Finding Classic Books for Your Homeschool – and a History Lesson!

It's tough to find good books for kids these days, and classics which haven't been altered by people seeking to make them more politically correct are an even tougher thing to find. We know about used book stores, we have all found some amazing things there, but did you think of antique stores?

These stores are windows into the past, there are butter churns, old instruments, bread boxes and old books. Now sometimes the books are quite expensive - we found a 1926 Webster's Dictionary for $100. Before you choke, look at this beauty! It is almost a foot thick, has etymology, history and more surrounding each of the words. Webster's New International DictionaryIt's an amazing window into the past. It even lists a few species that are either now extinct, like the Thylecene(Tasmanian Tiger) or have been found alive and well after being thought extinct, such as the Coelecanth. This is a new favorite here - we take great joy in looking up some random word and learning about it and its history.

What a rare find and a treat to have in the house!

Just this morning, I picked up a very tattered and fragile copy of Nicholson's Elementary Algebra, published in 1888. I'm hoping this is my opening to finally understanding Algebra, Nicholson's Algebrabut I also believe that it will be a great reference book for my kids! This was $5, and I'm very excited to read it...carefully...I may look into having it rebound, I'm not as concerned about the monetary value as I am in retaining the knowledge it contains.

I also saw a couple other little gems, a few of the Junior classics series at a few dollars a piece, a copy of Five Little Peppers, and a few other things. The books are invaluable, and hard to replace. In this age of disposable everything, it's nice to have something that has stood the test of time.

These antique stores could just as easily be used as history lessons and field trips built around them. Kids could learn to identify the items that we used to use every day just to have butter for toast! They would see coffee grinders, old china and an amazing array of history at their fingertips - that they could touch. Kids are so tactile, that when they can touch something it stays with them longer. Obviously there are things they should not touch, and you should ask the shopkeeper which items fall in that category.

So get out there and find some history - and bring home a good book or two just looking for a new person.


Gail Nelson

Gail is a mom to four kids, two of whom are at home being homeschooled. She teaches violin and viola, and wrote Teach Your Kids Music in 12 Weeks, and blogs sporadically at As Editor in Chief of Learning Tangent, she oversees the daily operations of the magazine.

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