This is the best single-volume homeschooling resource we've seen. Not only has Debra Bell done her research, she's successfully educated four (now adult) children at home and implemented many of the suggestions included in these pages. Intended for use by beginning homeschool families, there are few but the most practiced veterans who won't find plenty of useful information.
Bell starts from the beginning, helping parents form a vision for their kids' education, outlining the advantages of homeschooling, honestly dealing with the challenges of home instruction, and addressing a number of other concerns, like what to do if you're a single parent or your children are special needs students. She encourages doubters to carefully weigh the pros and cons, and to at least make a one-year commitment before abandoning homeschooling.
Once past the initial stage, parents (and this is written primarily to moms) are guided through the process of choosing curriculum, organizing and planning, staving off burnout, and measuring success. The longest section discusses how to teach each subject, offering both the author's experiences and topical research. A special section deals with the use of computers, while another discusses how to start your toddlers' education.
For beginning or struggling homeschoolers, one of the best uses of The Ultimate Guide to Homeschoolingis as a resource. The final section is even called a "resource guide," and contains 62 pages of homeschool organizations, recommended suppliers, periodicals, academic and athletic contests, etc. But there are plenty of other publishers, books, authors and catalogs throughout.
Writing from a Christian perspective, Bell doesn't hesitate to make her opinion known, though it's never in a rude or overbearing way. For instance, while she acknowledges that some mothers may not want to give up their careers, she suggests the real work for wives and mothers is in the home, while admitting that she had a career mindset when she and her husband initially began teaching their children.
This isn't simply an impersonal compendium of information. It's filled with stories, both of the Bells' experiences and those of others, and the author's warm style adds a personal element that will appeal to many readers. Her consistent honesty also lends a sense of trustworthiness many unfamiliar with homeschooling will be looking for. Clearly destined to become a standard, The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling lives up to its title.
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
Did you find this review helpful?