An Old-Fashioned Education REVIEW

Being a public school teacher is difficult these days.

When I entered the field of education, I wanted to teach kids, to make them think and enjoy learning. I wanted to have fun with the kids. Now, some 16 years later, I don't feel the same way. I mean, I would still love to just teach kids and have them enjoy the lesson, but it doesn't work that way.

I spend five minutes at the beginning of class taking attendance, marking it on the computer program and sending it in, and then writing out tardy and/or missing from class slips and hanging them outside my room. If the office helpers don't pick them up, I have to run them down between classes. When attendance is completed, I have to address the students who were absent and missed the previous day's assignments, getting them caught up on what to do and finding a place for them to go while the rest of the class reviews. Finally, I begin the new day's lesson, but then I have to stop because someone feels the need to misbehave. If the behavior is too bad, I must write an office referral slip and send the student to the office. Then I'm able to get back to teaching…until someone needs to use the restroom or get a drink. That requires a signature and time stamp from me, and so I must stop the lesson again. Of course, I'm doing all of this while I differentiate instruction for every student in every class. I must remember which ones need alternative testing, which ones can leave the room to work with an aide, and which ones have a free "cool down" pass to go and sit on a bean bag chair until their anger dissipates. But, in my teaching, I must prepare every student for taking and passing the state's Common Core-aligned standardized tests, so that they can graduate high school. If they don't pass, it is simply a bad mark on my record. Forget student or parental accountability.

Just an FYI for you Common Core creators: it does not take 15 steps to solve a double-digit addition or subtraction problem, and there is not only one way to interpret a text.

I was so fortunate to have attended an elementary school where the teachers were, well, old school. I learned to read with the Dick and Jane books. I had to underline the subject once and predicate twice. I had to stand up and say the times tables in front of the entire class. I had to memorize and recite poetry. I learned cursive writing, using the slanted lines guide underneath my paper. I had an old-fashioned education, and I am very grateful for it.

I wish that I could have worked in the schools of the 1800s, when all students were taught in the same way, behavior issues rarely happened (and if they did, parents put a stop to them), and textbooks mentioned God (because everyone believed). This is the kind of school I wish existed today. Thankfully, homeschooling is so popular, and parents have the right to educate their children as they see fit.

So, when I found An Old-Fashioned Education site, I was thrilled. This complete curriculum includes every subject for every grade, preschool to twelfth…and it is ALL FREE!

Following the rigorous schools of the 1800s, the curriculum at An Old-Fashioned Education includes everything students will need to know. It is not set to standards from a specific state, so things that your state may require (like fire safety, uugghhh) may not be included…but everything else will be!

The curriculum for each grade level is set up in a 40 week plan. If you click on the grade level, you will see a list of required books. These books are all old-fashioned texts that are no longer under copyright and available online for free. If you click on the 40-week schedule link underneath each grade level, you will see the weekly plans for each subject. There are also subject categories listed down the left side of the page. If you would prefer to choose your child's own curriculum from the hundreds of free resources, you may browse the topics there.

There are two cons to this program. First, the weekly schedule is just that — a weekly schedule. It does not break down the activities into daily lessons. This would take some time to plan, as there is a ton of material. But, you do have the ability to pick and choose, and not necessarily complete everything listed. A second con is that the page is no longer being updated. The author of the site has graciously left it up for us to access, but nothing new has been added for years. Since it is not being updated, some links may not work. Now, I certainly haven't gone through every link for every subject, but I have done some extensive browsing. In that browsing, I only found one link that was not current. So, my suggestion is that, if you think you may be interested in this curriculum, you should check it out and print out the weekly schedule(s) that you need.

This curriculum will include Christian content. The author did incorporate Bible lessons, but even within the other texts, there will likely be mention of God. It was a norm of the time, unlike today's ridiculous laws against any Christian thought in a public setting. Also, understand that old-fashioned learning was very academic. Kids could understand a more challenging vocabulary, because that is how everyone spoke. Today, when you ask a student to read Shakespeare, he asks in what language it's written. So, the texts that are selected for this curriculum are not "dumbed down" the way that most modern texts are. If you preview the material for a certain grade level, don't be shocked if it exceeds what your children have done to this point in their education.

I absolutely adore this curriculum and the message it gives about education. If you have ever thought about what it might have been like to attend school a hundred years ago, this site is the place for you! Check it out, and get ready to be awed!


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