The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling, by Debra Bell is a homeschool “classic” that has just been updated and republished by Apologia Educational Ministries. Apologia is well known for their excellent science curriculum, but has recently branched out into publishing other homeschooling materials as well.
When I started homeschooling 16 years ago, I voraciously read everything I could get my hands on about homeschooling techniques and philosophies. During the summers, I would read and reread some of the “homeschooling classics,” gleaning both new ideas and motivation for the new school year. Over the past few years, I have done much less of this. I have been teaching at home so long that I feel very confident in what I am doing and less in need of instruction, although I do participate in online forums and read a homeschooling magazine (The Old Schoolhouse).
After this hiatus from homeschooling books, I have been thoroughly enjoying The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling. This 500 page volume is truly a comprehensive guide, both for the new homeschooler and the veteran. It begins with an excellent section on “Homeschooling: Is It for You?” that would be a good starting point for any new homeschooler. I appreciated that Bell lays out both the benefits and drawbacks of homeschooling. She makes it clear that homeschooling is a lifestyle, takes significant time, and should not be undertaken lightly. I particularly liked her statement that “If you don’t have time to read (self-educate), you don’t have time to homeschool!”
Debra Bell emphasizes academic excellence while still accommodating different learning styles and interests. She provides creative teaching ideas that will spark more of your own. She also lays out subject-by-subject guidelines that are full of ideas for hands-on and literature-based teaching.
I found the section on learning styles to be very helpful. It presented some information that was new to me and I was able to glean some ideas about how to best teach Emily and structure our day.
There is an extensive section on homeschooling for high school and college admissions.
Other topics include:
Organization and Planning
Choosing a Curriculum
Computers in the Homeschool
Measuring Your Success
Resources (both books and websites) are liberally referenced for those who are looking for more information and curriculum sources.
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling sells for $20 and is certainly one of the better and more comprehensive homeschooling how-to books that I have read.
I received this book free in return for my honest review. For more reviews of this book, please visit the Homeschool Crew site!