Old School Learning


Encyclopedias – Research Central!

For some time I have been on a search to find a nice set of encyclopedias. Plans to attend library book sales have fallen through on various occasions and yard sales left me wanting. Several weeks ago I realized that utilizing FreeCycle might be helpful.  Within a couple of hours, a set of encyclopedias had a new home!

Encyclopedia Skills

Research 101

In this technological age with search engines providing us all we ever wanted to know and more, why would I desire an antiquated set of encyclopedias? As valuable and helpful as today’s technology is, I think we are losing the ability to think for ourselves.  We are happily spoon fed whatever information the highest rated website can give us.  It has to be true, right?

While encyclopedias offer a basic, concise presentation on various topics, it gives a foundation to build on. The presentation is straight forward. This information provides the perfect opportunity to teach outlining. Encyclopedia use also helps in areas such as cross referencing and alphabetical order. While researching one topic, it can open up possibilities of other areas to study. You can easily incorporate encyclopedia use in any area of learning. You child wants to know what toothpaste is made of? Let’s grab the encyclopedia. What do chimpanzees like to eat? Grab the “C” encyclopedia.

I was discussing inclined planes with a couple of children today and sent my 9 year old to look it up in the encyclopedias. Searching for inclined planes referenced us to machines. There we were able to see sketches of the six basic simple machines and read a bit on them. This was just the beginning of our studies as we pulled other resources for further learning.

Encyclopedia Research

Mary working on Life Science

I have to add, for honesty’s sake, we just love books. Real books. I download epub and Kindle books with the rest of America (thank you Kindle app) but there is nothing like holding a book in your hand, feeling the pages, smelling that musty library smell……I do have a child who loves finding an old book at the library because of the smell.  It thrills me to see my children at the table with the encyclopedia, dictionary and other books all spread out and learning. Thinking. Questioning. Not settling for being spoon fed the answers on the test.

Our encyclopedias have been a great addition to our bookshelves. In a few days, I will share with you the curriculum that Mary was using in the above picture. Stay tuned!


Sam – Creating his masterpiece

The above picture of Sam has absolutely nothing to do with this post. He is just too cute!!

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