My mother was a pioneer. She homeschooled when it was practically illegal. She didn’t have the help of online forums or curriculum reviews or blogs any social networking sites to discuss her options. God bless her! She simply got all the books required through Seton’s catalogue for our grade levels and set us to work. There was no question in her mind about which books to read or what education styles to employ. She simply did the best she could with what was available to her at the time. In some ways I envy that. Choice isn’t always a great thing. For some frazzled souls, the myriad of reviews and books and methods out there nowadays can serve to overwhelm one to the point of a paralyzed fear of “What should I do?!?!” I rely so much on reviews and online discussions and great blog posts that have helped inspire me and shape my educational paradigm. How does one homeschool without the great Petersen’s Bird App or Star Charts on her iPad?! How does one purchase a book without first consulting the reviews on Amazon.com?! Is it possible?! Indeed. People did it for thousands of years before Al Gore invented the Internet (*snicker*).
What I’m getting at though, is just how great some of our resources are online. So great. I mean, if the world ends and we all have to live off the grid back-to-lander style, I’m okay with that. Bring on the woodstoves and candlelight! But in the meantime, we may as well not fight the total attack on our senses and intelligence and brain waves (good book alert: The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains) and simply act as sieves rather than dams. Let in as much of the good as we can, while filtering out the twaddle and pure evil. It’s not an easy battle.
At any rate, we know there are great free books online. This is in some ways antithetical to what a good “book” should be… a real, tangible, book smelling friend in you hands. I don’t care how wonderful, economical or efficient the Kindle is, it’s not the same thing as a bound book so don’t try to convince me it is. So, I just discovered a great site that maybe is old news to the rest of you but oh well, here it is: www.booksshouldbefree.com. You can search Google Books and the Baldwin Project and Librivox but I really like how visual this website is. Take note of their children’s book section and download a whole bunch of those goodies for your next road trip or mommy’s day off read-alouds or quiet times or meal times (meal times are EXCELLENT for audio books so everyone can enjoy some food while a third party reads…)