Showing posts with label Full Curriculum K-12. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Full Curriculum K-12. Show all posts

Monday, February 1, 2010

TOS Crew Review: Dollar Homeschool Eclectic Education Series CD

What happens when you take printed versions of old timey classic educational products from the late 1800s to early 1900s and squeeze them into shiny silver disks?  Why the Dollar Homeschool's Complete Eclectic Education Series is what you get.  No sneezing from dusty books, no extra purchasing of additional shelving units to hold the collections, yet all the while it is providing material to teach K-12 grades!  Wow~

Actually what is included in the Complete Series:


Now that is a lot of material.  So-basically, you could educate the entire family with just one set of educational CDs.  If you are particular to the older style curriculum, and love those series-then this is your all in one way to go.  

Because this is a monster product, I chose to just pick a couple of the books to focus on and then hopefully, my TOS mates will pick others so that you can get a well-rounded idea about these goodies which are packed into the CDs.  I chose to focus this section of the review on 2 books found within this big series.

For my teen-I decided to print Ray's New Elementary Algebra for math studies.  It starts out with the definitions of Algebra and then moves to the actual process of learning how to complete the algebraic equations.  It covers the fundamental rules, theorems, factoring, algebraic fractions, simple equations, supplements to the simple equations, powers, roots and radicals, quadratic equations, and progressions and proportions. This is a large eBook-241 pages, so we are only at the very beginning at this point, but are already finding it to be quite helpful.  Understanding the why behind the process will help her to truly get algebra.  I too, am finding I am learning right along with her.  Mind you-this was written in or around 1866, so some of the language is antiquated. Some examples are not modern by any stretch of the imagination-but that is a part of the charm, as it offers up a slice of life from that time period, which is always neat too. I truly appreciate the teacher's guide for this book too, as math is not my thing.  Amazingly, there are enough math books in this section to educate a child from Kindergarten all the way to the higher level math classes. That is a lot of math!

I focused on the  Overton's Nature Study for my son.  We are in the midst of learning about snowflakes, so I was excited to see this book.  This was originally published in 1905, and has an Introduction by Anna Botsford Comstock. If you are familiar with this lady, you know she is the Nature Guru of the day (most Charlotte Mason educators know of her). I was pleasantly surprised to see her thoughts on Overton's Nature Study, and as I strolled through this charming eBook.  There are mini-lessons on flies, mosquitoes, butterflies and moths, mushrooms,  dandelions, spider webs, Goldenrod and Goldenrod Gall, Burdock, paper and mud wasps, bird's nests, tree trunks, cocoons, ice, snowflakes, frost, Pine trees and their leaves and cones, Apple branches and fruit, earthworms, onions, Maple seeds, sprouting beans, Maple buds, tadpoles, Waterstriders, Duckweek, Apple blossoms, Oak Apples and clothes moths.  As the list shows-a lot of God's wonders are discussed.  Each lesson begins with the materials list, then provides an observation section describing what they are to be looking for and discovering.  After their study, they are asked to do a drawing/composition on the material, along with supplementary work, and at times-experiments.  The only problem I had with the eBook was that although the words/background are clear, some of the pictures were a bit blurry/hard to decipher.  Basically, these eTexts are something I can go through to find snippets of insight which relate to what we are studying.  Keep in mind though-with any thing science related, especially something penned so long ago-there are plenty of new discoveries and better understanding of the world of science. Meaning that a lot of the material is somewhat outdated, depending on what the subject is.  I did enjoy the selections though and again-if this type of educational material is your style, then I suspect it won't be too much of an issue.

So that is what one gets when they purchase the Eclectic Education Series-but how applicable is it?  To be sure, you must know that since it is not in paper form, you will need a good printer, and time to download the sections you need.  I should think that the older kids could read the McGuffey readers right off the computer screen (to help save printing), and you could be a bit more selective concerning what you "need" to print vs printing it all. This version is most certainly one of the better ways to go if you are, or will be going over seas and need to limit the stuff you'll be shipping, or if you do not have a lot of space in your home-as it doesn't take much to store a few wee little disks.  But again- it requires printing-so that is an expense which certainly needs to be considered. 

Some of the more internet savvy folks are probably wondering why they would want to purchase something you can get for free (most of it anyway) via the online public domain service, so I wanted to touch lightly on that for a moment.  Now that is a very valid question, so I did my research, and this is what I came up with. You can find a lot of these to download on line. The problem is that it may be grainy, have a gray background because it was scanned, or too fuzzy to read, and not all of the material is available.  You would also spend a lot of time hunting these down to get the best copy, and you would need to know what exactly it is you are looking for.  The CDs provide the lovely scroll bar down the left side so you can find pages easily, the material is cleaned up and easy to read (which makes for better printing), is laid out in an organized fashion, and again-it is all there at your finger tips.

In my personal opinion, I would like to see the price dropped a bit, due to the expense of printing it-but if it was the only thing I was purchasing to educate the children, I could justify it.  I personally could not have afforded to buy this outright, all though I am very pleased to have received it to review.  I also saw a few books had some pages that were MIA or again, had pictures that were hard to see...but I am sure those can easily be fixed.  I can say though, that I do enjoy a lot of the material found within these CDs. I plan on using several of these sources as additional supplements with our regular curriculum, as the year progresses. Especially since I like a lot the materials that came out during this time in our history, and because it provides the basics-pure and simple with no jazzed up bells and whistles to detract from the intent of the lessons.  Honestly, it seems like every few years some publishing companies decide they need to try to reinvent the wheel-and frankly, that has lead to a lot of dumbed-down or confusing curriculum, which have watered down the basic subjects to the point of becoming ineffective at truly teaching the concepts at hand. There is something to be said of the classics, and that is what you will find in the Eclectic Education CD Series from Dollar Homeschool.

I strongly encourage you to investigate this product for yourself, as it may just very well be exactly what you have been looking for.  Frankly speaking, it has it's own niche in the homeschool community, but not so sure it qualifies as one of our absolute must haves.  The best advice I can offer you is to visit their site, download any freebies you find, and read the other TOS mates' reviews.  That way you can truly decide if it is right for you.


for older children who can read and understand the material with minimal help

The younger children will need your assistance, depending on what book you are going through

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*The ratings reflect the fact that I received a download vs what the customers will receive-which is the actual 5 CDs.

Eclectic Education Info Page
$159 for CD with Ray's Arithmetic, Grammar, History, Science and McGuffey's Readers + various others.

Don't forget to see what my TOS mates had to say about this and many other fine homeschool products on our TOS Crew Review Homepage.

***Dollar Homeschool provided me with a free PDF file download of the entire Eclectic Education Series, to use and test with my family.  I have discussed my opinion regarding this product, and have not received  financial compensation for writing this review.