Eclectic Homeschool Online Praises Details in Homeschool Book

The title of this book is a misnomer: This book is not just a valuable, encouraging resource for families with more than one child. Yes, there are many practical suggestions and tips for families with a number of children, but much of the information applies whether you have one child or ten (or more!), and I found suggestions here that were helpful to me, even though we've homeschooled for more than a decade. (Can it really be that long? Yes, difficult as it is to believe. How quickly the years go!)

The author uses her own homeschooling experience and propensity for list-making, along with information from interviewing other home educators with three or more children. She often inserts their comments along the way so that, reading the book, you feel almost as if you're in a group discussion over coffee with other moms who are in the same boat you've been trying to paddle (upstream, of course).

The book is written concisely; there are no wasted words, and yet the points made are clearly laid out. Beginning with the "nuts and bolts" of getting started, the author lays out a step-by-step process: reviewing your reasons for homeschooling, learning the legalities, finding support, choosing curriculum, and finding and using resources are covered very briefly.

After this material, aimed more at beginning homeschoolers, come chapters that could benefit any homeschooler, especially those who are struggling with burnout (later in the book is a chapter dealing specifically with burnout, too), those for whom "it's just not working" or "I know there's got to be an easier way." Record-keeping, tailoring curriculum to individual children, working within a budget, and storage and supplies are addressed.

Next the author deals with the practicalities of learning at home: applying "secrets of the one-room schoolhouse" (such things as multi-level teaching, carving out individual time with students, encouraging independent study, older children helping younger), scheduling, homeschooling "with little ones underfoot" (this is often the most popular topic at our homeschool group's moms' meetings), and managing housework. (I know a few homeschool moms with immaculate homes. I still don't know how they do it.)

Several chapters deal with different age groups: the afore-mentioned toddlers and preschoolers ("underfoot"), elementary and middle schoolers, and junior high and high schoolers. Each of these chapters addresses particular issues to be found in each age group, from toddler-proofing your house and including little ones in school time, to keeping focused and avoiding busy-work, to college preparation and part-time jobs.

Three more very helpful chapters targeting specific areas of concern are: one chapter directed at single and working parents, another discussing motivation and preventing burnout, and handling socialization. But just listing the chapter topics hardly does the book justice... The chapter on burnout, for example, addresses such hot topics (hot around here, anyhow) as sibling rivalry, discipline, and consequences. I never really thought about it before reading this book, but yes, contention is a large part of the frustration this particular homeschooling mom deals with. When the children are sniping at each other and there's no peace in the house, either I lose my temper and join the fight or I feel like throwing in the towel. I found the simple tips on dealing with and preventing sibling rivalry very helpful! As well as the tips on scheduling, tailoring curriculum, and housework-three other areas I struggle in. Also... well, I could list practically the whole book.

Rounding out the book is a bibliography that contains many URLs for Internet-based articles, related to the wealth of material covered in the chapters, and an index for quick reference. You may either read the book from cover-to-cover, or look up a particular area that's giving you trouble.

Whichever way you approach this book, I assure you, you'll find encouragement and practical information that you can at once put to good use.

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