Thursday, March 25, 2010

Homeschooling for the Rest of Us

Homeschooling for the Rest of Us by Sonya Haskins was such a breath of fresh air. The subtitle of this book is How Your One-of-a-Kind Family Can Make Homeschooling and Real Life Work. As a former homeschooler flunkee I would be lying if I said I'm not a tad bit anxious about sticking my toe back in the water. But after reading this book I realize that my standards were way too high and I was trying to imitate an institutional setting instead of what works for my family.
Haskins, also the author of The Homeschoolers Book of Lists, covers nearly every topic a new or potential homeschooler can think of, including pressure and perfection, relationships, socialization, routines and schedules (or not!), extracurricular activities, academics, nurturing your child's heart, housework and chores, dealing with relatives, budgets, and special needs. She also offers intervention for run on sentences (kidding).
When Bethany House asked me to review this book I thought it would be another guilt-inducing, unrealistic view of homeschooling like other books I have read in the past. But when I read that the author utilizes a relaxed form of homeschooling in her own home I was immediately interested. For me, the crux of a good book is if I read little snippets to Mr. Steady and I found myself bookmarking page after page of this book to share with him.
I absolutely love (and at the same time am scared to death of) the idea of placing the burden of responsibility of learning on the child's shoulders.
"Too many parents waste time arguing with their children, threatening them,
begging them to do their schoolwork. Instead, talk with your child and
discuss his goals - short and long term. Determine the best ways to
accomplish those goals, making sure you have the appropriate resources....If he
is not willing to do this work, tell him that is his choice, but he also cannot
enjoy free time until he has done whatever it is that you have assigned."
I recently came to this realization on my own and had two enlightening conversations with The Thinker. We were repeatedly struggling in one area and finally I said "On a scale of 1-10 how important is this to you?" He rated it at a 5 and so I relinquished it. If it's not important to him it's not worth pushing him and arguing over it.
The author really focuses on building relationships with your children and helping your child learn life skills. She also includes a great list of age-appropriate chores.
I think I just needed some permission to relax a little and enjoy this little side road God has asked me to travel with him so He dropped it into my lap. It certainly has changed the way I view the immediate future. I hope you'll pick up a copy of Homeschooling for the Rest of Us.

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