleep, though I do not guarantee that you won't fall asleep reading them!
Copyright 2010 Ramblings from the Crazy House


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