My Summer Reading List!

I used part of my summer to catch up on some books that I’ve wanted to check out from the library for a while. If you’re interested in home-schooling, then here’s an overview of a selection of books you might find!

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The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling ~ Debra Bell 

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

The format of this book was confusing, with so many separated thoughts (in the physical layout) divided into sections and subsections that it was a bit difficult to follow. The perspective is written from a distinctly Christian point of view, which doesn’t bother me, but home-schoolers of different faiths would find it unhelpful. The authors also assume that you will be home-schooling your child in a traditional format, with curriculum, a planned schedule, and a lot of structure, which may not work for all families.

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Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs ~ Ellen Galinsky 

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

While not written particularly for home-schoolers, this book details the importance of helping children learn important life skills early. The skills are: focus and self-control, perspective taking, communicating, making connections, critical thinking, taking on challenges, and self-directed, engaged learning. I found it difficult to wade through some of the heavy worded chapters (it gets a bit tedious in places), yet the overall message was good. It is a bit overwhelming to read as a mother of a young child, though, since now I feel like every situation with my fourteen month old daughter needs to be geared towards her learning a vital skill for her mental development! I definitely think that children are capable of learning many life lessons on their own over the course of their years, without the constant poking and prodding of adults or teachers.

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 Homeschooling: A Patchwork of Days – Share a Day with 30 Homeschooling Families ~ Nancy Lande, with 30 Families 

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I LOVED this book! A beautiful message that there is no one perfect method of learning at home. Here’s part of the forward, written by Susan Richman:  “Probably all home-schoolers wish they could just take a peek into other home-schooling families’ days. How do they do things? How do they move through the day? How do they organize themselves? (Or, is anyone else disorganized like me sometimes?) … The chance to really see what happens on a real day at someone else’s home- that’s something we all can only long for. Nancy Lande’s wonderful collection of real days from home-schooling families of all stripes can give us that opportunity. And the title is really apt, as this spectrum of days is almost a crazy quilt of different home-schooling styles and strategies.”

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The Basic Steps to Successful Homeschooling ~ Vicki A. Brady 

Rating: ♥ ♥

This seemed mostly like a personal documentation of how one particular woman made home-schooling work for her own family. It was well-written, from a gentle, sweet perspective, but I didn’t find it to be very useful simply because I believe that every family needs to be shown many options when it comes to planning your individual child’s educational path, rather than being told to follow the traditional, hierarchical format. It would be easy to read her words and be overwhelmed by the amount of to-do’s that the home-school family “should” accomplish.

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Trust the Children – An Activity Guide for Homeschooling and Alternative Learning ~ Anna Kealoha 

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This is one book that I would like to purchase for my own library in a few years! The author gives great outlines and thoughts for those who are considering the option of home-schooling or hoping to better help their children learn at home. Much of the book consists of “a treasure trove of activities… in a truly comprehensive range of subjects including music, math, language, logic, history, creative thinking, computer skills, earth sciences, outer space, and inner grace.” The section on the “inner world” was definitely not my cup of tea, mostly because it treated all forms of religious thinking as equally valid, which is not my belief. The “mystical parenting” sections were a little hippyish as well, but they weren’t written in a superior or over-bearing tone. By and large, I would recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a more creative path to guide their children into learning!

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The Homeschooling Handbook ~ Mary Griffith 

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

As the cover of the book says, it is “from preschool to high school, a parent’s guide to: making the decisions, getting started, discovering your child’s learning style, finding resources and materials, creating an effective study program, and much, much more!” If I was going to recommend one single book to a person thinking about home-schooling, just getting started with home-schooling, or hoping to expand their knowledge and options of home-schooling, then this book would be the one I’d give. One of the best parts about this already well-written, concise book is that it provides many parents’ perspectives from their own words. For example, when the topic is socialization, the author doesn’t just write about it; she brings in eight different parents’ voices who describe just what socialization means for their family. This book describes almost every subject that could possibly come up in the home-schooling world while at the same time speaking to a wide range of home-schooling styles. Highly recommended!

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