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Did you have a gateway book to homeschooling?


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I have a friend who is flirting with the idea of pulling her children out of elementary school to homeschool them. I'd like to loan or give her some information or books on homeschooling.

 

was there a book or an article that turned you towards homeschooling?

 

I can loan her The Well Trained Mind but I see that as more of a how-to book. I'm not sure what I'm looking for exactly.

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Yes, "The Well-Educated Child" by William Bennett. I read it when my oldest was 4 and it really brought into focus the dissatisfaction I was feeling about my school search for her.

 

However, the book I always recommend to people considering HSing is "Homeschooling- Take a Deep Breath, You Can Do This!" by Terrie Lynn Bittner. "Hold on to Your Kids" by Gordon Neufeld is a good one as well.

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It's a quick and simple read, but "Have Fun. Learn Stuff. Grow." was the one that made me think "hey I can do this", back when the kids were babies. 

 

Also, The Unprocessed Child was an interesting read but pretty far to the radical unschooling side. I ended up getting far more practical and useable advice from WTM. I think because I ended up putting my kids into school for a while, reading anything too unschooly was overwhelming and scary at first. And made me feel like I had broken my kids by putting them into the school system. So I don't go with those to parents thinking of taking kids out of traditional schooling. 

 

 

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For me, Dorothy Sayers' Lost Tools of Learning was pivotal-- it showed me there really was a "better" way to educate students than what I was seeing in PSs. TWTM then gave me a clear map to follow. I read both long before marriage/children, and knew that if I ever had children, I'd. want. this. for my family. So the "how-to" aspect of TWTM wasn't overwhelming or irrelevant (to me, at least). It encouraged me, because I felt like I really could accomplish homeschooling if I wanted to. But for a less "how-to," more "inspirational" read, many love Leigh Bortins' "The Core."

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Family Matters by Guterson (also wrote "Snow Falling on Cedars")

And the Skylark Sings with Me

 

These lay out the rationale for homeschooling and make it look very attractive and also doable.

 

I loved "Homeschooling, A Patchwork of Days" because it enabled me to picture different ways to approach actually homeschooling.

 

Once she has started, a good book to read is Gatto's "The Underground History of American Education".  It's very long, but it made me a homeschooler to the core.  Once I read it I was never going back before a firm basis was set up--at least not before 4th or 5th grade.

 

WTM is more how to, and it would be overwhelming at first, I think.  But it's the most comprehensive single homeschooling book that I know of.

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DH and I had already made the decision to not return our DSs to the private school they had been in for kinder (and oldest, for 1st), and we knew we were going to homeschool. A friend loaned me WTM, which gave me both a very helpful "big picture" for structure, and specific ideas for all the subject areas. That was a perfect fit for my personality and style of research.

 

For someone who is just flirting with the idea of homeschooling, perhaps a good starting point is some articles or information on the different educational philosophies, to help her start thinking about what her overall educational goals are for her children. Then she will be able to see which schooling option (public, private, charter, home) best helps her meet those goals, since each has a unique set of advantages AND disadvantages.

 

Also, listing each child's strengths/weaknesses, and passions/interests is helpful to then match up with the different schooling options to see which best addresses the student's needs and interests.

 

Also, there are SO many more options with homeschooling now -- the university model is becoming very popular (children in a school setting for 2-3 days a week, and at home for the other days), which could make transitioning into homeschooling much easier... So maybe an article on the different options for homeschooling would be helpful too...

 

 

WHY is the friend flirting with the idea of pulling her children out of public school and homeschooling? If you know why, that might help us come up with a book that esp. fits where the friend is in her thinking right now. :)

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I think it's hard to know what will speak to someone to convince them.  But for people who are wanting to delve into homeschooling more, I usually recommend reading a pair of books that will offer different perspectives.  TWTM and either Project-Based Homeschooling or Free-Range Homeschooling.

 

My "gateway" book was The Teenage Liberation Handbook, which I read just before I graduated high school.  I was like, well, too late for me, but I'm totally doing this with my kids when I have them!

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However, the book I always recommend to people considering HSing is "Homeschooling- Take a Deep Breath, You Can Do This!" by Terrie Lynn Bittner.

 

I was open to the possibility of homeschooling long before I read about it--I knew a number of people in college who were homeschooled in one form or another for varying lengths of time, and they were all impressive folks.

 

When school didn't work out as well as I would have liked, this book convinced me that I could make it work.

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WHY is the friend flirting with the idea of pulling her children out of public school and homeschooling? If you know why, that might help us come up with a book that esp. fits where the friend is in her thinking right now. :)

My friend was a coworker of mine when we both were teachers in the same elementary school. We both left at nearly the same time to have our children. I kept mine home and she sent her children off to public school, to the same district we taught in (which overall is a good public school). I think she misses her children. She also, because of being in the field of education, knows exactly how school works and isn't overly happy with the education aspect. Her husband is concerned about socialization and is adamant about sending the children to school.

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My friend was a coworker of mine when we both were teachers in the same elementary school. We both left at nearly the same time to have our children. I kept mine home and she sent her children off to public school, to the same district we taught in (which overall is a good public school). I think she misses her children. She also, because of being in the field of education, knows exactly how school works and isn't overly happy with the education aspect. Her husband is concerned about socialization and is adamant about sending the children to school.

 

The best thing for husbands worried about socialization is to meet older teens that were homeschooled. My oldest was a posterchild for bluecollar men that worried their boys wouldn't know how to interact with men. Men need to meet older teens from THEIR OWN SUBCULTURE, especially ones that spent their teen years IN the subculture, with ADULTS of that subculture.

 

Socialization is best done by ADULTS, since we are rearing future ADULTS. Other children are like candy; too much of a good thing will make them rotten.

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I'd read lots of books about homeschooling, but the one that made me feel that I could do it was Ruth Beechick's

You Can Teach Your Child Successfully: Grades 4-8.

 

I'd also suggest she read Cathy Duffy's

101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.

 

Both of these author's write from a Christian perspective; however, there is a lot of value in both books for any reader considering homeschooling.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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The best thing for husbands worried about socialization is to meet older teens that were homeschooled. My oldest was a posterchild for bluecollar men that worried their boys wouldn't know how to interact with men. Men need to meet older teens from THEIR OWN SUBCULTURE, especially ones that spent their teen years IN the subculture, with ADULTS of that subculture.

 

Socialization is best done by ADULTS, since we are rearing future ADULTS. Other children are like candy; too much of a good thing will make them rotten.

:iagree:  :001_wub: Liking just wasn't enough!

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I'd read lots of books about homeschooling, but the one that made me feel that I could do it was Ruth Beechick's

You Can Teach Your Child Successfully: Grades 4-8.

 

I'd also suggest she read Cathy Duffy's

101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.

 

Both of these author's write from a Christian perspective; however, there is a lot of value in both books for any reader considering homeschooling.

 

Regards,

Kareni

 

The Cathy Duffy one was my gateway book, I think.

 

I also suggest The Well Adjusted Child.  I read it later, but thought it would have been a perfect first book.  It also does a great job of addressing the socialization issue.

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John Holt, even though I don't follow unschooling, nor do I think it is a good match for most homeschooling families.  But his books make great points about the perils of PS, and this is from a mom who has 2 kids currently in PS.

 

WTM is, IMHO, one of the best homeschool resources ever written, but might be overwhelming for a newbie.  I have read and re-read it.

 

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For me it was blogs actually. I started reading some blogs from homeschoolers when I first started thinking about it and it gave me a more concrete picture of what it could actually look like. I couldn't envision homeschooling from any books I read until I saw it on people's blogs. And then I could get it....oh, here's what it looks like in action! Aha!

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My friend was a coworker of mine when we both were teachers in the same elementary school. We both left at nearly the same time to have our children. I kept mine home and she sent her children off to public school, to the same district we taught in (which overall is a good public school). I think she misses her children. She also, because of being in the field of education, knows exactly how school works and isn't overly happy with the education aspect. Her husband is concerned about socialization and is adamant about sending the children to school.

 

 

Ouch, this is a tough situation. It would be especially good if the couple could *together* do some of the reading and research, or at least discuss openly what the wife is reading/researching, with perhaps the husband willing to talk informally with some men he knows and trusts who are homeschool fathers. Or, as Hunter suggested, with some actually homeschool children. Consider visiting a few local homeschool groups at their informal "park day" or PE day.

 

Is the husband a facts-and-figures kind of person? Would actually seeing a list of the many options for social interaction and opportunities help ease his concerns? It might also help for him to write out exactly what he means by socialization, so together they can think through how public school does (or does not) fill these needs, and also so they can see what is available to fill that need outside of a public school setting.

 

Does socialization to him mean:

- informal play time with friends

- school recess and lunch time interaction with classmates

- classroom skills (sitting still, raising hand, name at top of paper, standing in line, waiting your turn, etc.)

- participating in community extracurriculars/events

- participation in school clubs, school play or pageant, etc.

- participation in state/national academic organizations

- ability and inclination to engage and interact with people younger, or older, than the child

- development of character traits such as friendliness, sharing, reaching out, helping others

- other...?

 

Homeschool children participate in loads of extracurriculars with other non-homeschooled children, youth, and adults in lots of ways -- through academic groups, informal/friendship, church, classroom settings, leadership and character types of groups, clubs of mutual interests, sports, theater participation, etc. Some of the many opportunities open to homeschoolers (depending on where you live, of course):

 

- play on varsity sports teams with public high school students

- join after school clubs

- do 4-H, scouts, community youth theater, go to library programs for kids

- take Parks & Rec classes in arts, sports, etc.

- join swim team, play Pop Warner / Little League / Bobbysox /AYSO, participate in YMCA or NYS sports...

- speech & debate teams, robotics clubs or competitions, mock legislation or mock trial programs

- participate in spelling bees, geography bees, math olympiads, and science camps

- attend co-op classes 

- play with friends and neighbors after school, on weekends, in the summer

- attend church Sunday Schools and youth groups

- volunteer work and community service

- play in marching band, orchestra, or jazz band

- participate in homeschool group Student Council, yearbook, or newspaper

 

Honestly, a parent could make sure that their children were so busy and socialized that the family would all be exhausted at the end of every week! ;)

 

BEST of luck as you tactfully try to be informative and supportive! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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I find that most guys have no idea of what they mean by socialization, and no desire to read books or even talk about homeschooling. And they don't even want to plan to meet other families.

 

The best thing for some moms was that their husbands met my son out in real life, gaped at some things he said, asked him about them, and found out by accident that he had been homeschooled.

 

My husband would come home laughing about what men were saying to him. When my boys were younger, most of the other men in the community didn't even know that my husband had kids. Then, when my older was out there on his own, making a life for himself, he met those men, and they just figured out who his dad was when they learned his last name. And then they sought out my husband to talk about him. "Hey, I didn't know you had a kid! So, he was homeschooled? How did that work? My wife has been yapping at me about pulling one of our kids."

 

Most moms here would have been horrified at the lackluster curriculum my son used, and small number of hours he spend semi-completing it. Blue collar guys worried about socialization, and junior college professors who put a lot of value on interesting classroom discussion were pretty impressed, though. LOL.

 

Moms of faith should just pray that their husband ACCIDENTALLY run into the RIGHT formerly homeschooled person. One from THEIR own subculture.

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FWIW, I think in a situation like your friend's current one, unless she has some miracle husband who likes to read and research education, it will be a short blog post from someone and his willingness to give homeschooling a short trial that might make it possible.  If one approaches homeschooling as a temporary thing it makes it a lot easier to swallow. 

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My gateway was to meet a homeschooling family and realize they weren't too crazy, followed by John Holt's How Children Learn (loaned to me by same family)

 

For my husband, the only thing that convinced him was seeing rapid and wonderful progress in the kids, and watching their peer group succumb to some of the less stellar playground behavior that they picked up at school. 

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FWIW, I think in a situation like your friend's current one, unless she has some miracle husband who likes to read and research education, it will be a short blog post from someone and his willingness to give homeschooling a short trial that might make it possible.  If one approaches homeschooling as a temporary thing it makes it a lot easier to swallow. 

 

This.

 

I first started "kicking the tires" on homeschooling before dd went to kindergarten. But dh was pretty firmly opposed. He always fell back on the socialization argument. He comes from a long line of public educators (both of his parents were public school teachers, as well as several aunts/uncles, and his grandfather was a revered superintendent of schools -- the local ps admin building is named for him). Ironically, dh's own ps experience was pretty lousy, and although he is quite successful, he never earned a college degree and still struggles in some fundamental areas. He has phenomenal people skills, which are the key to his success -- but maybe also why he's so concerned about socialization.

 

I was the straight-A student who graduated summa cum laude with a four-year degree in under three years. But to be honest, I didn't have any confidence in my ability to homeschool until I read TWTM. It is overwhelming, but it gave me a road map to follow. Once *I* felt confident enough to at least START, dh started to come around. I could talk intelligently about what we would be doing, and why. He agreed to give it a go. We still say that we're taking it a year at a time. Anything can happen. But at this point, dd is happy and flourishing, and we're starting to make plans to homeschool ds, too.

 

So I would say: educate yourself first. Be able to explain what you want to do and why. Then ask him for his blessing to try one year, or even just one semester, if that's all he's comfortable with.

 

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Multiple conversations with a good friend helped me more than anything else. I used none of her materials and her schooling philosophy was different from mine. But she had tried many different curriculum, was knowledgeable about various philosophies, and was very reassuring when it came to my questions. Her confidence, even when faced with uncertainty, was a blessing.

 

One of her comments stayed with me. Paraphrased: "What do you do when you don't know how to do something? You research. You read a book, search the internet, and talk to people. Homeschooling isn't any different."

 

The WTM was my gateway book. I didn't read the whole thing at one sitting. I read the parts that pertained to my situation at the time (grammar stage) and skimmed the rest. I'd recommend the same to anyone starting out. The idea of planning for high school seemed so far away that I focused only on the now and the near term. Now, three years later, I'm reading and thinking about high school. It makes the planning so much easier.

 

"Homeschooling for Excellence" was more of a reassurance. If they could unschool their children and still have the kids come out okay, I could educate my own. The book also helped me decide that my children should have time for their own interests and be given greater responsibility for their education as they grew.

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I didn't read all the previous posts yet, but the biggest two for me were TWTM and Guterson's Family Matters. http://www.amazon.com/Family-Matters-Homeschooling-Makes-Sense/dp/0156300001

 

I checked out a bunch of books about homeschooling from the library, but felt disinterested/overwhelmed by the ones talking primarily about the how-to nitty-gritty (like the You Can Do This! book).  I wanted to know WHY I should want to homeschool.  TWTM convinced me that there might be something wrong with the approach public schools take.  When Guterson wrote his book, he was a high school English teacher and he talked about why his family decided to homeschool their kids.  He also answered objections his family and neighbors had to homeschooling on a philosophical level.  Both of those books were instrumental in me wanting to know more about homeschooling.

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I didn't read all the previous posts yet, but the biggest two for me were TWTM and Guterson's Family Matters. http://www.amazon.com/Family-Matters-Homeschooling-Makes-Sense/dp/0156300001

 

I checked out a bunch of books about homeschooling from the library, but felt disinterested/overwhelmed by the ones talking primarily about the how-to nitty-gritty (like the You Can Do This! book).  I wanted to know WHY I should want to homeschool.  TWTM convinced me that there might be something wrong with the approach public schools take.  When Guterson wrote his book, he was a high school English teacher and he talked about why his family decided to homeschool their kids.  He also answered objections his family and neighbors had to homeschooling on a philosophical level.  Both of those books were instrumental in me wanting to know more about homeschooling.

 

 

These were exactly the two that did it for me!

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There were 3 books, read in order, that totally convinced me.  The first is "The Schools We Need," by E.D. Hirsch.  Which is definitely not a homeschooling book!  But it outlines a great deal about what is wrong with public education.  The second was "Raising Lifelong Learners."  Which is ABSOLUTELY not a homeschooling book... it is written by a professor at Bank Street School of Education, and about how wonderful public school is.  You don't even need to read the whole book.  Just read the chapter about Social Studies, where she talks about how "facts" don't matter, and how it was fine that her 9 year old couldn't find the Atlantic Ocean on a map and didn't know the months of the year, because his teachers were probably busy doing other stuff, and if there's something that parents think their kids need to know, well, they should just teach them themselves.

 

After those two books read in order, a quick read of The Well-Trained Mind should convince just about anyone to homeschool.

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The Well Trained Mind is the LAST book I would give SOME men. The very last! Not every book is meant for every person, and especially as a gateway book.

 

There are still certain subcultures where men fear the influence that their women over their boys. And learning to fist fight is their top priority for their sons. First, they want to be sure their boys will act like "men" when this is all over, THEIR definition of men.

 

Each subculture has it's own fears and ways. The Gateway book that will be the most helpful is the one that allays the subculture's worst fears, and shows an example of days and schedules that look possible with the resources of the subculture.

 

Honestly, for some men, nothing is more influential that a homeschooled teen with a firm handshake that looks him in the eye and speaks to him as an equal, about the stuff men of that subculture talk about. And a young man that honors his womenfolk, but does not act like them.

 

I'm not saying all these subcultures are "right" and that this is good. I'm just saying that when mom, who IS living in these subcultures, want to yank the kids, this is what is going to best open the door for her. Handing her man TWTM is probably the best way NOT to have her husband's blessing, and depending on how the subculture works, she might not have his "permission".

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DH has invited over families who are thinking of homeschooling. I talk to the wife. He talks to the husband. 

 

I do think that having the husbands interact with polite, respectful, impressive homeschooled teenagers is huge. DH finds the husbands more willing to give homeschooling a try if they talk to other homeschool dads who are practical & positive (but not gushy). There are a surprising number of homeschooling dads at DH's work. 

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If the child is in a classroom now (PS, even a preschool), if you could get dad in to observe for part of a day, that might be what it takes for him to skim a book or two.

I sent my child to preschool largely for socialization, and then saw my mistake when I observed his class for one morning. The teachers' idea of social skills development was at odds with mine, which explained to me why DS had not progressed that year.

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ED Hirsch's books (e.g. What Your 2nd Grader Needs to Know) opened my eyes to the idea that our school was lacking.

 

A Thomas Jefferson Education made me consider homeschooling.

 

TWTM empowered me to actually pull my kids out of school. I felt like "I can do this. And I can do it better than the school." If your friend is already considering homeschooling, a "how-to" book may be what's needed. TWTM also won over my husband (and later my dad, who was politely skeptical of our decision). The engineer men in my life needed to see that I had a detailed plan that I could follow. :P

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 Her husband is concerned about socialization and is adamant about sending the children to school.

 

That was dh's biggest concern, too. I didn't have him read all of TWTM. he doesn't have the time or patience for such things. I did have him read the chapter on socialization. The argument that peers are not the people you want socializing your child struck a chord with me and won him over.

 

Also, I was homeschooling dd on a trial basis that first semester, so we could all see if we were happier having her at home. 

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