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Book Review: Home Education Magazine’s The Homeschool Reader Series

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HomeschoolReaderSeriesBy Beth Balmanno

Fans of Home Education Magazine have reason to celebrate. The award-winning magazine recently published a collection of more than sixty articles from their early years in the book, The Homeschool Reader Series: Collected Articles from Home Education Magazine, 1995-1999. These timeless pieces inspired and motivated homeschool parents ten years ago and have proven to be just as relevant in today’s homeschool world.

The book is broken down into several categories including subjects such as starting out (homeschooling), socialization, and homeschooling teens, to more specific, subject-related academic topics like teaching writing, math, and science. A wide range of approaches and ideologies are present here. However, there is one common thread that unites this collection: an unfaltering commitment to homeschooling.

Every homeschooler will find an article they identify with in this treasure trove of personal stories. Consider “When Everything is a Mess” by Katje Sabin. A homeschooler laments her neighbor’s clean and orderly house as she surveys the half-finished art projects and science experiments liberally strewn across kitchen counters and table. She relays her frustration and feelings of inadequacy, as well as her futile attempts to attain that elusive model home atmosphere. But then a visitor tells her how much he loves her home, that, “You can tell people really live here.” (pg. 55). The epiphany follows soon after – that the remnants of a kitchen science experiment hold value, that finishing the last chapter of a can’t-put-it-down book is much more important than folded laundry, and that the army of ants marching across the kitchen floor can be a teachable moment rather than an instant call to insecticide arms.

“My Kids Won’t Let Me Teach” by Ann Leadbetter is another jewel in the book’s collection of essays. For homeschoolers like me, with kids who – like the title suggests – resist being taught, Ann gives us permission to let go of our fears, to not fixate on missing out on those “teachable moments.” Some homeschoolers do just fine with creating lesson plans and designing elaborate board games and lap books to fill their homeschool days. For the rest of us, she offers words of encouragement: trust your children. Answer their questions, provide experiences and materials, offer support and encouragement…but leave the rest to them. As she writes, “A child’s mind…is a delicate organism, one that can easily be suffocated or dulled by a constant barrage of information it isn’t ready or willing to absorb.” (pg. 65). Undoubtedly, this will be just the reassurance some homeschool parents need.

With more than thirty authors, readers will find perspectives that run the gamut: there are articles from structured homeschool families and words of wisdom from radical, free-range unschoolers alike. Whatever your homeschool style is, you will most certainly find something here that will inform, reassure, and, most of all, inspire you on your homeschool journey.

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5 Responses to “Book Review: Home Education Magazine’s The Homeschool Reader Series”

  1. Melissa says:

    Yes, please! 🙂

  2. Melissa says:

    Okay, so if you're moderating comments, forget the last one. I thought it was the November book giveaway. If you can get a copy, I think it would be a great one! 🙂

  3. Barbara says:

    Nicely written. I'll be looking for this book! Thanks!!

  4. Blair says:

    Great review! Sounds like it has something for everyone! I'll be checking it out!

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