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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Adhkaar of Salaah

A couple of my kids have not yet learned all of the adhkaar of salaah so I made them a little poster that they keep in their Islamic Studies binder and pull out and follow while they are praying.
Adhkaar of Salaah

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Vary Your Recitation in Salaah With This Helper

It's so easy to fall into the rut of reciting the same surahs in salaah.  That can be a big problem because then our salaah becomes more automated and we can whiz through it without thinking about what we are reciting.

So, I made up a chart for us to use to help vary our recitation during salaah.  You can post it in a place near the prayer area so that you can refer to it right before salaah. You can keep one for the whole family or give each person their own personal chart based upon the surahs they know.

Vary Your Recitation in Salaah

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Salaah Described - Audios by Dr. Saleh as Saleh

A wonderful resource of 42 audios on the salaah presented by Dr. Saleh as Saleh (rahimahullahu)
from the merits of salaah, the performance of salaah from beginning to end,  to issues and concerns regarding the salaah.

Salaah Described - Audios by Dr. Saleh as Saleh

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Start Your Homeschool Day with a Momference (or, a Dadference)

Help get your homeschool day going with a quick morning conference with each child......

This past week we’ve started back on our morning conferences (or as my 13 year old coined it “Momferences”) and subhanAllah, I have to say, it feels like we’ve gained some more control over our day, Alhamdulillah.

I’ve got 4 middle school/high school kids who work independently each day and without some type of conference, I get out of the loop or behind on correcting their work.  The struggle has been to find time for the conferences.  The older kids are in a public homeschooling program so there’s more accountability for them then when I homeschooled them independently. But, besides them, I have a 4th grade and 1st grader who I do homeschool independently and an active 2 year old. Finding time for daily conferences is difficult as you can imagine.

But, after the progress of this past week, for us, I've been reminded that they are a must for us.

So I made it a PRIORITY to fit them in.

I had fallen into the routine of letting the older kids lie down after praying Salaatul Fajr and they were really just getting up when they got up. There was little order.  So, this past week, the "new" rule became to stay up after Salaatul Fajr. With this change, among other benefits (such as Quraan), we now had time to conference (after they groom, clean, and do housework).  I've also added in weekend conferences to make sure that any work that wasn't completed during the week gets completed on the weekend (we are really bad about carrying work over to the next week).

The Home Scholar has a brief post on having a morning meeting.

A Momference doesn't have to be formal, it can be as easy as just seeing what's been done or not. But, I like to add in things like checking the kids' appearance, making sure they have said morning/waking up and getting dressed duaas, maybe quiz them on some math facts or something that they are building skills on. 

So, of course, if you know me,  I needed a checklist to help me remember all those things...

Homeschool Morning Meeting Organizer

And I like to have a To Do List for the kids where I can write down what is outstanding to work on and should be done by the next conference, 

Homeschool Morning Meeting To Do

Ideally I would like to meet with the kids in the morning and also late afternoon/early evening. I used to do that when we were overseas and we were homeschooling independently. Right now, I'm working on establishing the morning meeting and in shaa Allah, we'll move on to a second later conference time if I can work it in.

Do you have a morning meeting of some type to start your day? 

If you do,  you have any special format or activities that you do?

Share with others in the comments, in shaa Allah.

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Weekly Quraan Review Chart

Set up a weekly review schedule to review the Quraan that you have memorized with this chart.

Quraan Weekly Review Form

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Surah Completion Certificates I

Reward your students with certificates after the completion of each surah!
Quraan Surah Completion Certificate

Four per page. You can write in the name/number of each surah.

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Quraan Progress Chart by the Juz

Color in a masjid for each completed Juz.
Quraan Progress Chart

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Teacher Juz Amma Tracker

If you need to track the progress of multiple kids for Quraan memorization, you can use this handy Teacher Juz Amma Tracker.

Track up to six kids with this two page tracker (second page not shown--you can copy back to back to make a 2 sided, 1 sheet chart).

Teacher Juz Amma Tracker

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Juz Amma Progress Chart

2 page tracker (second page not shown) where students can color in a box for each ayaah of Juz Amma that they learn.

Juz 30 Ayaah by Ayaah Quraan Progress Chart

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Full Quraan Progress Chart

Track your way through the entire Quraan with this Quraan progress chart.
Quraan Progress Chart for the Whole Quraan

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Quraan Progress Chart for Younger Kids

2 pages (second page not shown).

For Suratul Faatihah and Surahs 105-114. Children can color in a star for each ayaah they memorize.
Surah Progress Chart For Younger Students

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Stars Juz Amma Progress Chart

Color in a star for each surah  learned.

Juz Amma Kids' Quraan Progress Chart

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When is "The Hour" to Make Duaas on Fridays?

When is "The Hour" on Friday to Make Duaas?

Source: The Clear Sunnah

There are two opinions concerning the hour of response on Friday which are likely to be correct:

  • The first is that it lasts from after ‘Asr until the sun sets, for those who sit and wait for Maghrib, whether that is in the mosque or at home, making du’aa’ to their Lord, whether they are men or women; whoever does that is more deserving of seeing a response to his or her du’aa’. But men should not pray Maghrib or any other prayer at home unless they have a legitimate shar’i excuse, as is well known from the evidence of sharee’ah.
  •  The second is that it lasts from the time when the imaam sits on the minbar to deliver the khutbah on Friday until he finishes the prayer.

Du’aa’ at either of these times is deserving of being answered.

These two times are more likely to be the times of response on Friday, because of the saheeh ahaadeeth which indicate that. The hour of response may also be sought at other times of the day. And the bounty of Allaah is great.

Among the moments when response may come to a du’aa’ in all prayers, obligatory and naafil alike, is the moment of sujood (prostration), because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The closest that a person may be to his Lord is when he is prostrating, so say a great deal of du’aa’ in sujood.” (Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh from the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him), in al-Salaah, 482).

And Muslim (may Allaah have mercy on him) narrated in his Saheeh from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “As for rukoo’ (bowing), proclaim the greatness of your Lord in rukoo’ and strive in du’aa’, for you will be more deserving of being responded to.” (Muslim, al-Salaah, 479).

Shaykh Ibn Baaz, Majallat al-Buhooth, issue no. 34, p. 142

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Islamic Bathroom Etiquette

Duaa for Entering Bathroom

Here are some resources you can use, in shaa Allah,  to teach about bathroom etiquette in accordance with Islam.

Bathroom Etiquette Lesson

This is from way back in 2007 when all my kids were little, but still good in shaa Allah for younger kids......
Islamic Bathroom Etiquette Lesson

Duaa for Entering/Leaving Bathroom 

  • Full page (two page PDF, one page with entering and one page with leaving)
  • Half page (both posters on 1 page)
Duaa for Entering/Leaving Bathroom Signs

Duaa Memory Badges

Track the duaas your kids memorize with duaa badges!
Your kids/students can paste a badge on the chart for each duaa they memorize.
Duaa Memory Badges

Freezing/Boiling Point of Water Reference Chart

I made up this little poster for my son to keep in his notebook so that he could use it to remember the boiling and freezing points of water in Celsius and Fahrenheit, in shaa Allah.

Boiling and Freezing Temperatures of Water Chart

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Ordinal Number Foldable

A little foldable that I made for my son a while back to help him remember or look up the ordinal number endings for numbers so that he can say or write them correctly.

Ordinal Number Foldable

Ordinal Number Foldable

Math Facts Progress Charts

Track your student's math facts mastery with these nifty charts! 

Track addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division from the 1's to the 9's. 

When student has mastered a set (table) of facts, they can color in the mastery star for that table.

Math Facts Progress Charts
Download Math Facts Progress Charts 

Timeline TemplatesHistory Timeline Notebook Template (PDF)

My Islamic and World History Notebook

Capture your history studies with this notebooking set.  You can use it for Islamic and/or World history studies. 

Covers 501 AD to 2100 AD in 100 year periods.

Each period has two pages, a timeline/map page and then a page to record people, events, inventions and a place to record books that student studied for each time period.

My Islamic and World History Notebook Set
Download My Islamic and World History Notebooking Set

Ancient Civilization Notebooking Page

This simple printable is a little "ancient" itself as I made it several  years ago for my kids.  It's still great for recording basic facts about ancient civilizations as they learn them.

Ancient Civilization Notebooking Page