The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Tess Hamre and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Living Books Curriculum Review by Shannon Pelletier Swanson

Sheila Carroll

When I came across an advertisement for The Living Books Curriculum based on Charlotte Mason's philosophy of education, offered by Worldwide Educational Resources, I could not help but to be intrigued, incredibly relieved and overwhelmingly excited. I have been a fan of Charlotte Mason and her educational philosophy, since I began my research into homeschooling seven years ago. After reading almost every book about or based on her teachings, imagine my delight when I received The Foundation Year Teaching Guide curriculum binder with a thoroughly outlined, descriptive overview of Charlotte Mason, neatly arranged, to successfully implement her methods.

Worldwide Educational Resources have found a wonderful way to explain through their Seven Keys of Learning (a description of children and learning) and Six Tools of Learning (the six most important tools of education) the essence of education. Not only do you receive a binder conveniently setup into sections for easy reading, wherein you will find ALL of the informative tools necessary to begin (or even continue down a different road of homeschooling), you will also receive each of the books necessary for the entire year! In this one box, I assure you that a thrilling feeling of relief will overcome you followed by complete boost of confidence to be a successful homeschooling parent. At this point they are offering the Foundation Year and Grade One, Living Books. Grade Two is due for release in the Spring of 2005.

There is so much more to this product than just your average curriculum. It has become an item that I read regularly, because the information is so incredibly pertinent, not just to education but for creating an appreciation for learning and how to raise observant, literate children.

Being a "list" person, I found the Planning for Learning section quite comforting. It breaks down, into a step-by-step list, of how to create the most useful educational atmosphere for our young minds. Even if you already have these elements in working order, you WILL find a unique variety of new ideas.

Teaching Resources is a fabulous informational melting pot about Charlotte Mason and her teaching techniques regarding literature, storytelling, plays and making books. I thoroughly enjoy this part of the binder, because not only does it offer you examples of finger plays and action verses to use, but innovative ideas to keep the aspects of reading stories and incorporating them, fresh.

Since this is the Foundation Year, the Music and Movement section introduces a basic music curriculum from High Scope ( (Included in the binder) This is a program based on encouraging movement as a foundation for music education. This is wonderful because it readily allows your child to experience music, not just by reading but by feeling. Lastly, the Coursework Guide offers a plethora of sample schedules, by the day, week, month and year!

Math programs that are consistent with The Living Books Curriculum are also suggested, but are not included in the box. An itemized order form allows you the option to purchase only those books you need, because some of the books can be carried through to other curriculum years. How many companies do you know that watch out for your spending dollars to make sure that you receive a quality product that gives year after year.

Everything in this binder is easy to follow and well explained, giving you the confidence to implement the method. This can also be used as a reference to guide you and even remind those "old-pro homeschoolers" about the richness of storytime.

One of the best attributes and the icing on the cake to investing in this product is The Living Books Curriculum guarantee. "We guarantee you will love our curriculum. We have a 60-day, 100% refund policy on all books and materials, less shipping costs. However, if you should decide our curriculum is not for you, the books must be returned in resalable condition." Also, the Living Books Curriculum profits go to support Worldwide Educational Resources "Education in a Box",, which ensures educating children in developing nations, using the Living Books idea. See, everybody learns!

I urge you to go to their website and have a look around. You will be pleasantly intrigued, and excited to begin educating your children, The Living Books Curriculum way.

-- Product Review by: Shannon Pelletier Swanson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine