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Summer Reading - books for all ages.
Featured Resource

You've Decided to Homeschool, Now What?


You've Decided to Homeschool, Now What?

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Publisher: New Leaf Press

Author: Marsha Hubler

List Price: Softcover: $10.99

Ages: All Ages

Reviewed By: Virginia Jones

You've Decided to Homeschool, Now What? is a succinct, slim volume that takes you step-by-step through the answer to the title question. This book begs to be used, not just read through - with its blanks waiting to be filled in and its leading questions answered.

The author begins with the decision to homeschool, including a contract for the whole family to sign, a way to drive home the level of commitment if you're not to find yourselves putting your hand to the plow and then turning to look back, in a manner of speaking.

As you work your way through the book, you'll investigate the legal requirements for your state, put together a curriculum plan and schedule, figure out a filing system and how you'll keep a record of work done and progress made.

One of the helpful features included in the book is a general scope-and-sequence from five-year-old kindergarten through twelfth grade. The high school years give you three options for study: general, business, and academic (or college prep). It's a starting point, at least, for planning when you don't have the faintest idea of what you're doing! (Yet) Another bonus chapter tells you how to form your own homeschool support group. Having just gone through the process of helping define a mission statement and revise the bylaws for our local support group, I found this chapter to be solidly written and full of good advice.

The chapter on "Setting Up Your Homeschool Program" does a good job of handholding, with its checklists, milestones, and goal dates (i.e. "Tasks to complete in June before you start to homeschool"). The list is perhaps a little more rigorous than would be needed in states without onerous homeschool regulations, and some of the steps seem to me to be superfluous and heavily weighted toward "school at home" or reproducing the school model at home by using the textbook method of homeschooling. The author does briefly mention "Unschooling" and refers the reader to a website for further information; she also gives a thumbnail description of the Unit Study method of homeschooling. Conventional (textbook), Unit Study, and Unschooling are the only homeschooling methods mentioned, and the resource list for curriculum is weighted towards textbook publishers. I would urge new homeschoolers to read widely about homeschooling before deciding what method to pursue, rather than considering this very short "short list," and happily the author has listed a number of excellent books in her chapter of "Helpful Resources for Parents."

In addition, the author includes a sample affidavit to be filed with the government school system. This sample is from Pennsylvania, which seems to have much more restrictive laws than my own state. If I were you, I'd check out my own state regulations and provide no more and no less information than my state requires.

Other things I appreciate about this book: a sample high-school transcript, the aforementioned checklists and blanks to fill in with information as you find it out: your state's homeschooling regulations, your family's commitment, a place to note field trips, another for achievements and awards, lots of room for notes and things to think about as you're setting up your program. Of course, this book is meant to be a jumping-off place; the forms in the book are enough to get you started, and it's a good way to keep all your jottings in one place as you embark on the grand adventure. I also appreciated the discussion of cyber-schools; the author acknowledges their existence, but frankly states that students enrolled in government-sponsored cyber schools are not home educators, but counted among the ranks of public school students, and subject to the same government control and regulation as those attending brick-and-mortar schools. Since this book is aimed at Christian homeschoolers, it's good food for thought to note that the Bible and its Author are left out of government school programs.

The author makes a good point in saying that organization is an intrinsic part to homeschooling success, and in this book she's provided some helpful organizational tools for the new homeschooling family.
More Information
Available From: New Leaf Publishing Group
Other Notes:
Purchase Now From the Eclectic Homeschool Resource Center
Virginia Jones
Virginia Jones hails from a small town in the Midwest, where "Nothing ever happens, thankfully!" Her family's interests include horseback riding, cross-country skiing, swimming, and, when they can manage to sit still, reading.
Copyright © 2008 Eclectic Homeschool Association
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