This summer I had the opportunity to send King Alfred’s English out in e-book form to bloggers with The Old Schoolhouse. The Old Schoolhouse is one of the largest and most popular homeschooling resources on the web, and their Review Crew, which is what their bloggers are called, are a delightful and diligent gang of homeschooling moms who agree to review books and other homeschooling products for The Old Schoolhouse. There were too many reviews to include them all, but I’ve pasted some of my favorite comments below along with links in case you want to check out the whole review.
But the other purpose for this particular post is to tell you about The Old Schoolhouse because, as of March 2012, they have started a brand new enterprise that could prove to be a harbinger of new things to come, things which could dramatically shape and enhance homeschooling in the years to come.
TOS had its beginnings as a black and white newsletter published from home by Paul and Gena Suarez and grew to be a global company that brings resources to homeschoolers worldwide. They offer a monthly magazine that comes in a FREE digital format too and covers everything related to the homeschooling family’s needs: budgeting, building character in your kids, what to do with the little ones while you teach the older ones, organizing, getting through high school without losing your mind, book and curriculum reviews, and everything in-between. There almost isn’t a subject that’s relevant to homeschooling that the magazine hasn’t touched on! There’s a free online newsletter too, a helpful facebook page, product reviews and much more on their website.
Something New from TOS–An Online Academy
This past March TOS launched a whole new kind of resource for home learning–an online academy called Schoolhouse Teachers. Membership for the academy is cheap: cost is $1 for the first month and $5.95/mo thereafter, and you get free access to a whole host of lessons, some live classes, plus some wonderful extras like free access to the Schoolhouse Expo, free monthly e-books, articles, an online library, all back issues of the magazine, and more. The teachers for these classes are people of whom you may have already heard, like Diana Waring for history and Terri Johnson with her great geography, and many more authors of well-known homeschooling curricula. Not all subjects are available for every grade, but they are adding more all the time. I checked out the classes for high school and the list included such things as French, Economics, film-making (loved that!), chemistry, classics-based writing, and more.
Homeschooling in the Dark Ages
I started homeschooling around 1990–that’s when my oldest daughter Rebecca hit first grade. Do you have any idea what was available for homeschooling at that time? Not much! It was an exciting time to be a homeschooling parent because I felt like a true trail blazer, but what I wouldn’t have given for the huge cornucopia of supplies and resources available just in this one excellent place! As an author, I have dealt with several of the ladies who help keep the inner workings of the Old Schoolhouse running smoothly, and each one has been so gracious and helpful that I really can’t say enough about the quality of the group who run this creative enterprise. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend that you check out the full package they offer. It just sounds totally worth it!
My thanks to the Crew
Each crew member receives a free copy of whatever product or book they agree to review. However, the understanding with the author is that they will give an honest assessment, and I was overwhelmed with the generous response. It made my summer! Thank you all!
Snippets from just a few of the many reviews on King Alfred’s English
STOP! Don’t scroll through – This isn’t ‘just another review’. So I’m going to put it in the top paragraph. Buy This Book. Read This Book. It NEEDS to be in your library. What is the book? King Alfred’s English from The Shorter Word . Go ahead and click over and just get it and skip my review. You as the parent need to read it. Your teens will enjoy reading it…
…If you love language – if you teach languages – if you have questions about our spelling – if you wonder about our grammar – if you are looking into which second language to teach – Read. This. Book. Not sure without driving you mad and loosing you with too many words – how to say it. I had so many a-ha moments, wonders answered, giggles given, and thoughts stirred. Nate will be reading this book in the fall as his first history assignment. If he does the supplements as she suggests, he’ll earn a credit of History. I can’t believe that something this fun and simple and easy to read could earn high school credits.
Honestly, I’m not even sure where to begin with this review. I am absolutely blown away with what I read, learned, and the laugh out loud moments I had while reading this. I couldn’t keep it to myself! My poor husband constantly heard, “listen to this”. This book has my all time highest praise of any review that I’ve done so far. Before I go on, I must say that this a book that belongs on every bookshelf in America! I want all my homeschooling mamas to read it.
Warning: Once you pick it up – you will not put it down. I could not stop until I reached the end. Laurie’s writing style is so engaging that it keeps you interested and blown away the whole time.
Do you love the English language? Was English your favorite subject in school? If not, do you enjoy history? What if I told you that King Alfred’s English combines both to make one the most interesting books I have read in my life?…. I looked forward to reading a little each day in my few minutes of free time. Each chapter got more and more interesting. I was sad when I got to the end!
I was surprised by how engrossed I became and how fun this was to read…I took it along a few times when we went to the pool thinking I’d read a chapter or so and then read another book, but I couldn’t put it down.
Over the years, I’ve used many books in teaching my children history. King Alfred’s English. We’ve learned history through the lives of fictional and real characters, traced political history through the accounts of wars and elections and discovered the world with biographies of the explorers and scientists.
….I found it a charming read, full of humor and historical interest. This book is listed for grades 7 – 12, but I feel it could be enjoyed by slightly younger children who read well.
Let me just say, I loved, loved, LOVED this book! Call me a geek, but I thought it was an absolute page-turner.
…This book is history, grammar, spelling, language arts, and religion in one. And best of all, it was fun to read. Though it may sound as though it would be stuffy and dry, the author has done a fabulous job creating an entertaining narrative. Her casual style and sense of humor make this a very enjoyable assignment for a junior high or high school student.
Sarah in Ohio
I never imagined that learning about the English language could be exciting or something more than dull – however having had the pleasure of receiving King Alfred’s English to read and review, my opinion has now changed. This is geared for ages 12 to adults, but I could see a younger child who is advanced enjoying this book too. If you have a high school student and are wondering if this could be used for credits toward graduation, the answer is yes. If you use this book in conjunction with the supplemental (and free) materials your student could earn a full semester of history (equal to 1/2 unit) or 1/4 unit history and 1/4 unit English.
During the month of July, I was given the opportunity to ready a new book that rocked my socks!
Reading this book was such a hoot! Every day I was sharing new tidbits with my family. …Laurie White has really hit the mark with this book! I look forward to sharing it with my son fully this coming school year. But I sense you may not be completely convinced. I have a suggestion.Read the first chapter and see with you think!
Jennifer Hyatt, M.A.
I found the book to be a VERY interesting read and honestly had a hard time putting it down, … In fact, beyond the book Laurie has a website full of fantastic resources. I will be able to expand our study into a full semester, perhaps even a full year curriculum with all Laurie has packed into her website.
“One Blessed Mama”
… this book reads like a well written fiction novel, and you just can’t wait to see what happens next.
This is without a doubt, the most interesting history book that I can remember reading. The author, Laurie White, has an engaging writing style. The book is easy to read, yet not simple. It is full of facts, but not dry or boring.
Who would have thought that reading about the history of our language could be so fun. King Alfred’s English: A History of the Language We Speak and Why We Should Be Glad We Do is a very easy read that contains a lot of information.
Once again, fascinating, is the only word I can think of to describe this book both from an English standpoint and a History standpoint. I feel this is going to be a great asset to our understanding of the why’s of English Grammar. And who knows, just maybe it will stop Sarah’s complaints of “Well, it should be spelled that way!” when she knows the reasons behind the strange spelling.
The author’s style is engaging, dynamic, and modern. This is nothing like my own high school or college history texts. Beyond history, this is a clear explanation of how our words originated and changed over time to become our modern English language.
The author is funny and drew me right in, sucked me in really; I didn’t want to put the book down! It needs to be in everyone’s library. It is a must-read for anyone studying the Middle Ages.
With humor and keen historical and biblical insight, Laurie White combines my two favorite subjects – English and history – with a large dose of linguistics. One would think that such a college level combination would cook up a torture as dry as dust, but White has a way with words that makes you feel like you are actually being entertained rather than merely educated!
How can you possibly make the history of a language “fascinating” and enjoyable to read? you might be asking. Trust me, once you begin reading, you will find yourself saying “Oh, I didn’t know that!” or “That explains why we . . .” You can fill in that blank with reasons for why we spell things the way we do, what battles and invasions have to do with language, and how the printing press changed and cemented our language. You’ll also learn about early Christians like Constantine, Tyndale, Martin Luther, and Wycliffe. I love seeing the element of Divine Providence at work in the details.
So one evening I made myself sit down and start reading it. It was already late but I knew I needed to get it started! …HOURS later I had to MAKE myself put it down! It is that good. You will not understand until you read it yourself. I’m not making it up.
Laurie has this amazing way of capturing your attention and its like she is speaking right to you. The information is amazing and I learned so much. The book is about the English language and I know when I say that, you’re thinking” BORING” but it was the farthest thing from boring.
“Mama of Many”
I would share a bit aloud with whomever was in the room. If I didn’t share, they would often ask because I laughed so much while reading. King Alfred’s English is just as entertaining as it is educational.