Valerie Steimle has pulled together inputs from a number of homeschooling moms (including herself) to come up with a package of encouragement, words of wisdom, and practical suggestions to inspire homeschooling moms to "keep on keeping on." Beginning with her own journey from public school to homeschool, she continues with a brief introduction to homeschooling, including one famous example of homeschooling success, common characteristics of homeschoolers, a thumbnail description of differing homeschool methods (Traditional Textbook, Classical, Unit Study, Living Books, Principle Approach, Unschooling, and Eclectic), state laws (as of the writing of the book), and curriculum. I loved her tips on going to a curriculum fair for the first time.
I was nodding as I read through the book, and kept getting that "been there, done that" feeling as the author described attitudes towards education and the "conditioning" that takes place in the classroom. There's repetition of this theme in some of the guest authors' contributions, as well. The book is divided by author rather than by topic, and so you get the effect of listening in on homeschooling conversations, rather than reading a "how-to" text. Thus you have to read through the book to find out how one passive learner was "deschooled" after coming out of institutional school, and regained her curiosity and love of learning in time. There's no separate chapter on dealing with household responsibilities, or homeschooling teens; no neat division between teaching reading and "delight-directed" learning.
This is certainly an eclectic gathering of homeschoolers! You'll find someone using the traditional textbook method, an unschooler, an eclectic homeschooler... You'll read about families dealing with varying learning styles, wiggly children with attention "issues," dyslexia, and health challenges. You'll see a variety of faith backgrounds, living styles, family situations, approaches to learning, and philosophies. Some of the authors are clearly Christian in the way they view things and write about their situations, but not all.
I must say with regret that I am sensitive to grammar and punctuation, and find these a bother, especially in self-published books. However, there is so much good information, encouragement, and food for thought in Home Is Where the Learning Is that I found myself shoving aside that "critical eye" as I read. Very interesting to me was the information on how teens learn to communicate as adults, how to deal with (or avoid) burnout, and how to deal with (as one mom put it) the "hard-to-teach." Yes, I have been-there-done-that. Perhaps it would be better to say I am-there-doing-that with our wiggly, hands-on youngest!
The book concludes with a chapter of homeschool resources: books, magazines, websites, and curriculum sources. I noticed at least a couple of mistakes in URLs. You might want to "google" titles like Homeschooling Fun and Homeschooling Today to get the right websites.
There's lots to glean from, if you're an experienced homeschooler, and much encouragement for the beginner, along with food for thought and a challenge to examine just why you're homeschooling, so that you don't find yourself, when things are difficult, throwing up your hands and threatening to put the children back in public school. That may seem the easy way out, but really, it's not. Keep your eye on the goal, and seek encouragement from other moms who have struggled through some of the same issues you're facing, and perhaps worse. In other words, find a quiet moment (get Dad to take your little ones to the park), pour a cup of tea, sit down and read books like Home Is Where the Learning Is. Such a respite can help you find your focus again.
Also available as a downloadable e-book for $6.95.