Thursday, January 28, 2010

TOS Crew: Apologia- The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling

When I first started homeschooling, I did so much research into everything I could; I searched online intensively, I talked to other homeschoolers, and I went to local bookstores, just trying to find resources to help me figure things out. I still do much research and welcome any and all help that I can get.

When I received Apologia's The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling, I was happy to add it to my resource shelf. Out of all the books I got in the beginning, I have a small resource shelf that I keep books on that I use for reference all the time. This book is so multi-faceted that it's going there, as well.

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling starts out with a Foreword by Michael Farris, who is the founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association.  There are also tips on how to use the book and an introduction to the book.  Throughout the book, there are suggestions for further reading and study on certain subjects, websites that will help you, examples and stories from the author's experience, other opinions from other experienced homeschool families, and information on recommended resources.  The end of the book also contains a Resource Guide, in which you will find pages and pages of Homeschooling Organizations and Publications, Recommended Supplier and Products, and Academic/Athletic Contests and Competitions.  There is also an accompanying website for the book at Apologia.  The book is formatted in an interesting, informative, enjoyable way.  The following is a listing of the major sections of the book:
  • Part 1: Homeschooling: Is It for You?
  • Part 2: Choosing a Curriculum (a daunting but very pleasant task for any homeschooler)
  • Part 3: Organization and Planning
  • Part 4: Preventing Burnout
  • Part 5: What to Teach-When and How
  • Part 6: Homeschooling Teens
  • Part 7: Computers in the Homeschool
  • Part 8: Creative Solutions
  • Part 9: Measuring Your Success
  • Pre-Game Pep Talk
  • Part 10: Resource Guide
The parts that were most helpful for me are hard to say, for sure, because the whole book is really helpful.  The section on burnout is one that I need to read over and over to remind myself of different strategies that could help when either I or Jacob are feeling that "can't take this anymore" feeling.  I want school to be an enjoyable time for my boys, so this chapter is quite helpful in offering advice and ideas on how to switch things up.  Too often it's easy to get sucked into the schedule and curriculum, when really, there are times when all of that needs to go to the side for more important learning opportunities, aka, life lessons.  Another part that I found helpful was the Creative Solutions section, in which there's a section on how to deal with different challenges, such as toddlers while homeschooling and even motivating a reluctant student.  With a second grader who demands my attention in school, it can be hard to give my toddler the attention he requires at the same time, and I've tried some of the ideas from this chapter; so a lot of this was stuff I already do, but it still is great information for a beginning homeschool mom.  The strategies to help motivate the reluctant student were very informative, creative, and helpful.  

All in all, this book is a great resource to have on your shelf.  With all of the resources it contains, there is something for every homeschooling family.  You can get this book from Apologia for $20.  Packed with information from one homeschool mom to another, this book is definitely one I'll be keeping around.  

To read more reviews, visit the TOS Homeschool Crew blog.

(Disclosure: I was provided this book, free of charge, by Apologia, in association with the TOS Homeschool Crew.)


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