Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Review: The Old Schoolhouse Digital Subscription

Wow, wow, WOW! I absolutely love this new way of reading The Old Schoolhouse Magazine!

Now that there’s no mistaking how I feel, I’ll tell you why!

The Old Schoolhouse (TOS) has been my favorite homeschooling magazine for the past 3 years. There is absolutely no other publication that focuses on home education that can compete with this one! TOS is a beautiful, full color publication that is released quarterly and is jam-packed with informational articles, homeschooling news and legal issues, unit studies and lesson plans, art projects, interviews, product reviews, field trips and contests, sample student work, and even a section with all-natural recipes, tips, and information for your home!

Besides being informative and interesting, the layout of the magazine is about as aesthetically pleasing at it could get. The colors are vibrant and there are photos on every page! The articles are entertaining and easy to read. The contributors are homeschoolers just like you and me who really understand the ins and outs of home education. Each issue is about 200 pages long and way more valuable than the cost of the subscription! I always read it cover to cover when it arrives!

One of my favorite things about TOS is that they feature a one-room schoolhouse on the cover of each issue and they include a page in the beginning of the magazine about the schoolhouse and where it's located. The history surrounding these old schools is enough to peak my interest and I love learning about each one!

Thinking that The Old Schoolhouse couldn’t get any better was my first mistake…it didn’t just get better when the digital version was introduced…it got A LOT better!

I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first. I really love getting my new issue in the mail! I love sitting down with a cup of coffee after everyone else goes to bed and reading it, page by page, soaking in all of the great information, marking sections I want to come back to, and circling products I want to check out with my big red marker. An online version just didn’t sound like it would fit the bill.

Boy, was I ever pleasantly surprised when that first digital issue downloaded and I sat looking at the cover on my computer screen…exactly like if I was holding it in my hands. Then, I pushed the arrow button to turn to the first page and the cover on my screen “flipped”, just like it would if I was physically turning the page. The screen didn’t have to re-load or anything, there was no waiting, it just turned to the next page…and the pages are exactly the same as in the physical magazine! How fun!

The digital version features a toolbar at the top of the page where you can: pull up the contents and quickly click over to any section, see thumbnail views of each page, search for keywords within the publication, set preferences for how you want to view the pages, view the archives, and there is even a “share” tool where you can quickly link to an article or share it with a friend! You can even download an offline version so you don’t have to be online to read it!

I love that I can load the magazine and read it while I’m doing other things online. I can also access it from any other computer, like I did when I went out of town last weekend and was able to read it at the local library. Not to mention that it’s cheaper than the paper version and doesn’t add any additional “clutter” to my already overflowing bookshelves!

The folks over at TOS have really outdone themselves with this technology and I have a feeling other publications will be following in their footsteps. I highly recommend this digital version of the magazine and hope you’ll check it out over at The Old Schoolhouse website!

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