Likening her own family's homeschooling experiences to the journey of pioneers on the Oregon Trail, Diana Waring leads you through the initial steps of educating your own children. In some ways a proponent of the Charlotte Mason method (particularly as espoused by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay in For the Children's Sake), Waring stresses that children will enjoy learning when they're given interesting things to learn about and interesting books to read. She begins by assuring readers they can homeschool, and helping them find the education structure their kids need.
Every child learns differently, but every teacher also teaches differently, and Waring enters this discussion as a mother of kids with different strengths who has had to learn to adapt her teaching methods to suit each one. The "Our Journal" sections of each chapter offer real-life examples, as the particular experiences of the Waring family are described. This adds a personal element that doesn't ignore the theoretical aspects, but applies them to an actual situation and shows parents how they work practically.
Waring covers the gamut of topics: how to teach multiple levels simultaneously, how to teach subjects you feel less than capable in yourself, progress evaluation, etc. A list of recommended resources at the end of each chapter helps readers explore topics more deeply. While she's no Dickens, Waring employs a lighthearted conversational style that ably engages readers and takes the typical drudgery out of reading about educational philosophies, curriculum, and the unforeseen difficulties of teaching kids at home.
Perhaps the best section of Beyond Survival (though admittedly not the most immediately practical) is the last one in which Waring discusses the opportunities for improved family life and ministry homeschooling offers. The chapter "Blow Up the TV!" is particularly fun and insightful, but others talk about reaching out to neighbors, building a rich family culture and tradition, and working to develop relationships within the family itself. With charming openness and excellent insight, Beyond Survival is an excellent guide to homeschooling from a veteran's perspective for newcomers and the battle-scarred alike.
Part One: The Preparation
1. Education Redefined
2. The Blueprint
3. The Tools
4. The Materials
5. Surviving Your First Homeschool Convention
Part Two: The Journey
6. Different Strokes for Different Folks
7. Mom Is My Teacher!
8. The One-Room Schoolhouse
9. If I Can't Draw a Stick Man, How do I Teach Art?
10. Evaluation: testing Your Progress
Part Three: The Abundance
11. Serve the Lord with Gladness!
12. Blow Up the TV!
13. Creating an Atmosphere Or, Beauty and the Best
14. Forever Family Friendships