Finding and Using "Old School" Textbooks in Your Homeschool

When we lived overseas for about 10 years, most of the time we lived somewhere where there was no home mail service (and we didn't usually have a PO Box), so we couldn't get mail delivered. So I didn't buy textbooks or workbooks much and I relied heavily on the internet for textbooks.

As I searched, I saw that a lot of homeschoolers were using classic textbooks (from the late 1800s and early 1900s.) such as McGuffy readers or Noah Webster spelling books.  After pouring through several that I found on The Gutenberg Project, I was hooked on these super old textbooks.

Yes, they were old, and yes, there were some things in them that would not be considered politically correct today, but I fell in love with some of them as I'm old school and I really liked some of the old teaching methods. I found grammar books that didn't just teach the parts of speech but had students construct sentences from concepts taught in the lessons, but to aid the students in the sentence writing, they provided topics for them to write about.

Or, in some books, there was constant review on previously taught topics that was built right into the lessons. I just don't find that that much these days in modern textbooks.

Or in other books, there were pronunciation drills or exercises to make sure that students knew how to pronounce words and they learned about syllabication.  Some of my kids who are really good readers can butcher the pronunciation of words something awful.

Now, I'm not knocking modern textbooks. Some are really good and visually appealing, capturing the attention of students. Most of the old, classic textbooks, feel really old. But, I like the way many of them present the material.

If you are old school like me, and like "old-fashioned" teaching methods,  I'll be adding links to classic language textbooks to TJ Homeschooling, in shaa Allah.

If you are new to the world of using classical textbooks in today's world, here are a few places you can find:

Google Play Books

This is a more recent find for me. You can search old and modern books of all kinds. You can find free books as well as paid books and there's textbooks, novels, trade books, just books of all kinds. You can download free books, or keep them in your Google Play library to browse online. It's really neat and in these past few weeks, I have found a lot of classic textbooks as well as some more recent workbooks.

19th Century School Textbooks Collections

An Old Fashioned Education

This is a personal website, but the author uses classical textbooks in her curriculum and she gives links to classic textbooks arranged by subject categories (grammar, math, spelling, etc.)


LOVE this site. I used it a lot when we were overseas. I have found so many great old spelling books, phonics primers, and grammar books in the past.  There's a navigation box on the right titled "Education Topics" that you can use to find classic English and math books.

Project Gutenberg

When we were overseas, this was my mainstay as far as books for the kids for reading and old school textbooks. I was constantly searching here. I haven't used it so much since we have been back in the states as we have a physical library to go to, but I did find many classic textbooks here.

So here are a few places to get started if you are interested in exploring older textbooks. Of course, you will invariably find that you may need to edit the lessons (to purge archaic terms, religious references and ideas that don't match your own, things that aren't pc, etc.) but if some of the more modern textbooks are too flashy and don't have enough substance for you, looking into classic textbooks may be worth checking out.

As I said earlier, I'll be linking to some of the ones that I am considering using or that we have used in the past. in shaa Allah.

Do you use classic textbooks in your homeschool?

If so, which are some of your favorites? What are some of your favorite sites to find them?
Please leave a comment to help others discover your favorites.

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