Monday, February 15, 2010

Review: Eclectic Education Series (Dollar Homeschool)

Over the years, I had heard many nice things about Ray's Arithmetic and McGuffey's Readers. However, I personally never used them with my children even though I had eyed a few of the Readers at the library once or twice before.

When I was selected to review the Eclectic Education Series--comprised of the products above and then some--I was excited to see how well these old fashioned texts would work in my home.

The Eclectic Education Series from Dollar is a series of textbooks originally used in public schools from approximately 1865-1915. The texts were considered the standard curriculum--if not the *only* curriculum--during that time. (Think: Little House on the Prairie!)

The folks at Dollar Homeschool scanned these texts and turned them into easy-to-download ebook files. There are well over 100 texts to choose from, which cover all grade levels--K-12th:

  • Ray's Arithmetic - 38 books covering basic counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, algebra, calculus, physics, logic and more.
  • McGuffey's Readers - 19 books from 1879 covering spelling, reading and public speaking. I especially enjoyed "Hemans Reader for Female Schools". :)
  • The Grammar Series - This set includes Longs Language (good for primary students); Pinneo's Grammar Series (for intermediate students: covers composition, proper syntax, etc) and Harvey's Grammar (for older/advanced students).
  • The Science Series - 13 books cover subjects such as botany, chemistry, astronomy, health and more.
  • History Series - This series consists of 22 books and covers: Ancient, General, Medieval, English and United States History, as well as offers copious amounts of oral reading practice through poems, the Constitution and the book "Good Morals & Gentle Manners" (a huge bonus in my opinion!)
  • Teacher Resources including the Manual of Methods, The Question Book, and Successful Teaching in Rural Schools. This one was very fun to read and so informational! It is a series of letters written from actual teachers about their experiences with this series.

My Opinion:

Because of the older font style, the texts are a bit difficult to read. At least for me and my children. Then again, we're all semi-blind and total creatures of habit. But a larger (and more current) font would've been easier for us. If they were in actual book-format, it might've be easier.

Also, the science materials are outdated (but then, you probably already figured as much) and the stories themselves aren't relevant to today's children/society. However, they do make excellent resources for writing, copy work, public speaking (the books are big on articulation!), spelling and math. Lovers of the "good old days" will find this series especially charming. Unfortunately, I'm a bonafide 21st century girl! :)

The cost however, cannot be beat. Honestly, where else can you spend $159 for a complete, solid, reusable with all of your kids, K-12 curriculum on CD? Nowhere!

If you'd like to check out the Eclectic Series yourself...

Click here for sample McGuffey pages

Click here for sample Pinneo's Grammar pages

Click here for sample History pages

Click here for sample Science pages

Even though the Eclectic Series wasn't totally for me, I did appreciate several aspects such as the emphasis on articulate speech, thoughtful manners, and strong spelling. I will give this product 1 thumb up. :)

To learn what my fellow Crew Mates had to say, please click here.

*As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received the above e-books in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation was provided and my thoughts are strictly my own.*

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