Monday, July 13, 2015

The School Books are In!

I ordered my books for Ambleside Online Year 2 several weeks ago, and they have finally all arrived. I am so excited! We are planning to begin the last week of July. By that time we will have had six weeks of vacation, so we will be ready for a return to the school routine. We will work for four weeks, then take two weeks off at the end of August and beginning of September, when my husband has his vacation. After that it will be full steam ahead (with a week off every six weeks or so) till the end of May.

Here is a group photo of most of my finds. These books are our main expense for homeschooling. What's great about this is that they are all reuseable for all our children coming up. I think my husband is still sometimes a bit surprised that most of my budget goes to real books rather than curriculum, but he loves books himself, so he doesn't object. If you want to think in terms of "subjects," these books cover History (World, British, Canadian, and Church), Natural History, and Literature (including Shakespeare, Pilgrim's Progress, and poetry).

Aside from these, I will just have to order SA(7)'s math when he finishes his current Singapore Primary Math workbook. For JJ(5) I will use Alpha Phonics and a few Bob Books I already have in the house and Miquon Math in printable e-book form already purchased for SA(7) two years ago. We also will continue to use several other books we bought in the last couple of years, notably the Handbook of Nature Study, Family Math and Games for Math, Drawing with Children, The Kodaly Method, and an e-book by Penny Gardner called Italic: Beautiful Handwriting for Children. I also have a French program that I'm not terribly keen on (Le Francais Facile! Junior), but don't know what to substitute.

My preference whenever possible and reasonable is to buy used hardcover books. Hardcover because they will stand up to the handling we will put them through with four boys, and Used because they tend to be cheaper for hardcover editions. Last year I ordered most of my books from Better World Books and Book Depository. Both of these are great sites for used books, offering free shipping anywhere in the world. BWB is based in the US, and BD is based in the UK, but I haven't found a lot of difference between them when it comes to speed of delivery to Canada (if anything, the UK ones often come first). 

This year, a friend introduced me to, and it simplified things considerably. All I had to do was put in the ISBN of the book I wanted, and it found the cheapest prices for me including shipping to my postal code.
I don't know if you can see this, but it has book information at the top, then two columns below, one with new books, and one with used. Both columns are arranged from cheapest including shipping to most expensive including shipping.

I ended up buying several books from, several from alibris, and a few from my old standbys Better World Books and Book Depository. I found the fastest and most efficient. I was least impressed with Better World Books. Their packaging is very flimsy, almost like a bag vacuum-packed around the books. I had no damage, thankfully, but I will keep that in mind the next time I have to buy used books. All the other books were well packaged.

My Finds

And now I know you want to see my "finds"! Here are some of my favourites.

I didn't realize when I ordered A Child's History of the World by Virgil M. Hillyer what a beautiful edition it would be. It's a Centennial Edition (1897-1997) and it's beautifully bound. It even has a ribbon bookmark!

I first caught sight of this beautiful edition of Our Island Story in a picture on someone's blog (sorry I can't remember whose). It also is a "Centenary Edition," republished in 2005. Hardcover with dust jacket, strong paper with lovely large print and several full-page colour illustrations, it screams quality!

The text is taken from the Baldwin Project, which is where I had been reading this book online last year anyway. It follows the original 1905 edition, except for chapter 110 which is taken from a later edition because of its fuller account of the Boer War.

This was actually the first package that reached me (less than a week after I ordered it), though it came from the UK!

I am extremely excited about this book. Like most histories of our country, it is called The Story of Canada. This one is by Edith Louise Marsh and was first published in the early 1900's. Obviously, this means there are some limitations. For example, Newfoundland was not yet part of Canada, and the Union Jack was still Canada's flag. Also, it tells Canada's colonial history without shame. Naturally, this will be a discussion point.

However, it is beautifully written. We haven't tried narration from it yet, but I anticipate it will go well. We will use it for our main Canadian history book, and supplement with other books on Native peoples, and more modern history as I find them.

This book is available on-line, but I chose to get a scanned reproduction (paperback). It is obvious that it has been scanned, but I still prefer to have a physical copy rather than trying to read on-line. (I will be using this in place of This Country of Ours in Ambleside Online's Year 2.)

 I was very excited when this copy of the Burgess Animal Book for Children arrived! It is cloth-bound, published in 1950 by Little, Brown and Company. It has quite a few colour illustrations, though the illustrations are on glossy pages in random places throughout the book and not necessarily with the chapters they illustrate.
This edition of The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle came in like-new condition from the UK. I can't remember what I paid for it, but whatever it was, it was a great deal for what I got!

I didn't buy physical books for all the poetry selections for AO Year 2, but I love Christina Rossetti and figured she would be worth it. This cute little edition of Sing-Song and Other Poems for Children was not in the most spotless condition, but it is cloth-bound and I think it will stand up to some use.

I'm afraid I could go on and on, but you would be bored and I would not get any of my work done. Do you get excited when your books come in?