Because his arguments are primarily ideological and timeless, Gregg Harris's The Christian Home Schoolremains an excellent defense of home education nearly a quarter century after its initial publication. He doesn't muster statistics, reference a bunch of now-out-of-print books (though there are a couple), or talk extensively about the future of the homeschool movement. Instead, he talks frankly about Christian parents' responsibility to educate their children rather than letting the state take care of everything.
And yes, he offers many reasons why the public school system is defunct and no longer (if it ever was) a suitable place for the instruction of Christian children. He talks about the biblical basis for the parent as teacher, the purpose of education to teach character in addition to academics, and dispels fears that readers may not be qualified to teach their kids. With a conversational style and rational arguments, Harris not only offers compelling reasons to home school, he assures parents that they not only can, but oughtto teach their own children at home.
One of the most common criticisms of homeschooling from outsiders is that it inhibits proper socialization. Harris is quick to point out that age-segregated social interaction is almost never a good idea, but especially when children are concerned—they simply pool their inexperience and foolishness and the resulting peer pressure is unhealthy in every way. He pursues this theme throughout the book, however, showing that education should not be preparation for life but life itself, and that homeschooling offers the kind of socialization and interaction needed for kids to develop legitimate life-skills.
Directed to those contemplating homeschooling, those critical of it, and to homeschool families getting bogged down or wanting a better philosophical foundation for their decision, The Christian Home Schoolhas been consistently cited as a key motivation for families to make the switch from government schools to home learning. With descriptions of a typical day in his own family's home school Harris makes his material relatable, but unlike many similar books that focus on the personal element of homeschooling, the benefit of this one lies in its cogent arguments.
Yet it's not just a manifesto or extended logical argument. The Christian Home Schoolhas achieved classic status among members of the modern homeschool movement largely for its dedication to the centrality of Christ in any Christian child's education, a focus impossible to achieve when that child is being indoctrinated in a state-run institution all day every day. The chapters on getting started with curriculum, for instance, are mostly exhortations to find materials that glorify God, a goal that Harris stresses mustbe the foundation of a successful Christian home school.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviewshere.
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