| By : Shannan | In : Curriculum , Homeschool , Homeschool Methods , Lesson Planning , Storage / Organization
Our homeschool method is Mostly Charlotte Mason
(literature based), some Classical, and is similar to Sonlight and other
literature based curriculum.
There are several resources for reading books online or free downloadable
e-books. All of these books will be open source, that means that they were
usually written before 1929 (aprox.) and many fall into the "classic" and
"great books" categories. For newer resources, publishers are beginning to
make books available in Epub format. I would check publisher websites.
Our first resource is the most comprehensive. It lists hundreds of subject
specific resources- all free to download or read online. She also compiled a
scope and sequence for K-12 learning using completely free resources. You
can read more about her resources and how to use her course here:
An Old Fashioned Education: http://oldfashionededucation.com/index.html
We have used many of her resources along with supplementing our own to suit
our tastes, etc. We have downsized our homeschool books to just a few
special ones (math, teacher helps, etc) for our travels and use an E-reader
for school and just for fun reading.
The second resource is, Ambleside Online: (I found most of their books
If you have a specific book you are looking for these are the websites to
Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page
Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org/
The Baldwin Project: (Free online reading of all books, can purchase hard
copies or epub) http://www.mainlesson.com/
*Be aware that many, not all, of the Baldwin Project books are available
free on Gutenberg, but where Gutenberg has left out images, etc, The Baldwin
Project makes up for it. Online reading is more pleasant here than at
Gutenberg. The Baldwin Project informed me that all books will be available
in epub by the end of the year.
Google Books: Google has digitized many books, but as a general rule they do
not proofread after the digitizing (scanning) of the books. Many of the
books have typographical errors because the computer confuses the letters
and therefore can be difficult to read. One book in particular, "Grammar
Land," was only available from Google books, so I put up with the errors.
Downloadable books on Google Books will be under "Full View."
For books that you would really like to have in electronic format and cannot
find, email the publisher, you may be the one that influences their decision
to make their book available E-pub format.
Tips on E-readers:
Amazon's Kindle will not be able to read almost all of the free open source
books unless they are available in kindle format (Gutenberg is good about
this). The Kindle will not work with public libraries.
We chose a Sony E-reader (Daily Edition has a larger screen) because it is
"open source" and it was one of the compatible readers to use with our
public library. If you know the library you would like to lend from- check
the website or call for compatible readers.
The Minneapolis public library and many others (NY has the largest I
believe) have an online lending library. You can check out a book online,
download it and put it on your reader. Then you electronically return the
books to the library just like "real" books. The catch: You have to be a
patron of the library, so if you know someone who can get you a card- that
is the way to go.
I think there are a few subscription based libraries floating around on the
web but I have not researched it.
Screens: An e-reader has an E-ink screen, this means that the readers screen
is very similar to paper. You will need a lamp to read by in the dark or in
low light situations. Because it is more like an actual book it is easy on
your eyes. LCD screens (ipad, or other tablets) have back-lit screens, this
means that it is lit from behind like a computer or TV screen and can cause
eye strain and headaches if you read steadily for a long period of time.
When we went to test the readers at the store, my children spent their time
with the tablets because they were "flashy" and both of them left
complaining of headaches after only 30 minutes or so. We hold books much
closer to our face than we do computers or TV's.
I am happy to answer any questions you have about our experience in
"homeschool downsizing" for the field!
To those of you who would like to bless a missionary, offer to help ship books or an e-reader!