Ask The Principal

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Why are textbooks important?

As we begin the textbook post(s) we need to examine the importance (or lack thereof) of a textbook as we know it. The first step is to do some thoughtful reflection of what we have come to expect of such a book, or text. What do we want a text book to do for us as homeschool parents? Everything? Somethings/What things? The same questions would be asked in regard to what we want for our children. Post some of your responses or email them to me. Remember, there are no "stupid" answers :-). (I'm going to have to learn how to put a real emoticon here someday :-)


  • I have never used textbooks except as a reference. We have never used a textbook as the main resource in our homeschool. I find them dull and boring. Instead we read real books and use the textbook to get more information about a particular topic.

    I have enjoyed reading your posts thus far!

    By Anonymous Jacquie, at Saturday, June 03, 2006 1:15:00 PM  

  • What do we want a text book to do for us as homeschool parents?

    Well, the "ideal" textbooks for me would have some type of Christian basis. If it were a history book it would have to be accurate. I've heard of history texts out there that have gotten their names and dates confused and have felt the need to place emphasis on a person's sexual preference/lifestyle. Why this is important when teaching history, I haven't a clue.

    If it's a math text I want it to put emphasis on memory work (in the beginning stages). Memorizing addition, subtraction, multiplication and division tables is important ... to me. Again, accuracy would be a must. None of this "2+2 can equal 4, or 3, or whatever you want it to equal" stuff. I don't think a math text should encourage the use of calculators in the lower grades either. Just because a child can punch "4-2=" into a calculator doesn't mean they have grasped the concept. All it shows is that they know what the numbers and signs look like.

    As far as language - I believe it's important for children o learn the basics of our written and spoken language. Nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, pronouns, sentence structure, grammar. I don't know if these things are still being taught in the schools. The way some of the kids talk around here I really have to wonder ... Anyway, I think a good text would contain these things (in the lower grades). The upper grades should have texts that focus more on writing and research.

    Dh and I read to dc a lot when they were little. It took awhile for ds to catch on to the whole reading thing :o\ Dh and I both believe that had we sent him to a ps he would have been placed in some sort of remedial reading program and would have learned to hate reading. I was able to find some "beginner" type books (thanks to suggestions from other hser's) that he really enjoyed reading. From then on his love of reading just skyrocketed. Dd pretty much taught herself to read. At the age of four she came up to me and asked if she could read me a story. I thought she was going to "read" the pictures - you know, look at the pictures and tell the story. Well, she actually read the words.

    I've really gotten off-track here :o|

    The textbooks and curriculum I choose spend a lot of time (in the early grades) on the basics. Repetition and memorization. I think many of the schools have gotten away from this because they think the kids get bored with it. This is just my personal opinion, but how can we expect children to move onto bigger and better things if they don't have a grasp on the basics? I guess the problem with repetition in a classroom of 30+ kids would be that some would "get it" sooner than others and would get bored. This is where the 1:1 with hs'ing is such a plus. You can move along at the pace your child needs to - not at the rate of 30 other kids. That's a whole other topic though.

    By Blogger hs'ing mom of two, at Sunday, June 04, 2006 8:56:00 AM  

  • Textbooks. Ah, one of my favorite subjects. I actually collect them as I can afford them.

    Usually mathmatics, English, and grammar because they are timeless. Occasionally, science if they are basic and accurate (sometimes things change so it takes judicious editing on my part). I'll also purchase History books if they are well written.

    But the first thing I check is the date it was published. I won't buy anything published after 1968 because that's when I noticed textbooks beginning to 'pander' to political correctness - (Insert big ICK here)

    So when I look at textbooks, I look for:
    Accuracy, uniformity in text size, text and page layout that is easy to read - too many font sizes and colors are distracting. (if you'd like to see what I mean by distracting, I have a very poorly designed spelling textbook I'd be happy to send you free of charge); I also look for text that is free of bias and superfluous detail - detail that enhances the experience is great; detail that adds nothing but to cater to political correctness annoys me greatly.

    By Blogger Unique, at Sunday, June 04, 2006 10:05:00 AM  

  • As homeschooling parents, often we lean on our textbooks. I'm not saying we can't teach, but sometimes it is just nice to have a whole chapter on a subject, with many parts of the whole, all in one place. Textbooks are great jumping off points for unit studies, rabbit trails to follow on the internet, at the library, or where ever we are able. I expect historical accuracy without politically correct language. I hadn't thought about seeking out old textbooks... interesting idea. I prefer texts that are interesting, even possibly written conversationally, such as BJU history texts and Apologia science texts. Also, history that is based more on people, biographies, etc. because people are interesting, and dates are not.

    By Anonymous perkidawn, at Tuesday, June 06, 2006 3:15:00 AM  

  • Whoops don't even know my own web page! LOL

    By Anonymous perkidawn, at Tuesday, June 06, 2006 3:19:00 AM  

  • Glad to see your actual site perkidawn!


    By Blogger The Principal, at Wednesday, June 07, 2006 8:47:00 AM  

  • One thing useful about textbooks is that they make a topic more understandable to the child's level. If a textbook is too easy for the child, then the parent can use a higher grade. Certainly a parent can take complex material and break it down themselves for the child, but a good textbook saves the time and effort of doing so.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, June 08, 2006 6:50:00 AM  

  • Textbooks -- eww!!

    I prefer to use them sparingly :)

    Reading “real” books seems to awaken in our kids a desire for more. It truly is an interaction between the author and the child. Textbooks are often so regurgitated that much of the “fun” or “realness” seems to have been extracted in favor of tidbits and factoids. The textbook writer (writers, usually!) have already done all the thinking for the child.

    For example, TruthQuest History has changed the way we homeschool! Michelle Miller has produced guides to DELICIOUS “living books,” full of commentary that asks the student to think through all of history through the question of the 2 Big Beliefs: What did these people believe about God? What did these people believe about other people? (I have heard people call Truthquest "Francis Schaeffer-with-a-Discovery-Approach.")

    We have been able to apply this wonderful blend of "learning to think through ideas with God’s perspective in mind while reading yummy books" to other academic areas.

    Of course, some subjects we need textbooks for -- for instance, math and science (By the way, I am also sold on Apologia’s Elementary Science Series by Jeannie Fulbright -- it really reads like a living book!).

    When text books MUST be used, they need to remain a servant to us as parents and our children -- if we become a slave to the text, well, yikes.

    By Anonymous Deborah, at Friday, June 09, 2006 12:12:00 AM  

  • to me textbooks help me in math because it shows me step-by-step process and it helps me with the informance i gather up in progess and it helps me when the teachers don't know wht there talkin about i can use a textbook in need of help

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, January 03, 2012 9:44:00 AM  

  • textbooks because they give u example and help descible and because they have all types of informance

    By Anonymous prettybrown eyes, at Tuesday, January 03, 2012 9:52:00 AM  

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