Wednesday, May 4, 2011

TOS Crew Review: Yesterday's Classics

Being all Charlotte Masony like in our style,  I have tried my best to add many of the books she recommended into our humble library collection (OK, maybe not so humble-perhaps "our ever growing" collection would describe it better). Unfortunately, especially when I first started reading up on her methods and choices for literature,  I often found myself engulfed in the disparaging situation of just trying to find, let alone purchase those books. Why you ask? Well, because she lived in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and many of those beauties have long since become (the dreaded 3 words to any book collecting enthusiast) "OUT OF PRINT." Yes, the horror.  Nothing more frustrating than trying to find what sounds so awesome and perfect for your current studies, than to face the "ever present, non-existent/not available book of choice" hunt.  

Thankfully, this is where the eVersion books have become so very helpful-because many of those out of print (of course in print books too) are now available for the download.  I couldn't possibly spend the time it would take to locate these, nor could I afford the expense of purchasing the multitude of books (since many are way over priced) that I would want. 


I cannot deny that I love, love, love the smell/feel/nostalgic comfort of books, the "turning of the pages" sound and so forth-but I do not love the bulkiness, the storage issue and most importantly-the pain of trying to lug several of them (literally the pain folks as many of my books are quite heavy) when I travel.  I must face the facts here that the eVersion craze is not so crazy.  I admit (wholeheartedly) that I love to be able to have several hundred books just a click away (and if you are wondering-no I do not have an eReader just yet-but I do have the free app for it on my PC and I do take my 'puter just about everywhere). So yes, I have conquered my anti-eVersionite phobia, to now actually being able to promote them. So where am I going here?  Well, you have probably noted two things so far: I use mostly Charlotte Mason methods for homeschooling (ie: living books); and I am reviewing eVersion books.  Well, I hope you got that anyway.

So, there is this company called Yesterday's Classics, of which I have the privilege of  telling you about.  They have compiled a collection (225 books so far) of several wonderful books that were written during the 1880s to 1920s-where charming and good character go hand in hand.  Better yet is that Y.C.'s have dedicated a section noting which books are used for each year through Ambleside Online. They also have done this for those who follow Living Books Curriculum, and Pageant of History.  I also see many, many of these titles can be used for those using the Classical education format too.  They offer 22 different genres to fit your schooling needs, with clear text, beautiful illustrations [black and white and some color spattered throughout], all in an easy to use format.  And it doesn't require dashing out to the local library to hunt for them, nor the continual outlay of cash to have them all in one's collection.  


I zeroed in on the nature study books (some I am familiar with, others were new to me) and the Shakespeare titles.  I have read through them, and found them so refreshing, understandable (not an easy thing when it comes to Mr. Shakespeare's material) and lovely in deed.  The nature books [not surprisingly] hearken one back to a more gentle time, where charming and delightful mingled together like old friends meandering through the gardens of life. I am so pleased to be able to share these with my children (thanks to Yesterday's Classics).  What's more, there are plenty of other selections, that will come into play as we traverse through our studies this coming term, and beyond.  With 225 books to choose from, I know I have a wealth of options to use for several years to come. I even find the old science texts to be a neat challenge for my students-as I have them compare the knowledge of the time (the antiquated scientific knowledge noted within it) to today's technological advancements, so they can see just how far we have come to understand our world around us. 

But like LeVar Burton (from Reading Rainbow) often stated, "You don't have to take my word for it.",  spend some time reading through the site, it is the only way for you to truly grasp the wealth of materials here. Stroll through their collection to compare it to what you use for your curriculum, it may be just what you were looking for. Oh, and I wanted to note that yes, initially one may feel that the price is absorbent, but when you break down the cost of purchasing these individually, it adds up fast-and the final amount is much higher than the Yesterday's Classics package price. This is a wonderful way to build a library, especially if you are a CM, Classical, or living book educator.  


Why not just use the free versions of these?

That is a valid question~and one that you alone will have to decide on.  Through the bit of research I conducted, I found that some are available to be purchased or for free through the bigger online stores; and many can be found for free through online sources.  But-here is the thing-many were missing the delightful artwork/illustrations, and had rather fuzzy/non-crisp text, or "citation notes" and such spattered throughout.  You always have the risk of having missing pages and of course, unreliable sources to download them from in the first place . You will spend a lot of time tracking them down~ of which you will not have the results you were hoping for. Trust. Me.  

For example:  I decided to download someone else's [free] The Blue Fairy Book and then compare it to the Yesterday's Classics version. Right away I noticed that the free version was messy, with paragraphs running right on into the next (no breaks), and it had no illustrations.  As for the Y.C.-I found that it contained the adorable images, was nicely organized [I could click the particular story I wanted, which took me directly to that page] with highlighted titles, along with a layout/font that was easy to read. Best yet, I was able to distinguish one story from the next, with a quick glance.  Not so with the other.  It is pretty clear that if you want quality-then the Yesterday's Classics version is right fine product. 

What device is this for?

Amazon Kindle 3.JPGNOOKcolor screen
Yesterday's Classics is designed to be used with the Kindle, or Nook
eReaders (other EPUB readers too) and the iPad or smartphone devices.
you don't need an eReader to enjoy this-
you can download FREE apps
 which are especially designed for your PC!

 (Amazon has the Kindle app [you can only use the Kindle file for this]
and you can also download free EPUB reader apps such the Sony reader) 

Need help with icons? Click Here

Yesterday's Classics homepage
Kindle Dwnload:  $99.95 (all 225 books)
EPUB Dwnload:  $99.95 (all 225 books)
all ages

*Don't forget to read what my TOS mates had to say about this, and many other fine homeschool products, over on our TOS Review Crew homepage.

***Yesterday's Classics provided me with both download files for the Kindle/EPUB of the 225 books, so that I could use and enjoy with my family, in order to write this review.  I did not receive any financial compensation for my honest opinion of this product.

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