Wow! If a book ever hit home, it was this one. Help for the Harried Homeschooler really is just what the title suggests: help. This is one of those books where the introduction is as important as the chapters because it speaks to why you homeschool and when to begin. It ends the introduction with "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Galatians 6:9.
Christine Field truly spoke to my heart with this book. She more than captured my attention and held it throughout. She had one especially interesting thing to say that made me stop and think: "We're Mom Multiplied: mother, teacher, disciplinarian, wife, hostess, cook, maid, laundress, prayer warrior, social director, church member, consumer, banker, bookkeeper, nurse, storyteller, community member and more. At the same time we're individuals with needs, desires, and dreams of our own." (Whew, that explains why I get so tired sometimes.) She also sifts character training throughout the entire book and includes scripture quotes in several places.
Within each chapter, there are "mini-chapters" to break the topic down even further. And after each chapter, Field includes a practical way to apply what you have just read, along with reminders you can use. There are different topics covered throughout the book and they are so varied that I decided I'd like to give you a list of the chapter titles and their subtitles:
PART I: HOMESCHOOL BASICS
Balance (The Key to Homeschool Sanity)
Chaos Control (Getting and Staying Organized)
Discipline (Train Up a Child)
PART II: IN THE HOMESCHOOL CLASSROOM
Structure vs. Freedom (The Great Homeschooling Debate)
Too Much of a Good Thing (Making Curriculum Choices)
Beyond Academics (Character and Life Skills Training)
The One-Room Schoolhouse All Over Again (Teaching Multiple Ages)
Evaluation (Setting and Meeting Standards in Your Homeschool)
PART III: FAMILY ISSUES AND THE HOMESCHOOL
The Family Circus (Quibbling Siblings and Tireless Toddlers)
What's a Daddy to Do? (The Impact of Homeschooling on Your Marriage)
Sane Socialization (School Ties vs. Family Ties)
PART IV: PERSONAL ISSUES AND THE HOMESCHOOL
When Your World Falls Apart (Homeschooling Through Crisis)
"You're Going to Ruin Those Kids" (Dealing with Disapproval)
To Walk and Not Grow Weary (Handling Discouragement)
New Life in the Valley of Dry Bones (Learning from Burnout)
(Afterword (sic): The rewards of Homeschooling)
As I read through this book, I used a highlighter (always have a few differently colored highlighters on hand for "guide" books). Almost every page has something marked, but due to the book’s organization, the marks are merely extra helps. Because of the way it is set up, I am able to go straight to the area I need and find Mrs. Field's suggestions. I loved this book and think everyone who homeschools can benefit from this book. I know I have.
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