Monday, February 15, 2010

Classic Math on CD-ROM

As a 2nd year member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I have been given the wonderful opportunity to review many homeschool products over the next several months. The only compensation that I receive for my review is the free product. I feel truly blessed to be participating in this review group and I'm looking forward to trying out more products and giving you my honest opinion.

When we first began our homeschool journey we were drawn into the idea of classically educating our children. And while we have certainly traveled a little ways from our roots, I will always lean towards that method. And for that reason I find the humble educational books from one-room schoolhouses like McGuffey Readers and Ray's Arithmetic quite endearing and worthy of close examination.

Dollar Homeschool is making both of these series available on CD-Rom and at an affordable price.

We received a download of the Ray's Math Series which is a complete K-12 Math Curriculum from counting to Calculus. If that doesn't impress you, then you should know that this includes 38 books - 12 textbooks, plus answer keys, Teacher's editions and more. You can get all of this for just $59.

When you open the texts, you'll find exactly what you expect for school books used in the late 19th and white text and a few simple, but beautiful sketch drawings. There is an abundance of word problems and many example problems for oral recitation and copywork.

When asked if Ray's Arithmetic is hard to teach the Dollar Homeschool website replies:

"The Ray's Arithmetic was originally created to be used by frontier Americans, Americans that often lived in areas where available teachers were few, often far away, or even completely unavailable. For this reason the books are designed to allow children, once they can read, to educate themselves to a very great extent."

The only problem that I find with this reply is that the pages on these books are full of text. For example the first lesson of the Primary Arithmetic includes the following problems:

4. Ward has 9 marbles; if he gives his brother 4 marbles, how many will he have left?
5. How many marbles are 5 marbles and 4 marbles? 5 marbles and 5 marbles? 5 marbles and 3 marbles?

There are a total of six similar word problems on the first page. While I may begin teaching these concepts to my K/1st grader, I can assure you that he/she will be overwhelmed by attempting to read even one of these problems...especially with so many of them on one page. The benefit of using a modern text is that the breakdown of a small amount of information on one page is especially helpful in the early years.

So, would I recommend Dollar Homeschool? Absolutely! Especially to someone who is wanting to expand their homeschool resource library by adding classic textbooks. Would I use Ray's Arithmetic as a core curriculum in our homeschool? Probably not, but definitely as a resource.

Find out more about Ray's Arithmetic and the entire Eclectic Education Series at Dollar Homeschool and from homeschool moms at the TOS Crew Blog. Pin It Now!

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