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There are a number of important inclusions for a book that claims to be a guide to home school teaching methods. Fortunately, this one delivers. In a lively, conversational tone, the author considers reasons for homeschooling, different homeschooling methods, family and individual factors such as personality and learning styles, schedules, and putting it all together into a workable plan. Peppered with experiences from her own family and many others she interviewed, the result is an enjoyable read, a practical how-to handbook, and an inspirational and motivational journey into the depths of homeschooling.
Don't think that Ms. King-Christison has produced a book just like all the others, though. She goes places others have not. For instance, while Waldorf and Montessori education are sometimes mentioned in terms of homeschooling, this book gives a thorough examination of these two methodologies and even contrasts them. When covering learning styles, she also delves into multiple intelligences and shows their relationship to homeschooling. While recognizing the existence of faith-based reasons for homeschooling, she maintains that homeschooling is more about promoting core values alongside the other reasons (avoiding standardized education, providing a challenging and dynamic environment, and managing special needs and developmental issues). And, for the record, the author does make reference to her faith and to the faith-based orientation of some homeschooling approaches, but these references are not exclusively Christian.
The author's assessment of educational methods and approaches is one of the most succinct, yet information-full that I've seen. For each method – and she covers Montessori, Waldorf, Trivium, Charlotte Mason, and Unschooling in depth – she looks at its history (how it came to be), guiding principles (the heart and soul of a method), defining characteristics (tell-tale signs), what the critics say (and why you should listen), the homeschool spin (how it might look in your home), activities (tips to try and home), and ideal for…(families that are a best match). Her thorough coverage provides some valuable angles of perspective.
Resources include booklists, online resources, and a whole collection of planning worksheets that you can either reproduce from the reduced copies in the book or download printable pdf versions of from the publisher's website.
This book will get you started well in homeschooling – or give you a shot in the arm if you're a bogged-down veteran. Pick it up and take a look. You'll be glad you did. 297 pgs, pb. ~ Janice