Tuesday, February 9, 2010

TOS Crew Review -- Ray's Arithmetic

Dollar Homeschool

"Teach one thing at a time and teach it thoroughly."
~Ray's Primary Arithmetic 1877

Math is one of those core subjects that our children must master to the best of their ability. And, it is also a subject that has changed over the years, not necessarily for the better. Many new math curriculums have moved away from the basics no longer requiring students to learn their basic facts (after all, this is the computer age -- cash registers and calculators can do that for them, right?)

When I chose a math curriculum for my kids I wanted something a little old fashioned. Something traditional. Something that expected them to master the basics and then apply them to real life.

Recently I had the opportunity to use Ray's Arithmetic, and have found myself quite impressed with what they have to offer.

Ray's Arithmetic

Product: Dollar Homeschool -- Ray's Arithmetic
Details: A complete math curriculum (K-12) that was used as the standard text in many United States schools from 1865-1915
Price: $59 for the complete set on CD. This includes 38 books (including answer keys and teacher texts) Click over to this complete listing of each of the books along with a brief description. Everything from Primary Math to Physics!

What we loved . . .
  • Complete. You could easily buy this set and educate your child(ren) from preschool through high school.
  • Focus on the basics. The first year focuses almost solely on counting and basic addition and subtraction facts up to 100. At the same time, it encourages hands on math with manipulatives and visuals. They definitely teach a topic thoroughly before moving on.
  • Designed to progress toward independence. If you picture the original backdrop these texts found themselves in, you would recognize the need for independent study. With many children living in frontiers or small towns, parents did not have much time for teaching because just living took so much of their day. Once a child can grasp the basics and reads well, they could work through these books with little adult assistance if desired.
  • Time tested. For 150 years these texts have taught "Johnny" how to do math. Many great leaders used these exact books to learn arithmetic.
  • Flexible. They aren't marked with hard and fast grades, but progress gradually, so you can plug your child in wherever they fit best and move from there, at their pace.
  • Affordable. Fifty-nine dollars for all the math you ever need to buy? It doesn't get much better than that.
  • Yahoo! There is a Yahoo group of Ray's users. It is not a very active group, but if you have a question or want to get another Ray's Arithmetic family's opinion, you can get in touch with people there.
  • Intense focus on one topic at a time. While there is debate in the education community about the better approach to math, I like that Ray's lays a foundation one rock at a time. Focus on one group of math facts until they have them down, then move on. It starts out slow moving, but that makes for a strong foundation for later years.

Things to consider . . .
  • This is a CD. You can print whatever you would like from the CD, but it is not as convenient as having a text that you simply open and get to work.
  • May seem too dry for some. If you or your child is used to a program with all the bells and whistles and colorful pictures, this may not meet your expectation. There are graphics, but everything is in black and white.
  • Higher level books don't have many problems to solve. As you approach the higher level books (geometry, calculus, etc.) the books are more a teaching tool and do not offer exercises for the student to solve for additional practice.
If you need a solid, affordable math curriculum and don't mind working from a CD or self-printing as needed, Ray's may be a great fit for your family. Even though we already have a core math program, I appreciate having this on hand for ideas, extra work as needed, and some of the unique extras that come with it (surveying, book keeping, physics, logic, and astronomy to name a few). I look forward to putting this curriculum to good use for many years to come.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This math curriculum was provided to me free of charge from Dollar Homeschool as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Thanks for the info. Just wrote a post today about being unhappy with my current Math curriculum so I am in the hunt for something better.