Monday, November 29, 2010

Old schoolbooks

I like old books of all sorts. Lately, I've been looking at some old schoolbooks.  They can be very educational in many ways.  They give you an inkling of what education was like in the times past, what educational methods were employed, what material was covered and  how fast it was covered.  Some are available online at 19th century schoolbooks or at Google Books, those out of copyright in full.  So this is another great resource  to find interesting exercises and examples.  I have a few old math books from the 1800s, I use them with my kids for oral and written math exercises, word problems which I update for the modern times if necessary, etc.  I find that I like the way the books are organized, how the material follows a logical sequence from one topic to the next, how there is just enough practice to understand the material without feeling bogged down by needless drill,  the scope of the book is also very impressive for the age range it's intended for.  So I think old texts could really enhance one's education. One can argue whether or not the education was superior in the past but these texts could certainly be very useful in the present.  In addition,  I also discovered that old exams of various sorts are available online from different eras and countries of origin which could also contribute to one's education not for testing's sake but for discovering new learning directions and learning interesting things in various disciplines.  People generally gravitate to new things but there is plenty that could be learned from the past.  Just like something is not necessarily good just because it's new, something is not necessarily bad and outdated just becasue it's old.  I am an old-fashioned kind of person:)


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