Daily Archives: February 15, 2010

TOS Crew: Ray’s Arithmetic

Ray’s Arithmetic is math the way it used to be, before the “New Math” came in and changed the way our children learn (or don’t learn) math. (I remember the introduction of New Math in school. From one year to the next, I went from understanding and enjoying math, to confusion and hating the subject.)

Ringing endorsement

Talking about Ray’s reminds me of a conversation about math among a group of homeschool moms. One whose husband is an engineer told the rest that her husband insisted that she use Ray’s Arithmetic from the earliest years up until they were ready to start Algebra. He’d looked at a variety of math programs, and Ray’s was the one he chose. There’s an endorsement for you! (I’m not an engineer, but the most mathematically savvy people I knew in college were the engineering majors…)

I’ve been familiar with Ray’s Arithmetic for a long time. I bought a full set of Ray’s years ago, during our struggles with Eldest and math. (Didn’t seem like any program quite clicked over the years, one step forward, two steps back, that sort of thing, but we keep plugging away.) I have to admit, though, that I didn’t “get” it until I read the instructions that came with the download from Dollar Homeschool (Manual of Methods, in case you were curious).

The whole enchilada

You see, that “complete set” of Ray’s that I bought years ago… wasn’t. I have found out that there are books in the Ray’s Math Series that weren’t in my boxed set. More books. Lots more! There are 38 in the Dollar Homeschool set, to be exact, which is 30 more than I started out with. You can see a list of the books here, but in brief there are student books (basic, intermediate, and advanced math), keys, teacher editions, and “extra-curricular texts,” i.e. bookeeping, astronomy, logic, physics, and surveying and navigation among them. There’s a book that explains how to teach Ray’s arithmetic, and also a set of White’s arithmetic books as a bonus (similar approach, different author).

I paid about as much for my set of eight books, used, as Dollar Homeschool is asking for their 38 books on CD. A lot of the early work in Ray’s is done orally, which means that you can just read off the screen to your student, without having to print.

The books are in PDF format, making viewing and printing easy. See sample pages here. The pages are in their original format, reprinted from the books published in the 1800s, simple black and white pages sprinkled with old-fashioned illustrations, nothing fancy. The problems are straightforward and practical. Some concepts might seem obsolete (like the rod, a measure of distance — except that I’ve actually counted in rods, by which portages in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area are measured). You’re not going to find pears at three cents apiece, nowadays. Still, the math is sound.

Lose a book? No problem

One problem I have in our homeschool is misplaced materials. It doesn’t matter that books have a home on the shelf. Sometimes they don’t get put away, and sometimes they even disappear, and I just cannot emphasize how frustrating that is to me. That is why I love having textbooks on my computer. I can just reprint the pages I need!

I’m very excited to have the complete set of Ray’s Arithmetic books at my fingertips, and that’s not all you can find at Dollar Homeschool’s website. Their Eclectic Education Series is on my wishlist. The series includes, in addition to Ray’s, the McGuffey readers, as well as history, science, and grammar books.

The complete set of Ray’s Math Series is available on CD for $59 at Dollar Homeschool. At the moment, for a limited time you can get the entire Eclectic Education Series on CD for $159. (Just click on the Eclectic Education Series link above to find out more.)

To read more TOS Crew reviews of Dollar Homeschool products, click here.

Disclaimer: TOS Crew members were given product downloads from Dollar Homeschool for their personal use and for review purposes. No monetary compensation was involved.