Reviewed by Lori Deese
This review is a little different than any I’ve ever written before. Instead of a review on a specific curriculum, this is a review on a whole new concept of obtaining curriculum - namely, eCurriculum as provided by HomeSchoolEStore.com. What exactly is eCurriculum, you ask? Very simply, eCurriculum stands for “electronic curriculum” - books and other resources in an electronic format that can be downloaded to your computer. The eBooks (electronic books) on this site are in Adobe’s PDF format. Audio books are in MP3 format.
I found the process of downloading the eBooks very easy. In a matter of a few minutes I ordered, paid for, and received my curriculum, without ever leaving my desk. Over our high-speed Internet connection the eBooks downloaded in a matter of seconds. Even on a standard dial-up connection the downloads shouldn’t take too long. The check-out process on HomeSchoolEStore.com is very user-friendly. Purchases can be paid for with a coupon/gift certificate, most major credit cards, or PayPal. Files are then available for immediate download to your computer.
HomeSchoolEStore.com doesn’t actually write or produce their own curriculum. Instead, a variety of other publishers (many of whose names you would recognize) have agreed to make their curriculum available in electronic format, and HomeSchoolEStore.com basically serves as the distributor or vendor.
A caution here: Contrary to the common (though incorrect) belief that things you find online aren’t copyrighted, traditional copyright law applies to eCurriculum. Even though it might be tempting or seem harmless to share an eBook or other downloaded file with a friend, it’s still against the law. Also, although you can legally sell eCurriculum once you’re finished with it, there are certain legal requirements that must be met. I recommend contacting the HomeSchoolEStore.com customer service department if you want to sell your eCurriculum once you’re done using it.
HomeSchoolEStore.com offers a free download every week, sponsored by one of their member publishers. If you’re not sure that eCurriculum is for you, trying out one or two of these free downloads could be a great way to learn more about the concept. Plus, if you sign up for their e-newsletter when you create your account, you’ll receive a $5 credit for your next purchase.
In my opinion, there are both pros and cons of using eCurriculum. The main disadvantage to the eBook concept is the fact that you have to print off the pages on your own printer. Because of this I believe that eBooks can be a great alternative to reproducible books. I’m not sure that I would want to use them in place of non-reproducible books, so for those I think I would prefer to buy a traditional print book.
The biggest advantage of the whole eCurriculum concept is the speed. I received my curriculum immediately. No waiting for a shipment to arrive. No shipping charges. I just clicked, downloaded, and had my curriculum immediately. This could be a huge advantage when I suddenly realize, mid-term, that I forgot to order a book that my student needs right away.
Overall, I think HomeSchoolEStore.com can meet the needs of many homeschoolers by providing curriculum in a new, instantly available format. Will eCurriculum replace traditional print books? Probably not anytime soon, and quite honestly, I hope “traditional” curriculum never disappears! However, eCurriculum does offer certain unique benefits, and for this reason, it definitely does have a place in the modern homeschool community.
At a glance:
|Reviewed by Lori Deese|