Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Classic Books of Yesteryear - A New TOS Review!!

Stephen and I LOVE books.  We have over three large bookcases FULL of all types of books.  When we decided that we would be homeschooling we choose the classical style for many reasons.  One reason was because of the very strong emphasis on reading books.  And not just any books, but those books which have stood that test of time ... the classics.
The Product:
Well, I am sure that you could only imagine the joy I had when I was chosen to get to be able to review Yesterday's Classics, which re-publishes those hard to find classics. Most of these were published between 1880 and 1920 and have been out of print … until now. Yesterday's Classics have taken the job of re-printing these classics in an easy to read font and have kept the majority of the original illustrations.
Yesterday's Classics has a package of 225 of these classics in e-book format (actually two e-book formats EPUB or Kindle.) This makes having so many books, much easier. And there are many of their titles that are found on reading lists of many different curricula including, Living Books Curriculum, Tapestry of Grace, Ambleside Online, and Heart of Dakota.
I did mention e-books, but if you do not have an e-reader you don't have to worry. You can read these on your computer, laptop or even on your tablet or phone by using one of the many apps that are available for free download (like Kindle, Nook, Adobe Digital Editions, etc.) I used my Kindle app on my phone for easy reading, but I also have them on our “main computer.” I do plan on purchasing an e-reader or a tablet, but I was not able to do that as yet. Yesterday's Classics has even put together a guide to e-readers and devices that comes with your order.
Now if you were to buy ALL the books in the Yesterday's Classics collection, individually, you would value these at over $2,400.00! If you were to just get the kindle/epub versions, your cost would still be about $650.00. For most, and definitely for my family, this is a bit too exuberant a price. But for a limited time, Yesterday's Classics has this collection, normally priced at just $149.95 on sale for just $99.95! So for each of the 225 e-books you would be spending a mere 44 cents! Now that is quite a savings!!

Now to the nitty-gritty … the books. They are broken down into 22 genres which include Kindergarten, Literature, Biography, Science, Poetry, Ancient Greece, and sixteen more. Some of the categories have over 20 books in them. The bundle that you receive has the books arranged by grade level, genre, author and title. There's even a guide to help you download your files and transfer them to your e-reader of choice.
There's another great reason to this product … it comes without any Digital Rights Management (DRM) Restrictions. What does that mean? It means that once you purchase the files are your to download to however many devices that you would like. You also have the ability to print them as much as you would like without having to worry about copyright infringement laws.
 You can always contact Yesterday's Classics via email if you have any questions or need assistance with the download process. And if you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase they will refund your purchase price for any reason. A 100% Risk Free Guarantee shows confidence in their product. You can even try one of their books for free, by scrolling down to The Dutch Twins by Lucy Fitch Perkins.
Our Experience:
When I first received this product, I knew I would have to set aside some time for the download process.  My experience with the download went pretty seamless.  The package came in 13 zip files which you can later extract to view the individual titles.  There were also 5 other files which included the two guides I mentioned earlier, a full online catalog, a book description for all of the titles and the lists of different arrangements (level, grade, author and genre, as mentioned earlier also.)

After downloading the books I took some time to go through the book descriptions and the lists to see which books we might be able to delve into right now.  Since my children are young (all under 8) and because we am very careful with what we allow our children to see/read/hear.  So for now, there are some genres we will not be pursuing.  However, I can see how these books will be a great asset as we approach late middle school and on into high school.
We have read some of the books out loud as a family.  Others, like The Burgess Bird Book for Children and The Burgess Animal Book for Children, have been used to enhance our nature study times.  I've also started to read with Audrie from the Reading-Literature: The Primer by Harriette Taylor Treadwell.  This is the first in a series of readers that help children of a young age (5-8) begin to appreciate literature by reading well written, yet simple literature.

My Thoughts:

Living books are a staple to the classical homeschool (as well as for many other types of homeschooling) and I feel truly blessed that I will have these great classics at our fingertips both now and in the years to come.

I definitely plan on incorporating many more books into our school life and family reading.  Some may think that paying that much for books is still too much, but even at the full price for this collection, it is a steal!
I am very happy that I can use these now on my computer, but when I get updated technology (I hope sooner rather then later) I can also copy them again without fear of copyright.

Another cool feature is that the Table of Contents in the books with chapters are linked.  This allows you to easily find where you are in a book without having to manually 'flip' the pages.
I highly recommend anyone using or thinking about using a classically-styled, or Charlotte Mason-styled homeschool to check out Yesterday's Classics. And don't forget the collection is on sale for $99.95, but only from now until May 31st!  You can also read what my Crewmates thought about this product by visiting the TOS Crew page for Yesterday's Classics.

*** I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and receive free products and services in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of money for any of my reviews. My reviews will always reflect my honest opinions, findings, beliefs and experiences with the products and services that I receive.***

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