I don't think I can begin to describe this goodie in my own words -- I'll borrow a snippet from the web site to start me off:
"The Eclectic Education Series (EES) is a set of textbooks which from roughly 1865 to 1915 WAS education in the United States, almost exclusively. They were the standard textbooks in many states and were chosen independently by over 10,000 school boards as their standard textbooks.
The EES covered every topic. Some of the series are still household names almost a hundred years after they ceased being used. These include McGuffey's Readers and Ray's Arithmetics. There were many other extraordinary series in the EES such as Pinneo's Grammars, Thalheimer's Histories and Norton's Sciences that were used by countless students."
Just in case you've stumbled onto my review via the Crew blog and aren't familiar with our story, I am homeschooling one child who was diagnosed w/ autism when she was barely two years old. She's 10 years old, now, and we're busy playing "catch up", developmentally and academically. We use an autism intervention that is developmental in nature and we are looking for academics that are developmentally appropriate for her.
Not only am I seeking developmentally appropriate lessons for my daughter, I am still learning about development and how to determine "developmentally appropriate" or "zone of proximal development".
The Eclectic Education Series has been very helpful in *my* education as I learn about what my daughter should be doing and learning now. The EES gives me the clarity and direction I need in terms of what is and what is not developmentally appropriate.
I don't know what, exactly, I thought EES would be. Worksheets, maybe. I knew there were some readers from long ago in the package somewhere. Some math. What I didn't realize until I began wading through the material is that this is an education for me, too, and not just my student.
The Eclectic Education Series is big. Huge. The whole series is overwhelming, especially when I know that I have to get through a "good enough" portion of the material for a review deadline, when I want to digest the material slowly as I think about which next steps to implement here at home.
One area I've been pondering is math. Typically developing children learn a lot of concepts, foundations for math, reading and writing, in experiences long before they can hold a pencil or form a letter or numeral on paper. When children begin preschool and kindergarten, there is an unspoken assumption / expectation that these children have had a lot of experience with the hands on concepts and foundations necessary to begin working with symbols like numerals.
In autism, though, some (a lot, I believe) children don't have those foundations. My observation is that students on the autism spectrum in the public school are sometimes pushed to learn outside the course of development, learning concepts simultaneously as they are learning to recognize and write symbols (letters, words, sentences, numerals, equations, for example). Using symbols should simply be a representation of what kids already know -- but in autism, often, that isn't the case.
So, I've been pondering the whole how-to-expose-my-daughter-to-more-concepts-while-ignoring-symbols in math. And, poof!, as if by magic, I am given the Eclectic Education Series to review, where I begin to spend time in the material for the youngest students. Early math is not to be completed with pencil and paper. It is to be completed in real life with mom or dad. (I smell "guided participation" here. *grin*) And Ray's Arithmetic walks a teacher (or mama) through the steps that happen prior to pencil and paper and symbols, in the format used "in the olden days" (that's my term).
Looking over the files in each subject, the SCIENCE CD includes Bookkeeping; First Year of Science; Guide to Health; Intro to Botany complete; Manual of Methods; Nature Study; Norton's Elements of Chemistry; Norton's Elements of Natural Philosophy; Norton's Elements of Physics; Political Economy; Question Book; Ray's Elements of Astronomy; Ray's Surveying and Navigation; Schuyler's Logic; Simplified Industrial Mathematics; and a book called, "Successful Teaching in Rural Schools".
The thought occurrred to me that maybe you'd like to know how big these books are -- I'll include page counts when describing the next CDs.
The Grammar CD includes an intro and welcome letter plus Harvey's Elementary Grammar (170 pages); Harvey's English Grammar (282 pages); Harvey's First Lessons in the English Language (90 pages); Long's Language Readers 1 through 4; Pinneo's Analytic Grammar (222 pages); Pinneo's Guide To Composition (172 pages); Pinneo's English Teacher (250 pages); Pinneo's Exercises in False Syntax (114 pages); and Pinneo's Primary Grammar (169 pages).
The History CD includes American Poems (378 pages); Andrews Constitution (417 pages); Cromwell Vol 1, 2, and 3; the very interesting (in my opinion) Collier's Cyclopedia of Commercial and Social Information and Treasury of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge (746 pages); Good Morals and Gentle Manners (263 pages); Guide to Health (203 pages); Progressive Course in Reading, Books 1 through 5; Rhetorical Reader (395 pages); Thalheimer's Ancient History (386 pages); Thalheimer's English History (304 pages); Thalheimer's General Histories (370 pages); Thalheimer's History of Scotland (280 pages); Thalheimer's Eclectic History of the US (420 pages); and Thalheimer's Mideval History (488 pages).
The McGuffrey Reader CD includes Heman's Reader for Female Schools (485 pages); McGuffey's 1st through 6th Readers; McGuffrey's Alternate 2nd through 5th Readers; McGuffrey's Eclectic Speaker (514 pages); McGuffrey's Eclectic Speller (154 pages); McGuffrey's Familiar Animals (218 pages); McGuffrey's Juvenile Speaker (238 pages); McGuffrey's Living Creatures (218 pages); McGuffrey's New High School Reader (489 pages); McGuffrey's Eclectic Primer (74 pages); and McGuffrey's Word List (90 pages).
Whew! I'm tired just typing all of that! Guess what? There's more...
The tables of contents in the CD's above are *short* compared to the table of contents of the Ray's Arithmetic CD. In 35 files, the Ray's Arithmetic CD covers bookkeeping, arithmetic, algebra, logic, geometry and trig, calculus, astronomy, surveying and navigation. The Manual of Methods is my guide for now; it provides the pathway for me in terms of developmentally appropriate math.
I have a lot to learn -- there's so much material to cover here! I'm concentrating on the materials for beginners, the materials for primary students, which is a small part of the package when I look at the package in its entirety.
Purchasers will need access to a printer and printing supplies (toner, paper) and time to go through all the materials. If a conference were developed to help purchasers become familiar with all of the materials, I would attend. I did find some EES related yahoo groups.
EES offers each subject as either a separate purchase or a complete package. The entire Eclectic Education Series, including Ray's Arithmetic ($59), Science ($39), History ($39), Grammar ($39), and McGuffey's Readers ($39) is priced at $159 on CD.
To read the reviews of my Crewmates about Eclectic Education Series or Ray's Arithmetic, go HERE.