How To Home School

How To Home School

A Practical Approach

by Gayle Graham
Publisher: Common Sense Press
Perfectbound, 180 pages
List Price: $20.00 Our Price: $14.00

Gayle Graham's book really actually teaches you How to Home School. But not just how to teach the subjects (that's part of it)—she discusses every practical concern mothers worry about, including how to balance homework and housework, creating efficient (and doable) weekly and daily schedules, establishing godly character in the kiddos, and not going insane.

Assuming mothers will be shouldering the bulk of the home school burden, Graham addresses the book to them, with occasional references to the role of fathers. Her approach is good since it keeps her to topics she's familiar with—she shows mothers what works, she doesn't tell fathers what to do. A strong Christian worldview undergirds the entire text, the author making frequent reference to character-building and possible home-based ministry and missions opportunities.

While she was a public school teacher before teaching her own daughters, Graham says she learned everything she knows about education from home schooling. The three basics—reading, writing and arithmetic—she covers in detail, encouraging parents to teach reading through phonics and by taking every opportunity to help kids practice their growing skill. Reading is the basis of a good education, she affirms, and must be taken seriously but shouldn't be presented in any way as a drudgery.

Writing and math are to be taught as practically as possible. A variety of daily situations, from scribbling out a grocery list to measuring ingredients in a recipe, are excellent occasions for having kids practice both skills. But they also need formal instruction, and Graham offers several suggestions and milestones to keep in mind so that your children are learning what they're supposed to at the right time.

She makes a strong case for unit studies, demonstrating how science and social studies can be integrated with the "three R's" to form a single coherent curriculum that reaches across grade levels. While many have showed the weaknesses of unit studies (too much emphasis on creativity and not enough on facts, for example), Graham seems to take many of these into account in her presentation, emphasizing the importance of keeping subjects distinct even while bringing them together.

An appendix offers resources and advice for choosing the right curriculum, another covers the often frightening subject of standardized testing, and a third provides copy masters for making your own planner pages, study charts, etc. Graham is conscientious about not including a bunch of dated resources (even though the book itself is 20 years old), and most of them are still in print or readily available.

It wouldn't have been a stretch to name this something like The Beginning Home School Bible. The author doesn't spend a lot of time trying to tell you why you ought to homeschool (there's one chapter, and it's highly practical, mostly covering different learning styles), she just jumps in showing you how it's done. Filled with personal stories, highly readable and more informative than many books twice its size, How to Home Schoolis one of the best purchases beginning (and veteran) homeschool parents can make.

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 reviews here.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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Exodus Rating
Summary: A concise, step-by-step guide to home schooling which favors the practical over the merely theoretical.

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  How to Homeschool (a Practical Approach)
Albanyaloe of South Africa, 12/30/2011
This is truly one of the best and most practical books that I have read about homeschooling basics. After homeschooling for several years, I regret that I did not own this book from the start. This book can prevent a lot of frustration for the new homeschool Mom, and if you are just starting out, or struggling with issues in your homeschool, I whole heartedly recommend it. It's a practical collection of how-to's by a vetreran who understands homeschool families.
The book starts with a short section on reasons for homeschooling, and it is a refreshing and encouraging read. Gayle Graham, the author, advises that we write down our reasons and goals in homeschooling. Scripture is scattered throughout and she directs us back to seeking God's Word for our family. Her writing style is friendly and easy to read. Then Gayle offers her practical, and easily do-able plan for organising your home and school. She takes you step by step through setting goals, making managment notebooks and planning for success. What struck me was the simplicity of her methods! There are reproducible forms in the back of the book, to assist you in setting up your notebook. This is not a cumbersome tool, as I have seen other writers suggest, it is trim and keeps paperwork to a minimum.
In Section Two, the subjects of Reading and Writing are discussed, and again the tips and suggestions are very practical.
The final section of the book covers pulling it all together, with the unit study method and also the subject of Math.
The book is in softcover format. With it's slightly wider than average pages, it lies open easily and has wide blank margins, leaving you lots of space for jotting down your own notes.
"How to Homeschool" leaves a homeschool Mom feeling refreshed to conquer homeschooling again.