Best Books for New Homeschoolers
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It’s the time of year when we welcome new homeschooling families to our ranks. They are eager to learn all they can about the homeschooling journey and make informed decisions about curriculum and philosophies. So I couldn’t pass up this chance to share my top four homeschooling books. Of all the ones I’ve read, these are the ones I keep on my shelf, return to time after time and remember long after I’ve set them down. Take a look. They may be just what you need too!
If you’ve already decided to homeschool, you may wonder why this book makes my must-have list. Quite simply, it’s because this book lays out balanced reasons for homeschooling. The author is a college professor and veteran homeschooler. She explains why she chose to homeschool her only son, what you can expect and the benefits of homeschooling. The book is well researched, and while new studies have come out about the effectiveness of homeschooling that were not include in this book, it’s still a compelling read. I let my mother-in-law read it, too, because I wanted her to understand our reasons for choosing this form of education. My belief is that if you can educate potential naysayers on why homeschooling works, family get-togethers will go more smoothly. Thankfully, she (and my own mother) have been very supportive. Great for Christian and secular homeschoolers.
There is so much to choose from that it’s nice to have a more experienced homeschooler point you in the right direction. That’s what Duffy does. But more than the list of recommended curriculum, I love the introductory chapters. Duffy explains the different types of learning styles in a simple, but effective, way. I especially loved the section in which Duffy asks readers to list their educational goals. You may think you already know your educational goals, but Duffy opens your mind to make you think of education differently and to consider more than academics. This alone changed the way I approached education. While Duffy is a Christian, I believe secular homeschoolers would still be comfortable reading this.
A lot of home educators dismiss using an established list of score and sequence. But for me, I like having a gage to see where my children fall and what the public standards are. This book takes you from preschool to 12th grade. Some reviewers admit to being overwhelmed by this book (the list for each grade is extensive), but Rupp acknowledges that every child moves at their own pace. Her lists are merely a guide. I return to this book often to get ideas and read recommendations for curriculum and real books. Great for Christian and secular homeschoolers.
Educating The WholeHearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson
This book began as a workshop and then became a book. It takes you from the basics of what the Bible says about training children, through the Clarksons’ own experiences and ends with their recommendations. The Clarksons have developed a Home-centered Learning Model, which they have broken into five study areas: discipleship (religion), disciplined (core), discussion (humanities), discovery (science) and discretionary (life skills). While their recommendations include curriculum, they also include teaching techniques. It’s those techniques that are especially helpful because they teach you how to think about each subject, and the list of subjects is extensive. The Clarksons lean toward a Charlotte Mason approach so you will find a great reliance on living books. The text is dense so be prepared for lots of copy, sidebars and very little white space. This can be bit overwhelming (at least initially), but you’ll be glad you made the effort. An updated version will be released this year (Fall 2010). I look forward to receiving the new version as the Clarksons have extensively revised the book and added 100 more pages. Great for Christian homeschoolers.
Do you have a book that was especially helpful to you as a new homeschooler? I’d love to hear about it. Let’s do all we can to help newbies be successful. Happy homeschooling, everyone!
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