The Everything Guide To Homeschooling: All You Need To Create The Best Curriculum And Learning Environment For Your Child, by Sherri Linsenbach
Admittedly, I am not the ideal audience for this book. I do not have any children nor do I at present have any direct involvement in the ordinary education of anyone else’s children. That said, while I went to public school growing up, the idea of homeschooling in the future is of great appeal, and I think it is worthwhile to study even those areas that are not of immediate relevance. Given my general mistrust of the public school system and my own experiences there as well as my belief that children would do better away from the prison-like atmosphere of contemporary schools and the indoctrination of contemporary educators, homeschooling is appealing even if it involves a substantial amount of work. The popularity of this book and others like it is an indication of the popularity of homeschooling in a world where such suspicion as I have of the public education system and its flaws has become increasingly widespread. This book may not include everything one may want to know about homeschooling, but it is a great resource for those who are thinking about adopting such a step and want to know the logistics involved.
This book is about 300 pages and is divided into twenty-four chapters. The book begins with a discussion of the top ten benefits of homeschooling and an introduction. After that there is a look at home education expectations that encourages parents about its feasibility (1) and a discussion of various learning styles and teaching methods that vary across children and parents (2). There is a discussion on the legal issues of homeschooling (3) and various approaches that range from virtual schools to unschooling (4). The author spends some time talking about socialization (5) and understanding unschooling and unit studies (6) as well as fun learning activities (7). There is a discussion of frugal homeschooling options (8), choosing curriculum (9), and common core standards (10). The author talks about scheduling (11), record keeping (12), organizing one’s homeschool (13), and dealing with typical and atypical days (14). The next set of chapters then looks at the size of one’s homeschool (15) as well as the single-parent (16) and working parent (17) homeschools. The author then discusses homeschooling in the early years (18), elementary years (19), middle years (20), and teen years (21). The book then ends with a discussion of special needs children (22), avoiding burnout (23) for veteran parents, and college and beyond (24), as well as three appendices that provide resources (i), curriculum programs (ii), and national homeschooling organizations (iii), as well as an index.
What is particularly admirable about this book is that it does not assume a specific reason that someone may want to do homeschooling, nor does it assume that a parent would want to use a specific approach. Indeed, the author’s unwillingness to promote a one-size fits all and the discussion of the importance of both parents (if possible) working with children for their education as well as the importance of being sensitive to how a child learns best is a refreshing one that ought to prompt the thinking of parents about such matters. The author is comforting and encouraging throughout about the competence of parents to educate children and to gain resources that can teach areas where the parent may not have any particular expertise. The encouragement of unit studies as a way of overcoming the segmentation and specialization of much of contemporary education as well as the encouragement of unschooling as a way to tailor education to the interests and passions of children–assuming that they have passions that can be channeled to reading and research–is definitely welcome as well. The book certainly gave me some ideas as to what would be necessary to homeschool and some encouragement that it would not be so difficult to manage as a person who finds self-education compelling personally.