Review: Ray’s Arithmetic

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This week I’m reviewing Ray’s Arithmetic from Dollar Homeschool. Ray’s Arithmetic is a complete K-12 math curriculum, part of the Eclectic Education Series.  This is the same curriculum that was used in the majority of public schools from 1865-1915

If you picture the teacher in an actual one-room schoolhouse standing before her students doing lessons, she very likely used the curriculum that makes up the Eclectic Education Series, which is currently being preserved and distributed by Dollar Homeschool.  You can read more about the series and it’s history here.

Now you might think, given my strong preference for eclectic learning, that I’d have been all over this series, but I have to be honest and say, I just couldn’t get into it.  For one thing, these books are on CD, so they’re actually e-Books.  As much as I love being on my laptop, I don’t like having to rely on it for school or having to print everything that I want to use.

The second draw-back, for us, was that the books, at least initially, are set up to be done orally with the student, which actually goes right along with my second big homeschooling style tendency, classical.  Classical education incorporates a lot of rote memorization in the early years and Ray’s Arithmetic would support that, though it does encourage writing down problems by the student as they are given orally.

The problem with that, for me, is that math is one of the few subjects that my younger kids are able to do mostly on their own.  I really feel no desire to add anything to the subjects that I complete one-on-one with them…or one-on-two, as the case may be.  Ray’s Arithmetic is designed to be primarily self-taught by the student once they are reading independently, but I only have one that fits that description and we’re happy with her current math curriculum.

Finally, and this is probably just a weird idiosyncrasy, because the pages are scanned (or a similar process) copies of the original, I didn’t find them aesthetically appealing.  Many of the pages had text that was crooked or blurry on the page.  That’s one of those weird things that bugs me.  I admit to wasting paper and ink to reprint or recopy a page that with crooked text.  I know that doesn’t surprise many of you who know me well.

Although the curriculum was not a good fit for us, there are benefits to using it that I know others would enjoy, such as:

  • The back-to-basics approach
  • The rote memorization and oral instruction for younger children
  • The extremely reasonable price — just $59 for the entire set of 38 books, a full K-12 curriculum, on CD

Visit Dollar Homeschool to find out more.

I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it.  I received no other compensation for this review.  The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions.  Your experience may vary.

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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. I enjoyed your candid review and am thankful that there are people out there that give honest reviews. I have considered using some of these e-books for resources and have come up with the same experience. I need something in my hand to teach from and I too am turned off by dull pages. Even with all the savings I don’t think I could get with it 🙂

  2. I have the hardbound books which are probably better than ebooks. Most reviews I have read for Ray’s arithmetic must be on the lower level books because oral math and rote memorization are mentioned in most reviews. This is my first year using Ray’s and my daughter and I are in the Practical book. I haven’t found any oral math or memorization in the Practical book. The print is very small in the books and I would like to see more steps to how the answers are found in the answer key. Otherwise, these books are great. They are much more difficult, in my opinion, than 6th graders do today and the majority of the problems are word problems. They are very functional though and provide a good solid foundation of math

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