Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What's in a Name? (TOS Crew Review)

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I received Debra Bell's The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling from Apologia Educational Ministries last month to read and review for the 2009-2010 The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. The first thing I can say is that it is APTLY NAMED. This is THE ultimate guide.... Seriously. I wonder how I lived through the past 2 years of homeschooling without the encouragement and truths found in this one book.  Not to mention, some of those niggling feelings over the course of our homeschooling journey thus far are explained and validated by Ms. Bell:

  •  not stressing about housekeeping (if I am cleaning my house, I'm not teaching; if I'm teaching, I'm not cleaning - it's an unending cycle)
  •  redesign your homeschool as needed (when I see something isn't working for one of my children, I want to throw it out and do it a different way)
  •  allow clutter in the living areas (yes, the environment sometimes needs tidying, but should I banish all books/magazines/crayons/critter keepers from the living space so guests don't see the disaster we call "home?")
  •  have a plan: what are you going to strive for? what will you teach? how will you teach it? how long do you want to spend on it? (I am terrible at sticking to a plan, but I have been feeling the need to have one)

There is so much more in the book: understanding your children's learning styles (and yours!!) beyond Auditory/Kinesthetic/Visual labels; knowing which resources to make use of with wild abandon (I've already tapped some of her recommended resources, and we are LOVING our new Moody Science Videos!!); program recommendations (I can't wait to try some of her suggestions); schedule and budget tips; as well as what to consider (both positive AND negative) about homeschooling before you decide (or even in the midst of homeschooling, as a great reminder).  PLUS MORE.

This book is really an invaluable resource, and though much of what she asks me to consider before homeschooling is not in the cards for us right now, it explains why this is sometimes a stressful choice.  Plus, I now understand why homeschooling is difficult for me and seems to be easier for some.  I HIGHLY recommend this book for homeschoolers.  Many of my Crew Mates have even said it was great for "seasoned veteran" homeschoolers.  Check out their reviews here.

*Disclaimer: I received this book for free with the understanding that I would read and review it.  This review is my honest opinion, and I have not been compensated for it in any way.

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