I really enjoyed this book. I checked it out from the library because I was hoping it would give me some good leads as to curriculum for home schooling my kindergartener this fall and it gave me so much more!
It’s interesting that before even giving much thought to homeschooling I knew many things I wanted to do: Teach reading phonetically, do drill and kill with necessary skills (grammar/math facts), and have little to no text books. Reading this book helped me to get down some of the lingo. If you don’t want to use text books, then you prefer “real books.” She explains the different approaches to home schooling including Charlotte Mason, classical, unschooling (child-lead), unit studies, etc. For someone new to the world of home schooling this section was extremely helpful.
Then she asks a series of questions and you basically cross out the row if you don’t agree with the statement. In the end, this little quiz helps you better understand what educational philosophy you line up with. Mine ended up being classical and eclectic. I kind of laughed at this, but it totally makes sense to me. More than likely, I will be using a classical approach with language arts and math, and then use a more eclectic (pick and choose) for other subjects and enhancing reading. That’s me the one time dance and math major.
Once she helps you narrow down what philosophy you line up with she helps you decide what type of learner your child is: Wiggly Willy, Social Susan, Perfect Paula and Competent Carl. This is also helpful in narrowing down the types of curriculum your child will learn best with. With my son being four, I was unable to pinpoint his learning style, but I’m sure as we grow through the next few years it will become more apparent and this will become even more valuable.
Finally, after arming you with all that info, she lists her top 100 curriculum breaking it down by subjects and then rating them in the different categories, such as the learning styles, educational philosophy, time investment, teacher edition helps, etc. helping me to further decide which of the top 100 picks fits my family best.
While I think this book would really be helpful to the seasoned home schooler (even just to skip to the chart) it is a MUST READ for those starting off and not knowing where to begin. My decisions, as of now, are Alphaphonics for reading adding in Bob Books (John was super ready to read, so I went ahead and jumped right in). I haven’t decided what to do for math, but this next year I’m hoping to focus on reading, writing skills, and math: counting, telling time, and simple addition and subtraction. Moving at whatever speed seems necessary for him. We already are doing Bible verse/Catechism memory and Bible reading, but will probably do more Bible stuff. Otherwise, I will probably wait to add on the other subjects (officially) until he is in first grade.
Crossing fingers that a friend of mine and I can work something out and work together. She joked that she could do art and I could do reading and math, but that sounded good to me! 🙂