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246 of 248 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE book I have been looking for as a beginner!
I've read a lot of homeschooling books in planning for my children's education and I learned something from each one, whether I liked the book or not! This book, however, is a planner's dream! It truly has you plan from the bottom up, applying thought to aspects of homeschooling that I had not previously considered.

Cathy Duffy begins by having you come up with...
Published on August 16, 2006 by Kristina J. Ivey

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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good IF you are looking for fundamentalist Christian choices
This would be a great book if only she had offered some secular choices. The book was well organized. I love the intro on learning styles and there's a great chart that summarizes all her choices (although I wish she had indicated age appropriateness).

I am Christian, but this book was definitely written for fundamentalist Christian homeschoolers. I am a first...
Published on August 14, 2009 by jeanb


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246 of 248 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE book I have been looking for as a beginner!, August 16, 2006
This review is from: 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child's Learning Style (Paperback)
I've read a lot of homeschooling books in planning for my children's education and I learned something from each one, whether I liked the book or not! This book, however, is a planner's dream! It truly has you plan from the bottom up, applying thought to aspects of homeschooling that I had not previously considered.

Cathy Duffy begins by having you come up with your own philosophy of education. As she puts it, "If there were no laws requiring you to educate your child, what would you want them to learn anyway?" Wow! That question really gets to the heart of the matter for most people choosing to homeschool. Then, she has you consider your thoughts about how you want to teach and run your school (teach different ages together, work directly with your children or have them work independently, real books vs. textbooks, field trips, adhering to a schedule or remaining flexible, etc.). She has you take a sort of quiz about your preferred approaches to learning that shows which styles might appeal to you most. After leaning so heavily toward Charlotte Mason after all my reading, I was somewhat surprised to find that I have an equally high regard for unit studies and--gasp!--unschooling (a "curriculum" choice that petrifies me a bit)! She describes the various homeschooling methods (traditional, Charlotte Mason, classical, unit study, unschooling, independent study, eclectic, and umbrella programs). Then, she asks you to consider your confidence/experience level, time available to teach, finances, and religious beliefs. In addition, one of the most important differences about this book is that it addresses your teaching style and your child's learning style. This is such an important consideration when deciding what curriculum to choose. I'm sad to admit that I've been so gleefully planning what I want them to learn and what I think they'll enjoy that I've given very little SERIOUS thought to their perspective about things. Not anymore...

Finally, the discussion of her top 100 picks begins. The curriculum choices are introduced with a chart. The format helps you pick resources that are aligned with what you now know are your homeschooling preferences. Each curriculum is ranked for the following criteria: (1) Multi-sensory/hands-on (2)structure/rules-oriented (3) logical/analytical learners (4) social activity (5) amount of parent instruction (6) independent study vs. one-on-one (7) amount of writing (8) prep time (9) grade level specific vs. multi-level (10) ease of use for teacher (11) necessity for teacher's manual (12) supportive of Charlotte Mason's philosophy (13) supportive of classical education (14) religious affiliations. Using the chart, it was easy to look for a unit study or Charlotte Mason approach that would accomodate my Wiggly Willy and my Sociable Sue who work at different grade levels.

Some critics of the book feel that the author leans too heavily on Christian resources so I actually did a count for those interested. Of her 100 picks, there were 15 Catholic choices, 41 Protestant choices, and 54 were religiously neutral. (They don't add up to 100 because some would work for both Protestants and Catholics, some neutrals could add religious supplements, etc.) If you consider that probably AT LEAST 50% of homeschoolers are keeping their children at home so they can offer religious instruction, I don't think those numbers are in any way out of balance.

If you are looking for an umbrella curriculum (one that covers all the subjects) you should know that she really goes in depth into only two, Calvert School (neutral) and Sonlight (Protestant). However, some of the unit studies she discusses could be used as a full program with a few additional choices for neglected subjects. (Only one of the seven unit study programs, Five in a Row, is religiously neutral.) If an umbrella curriculum is what you're looking for, you would be better off requesting catalogs and information from companies offering that service rather than buying this book. Otherwise, the curriculum choices included in this book fall under the following categories: (1) phonics/reading/literature (2) math (3) grammar and composition (4) spelling and vocabulary (5) history/social science (6) science (7) unit studies (8) foreign language (9) miscellaneous.

Her picks definitely cover a wide range of methodology. Some will appeal to you and some won't. What I find is that in researching something that is appealing (usually on Amazon), I invariably follow link after link until I wind up reading so many reviews that I more fully understand the pros and cons of each curriculum choice I make. What a wonderful thing! I would rank this book with the top four homeschooling books I have read (Rebecca Rupp's "Home Learning Year by Year," Charlotte Mason's "Original Homeschooling Series," and Karen Andreola's "A Charlotte Mason Companion").
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153 of 159 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep this book handy, because you'll be consulting it often., March 15, 2005
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This review is from: 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child's Learning Style (Paperback)
We just got back from the 2005 Indiana state homeschool convention -- what a vast array of curriculum in their exhibit hall! It was just the place for Moms and Dads to look at what's new and compare with the old. There is so much new curricula on the market today that for many, especially those new to homeschooling, it can be rather confusing and overwhelming. Cathy Duffy's newest book 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum has come along at just the right time to help us sort out all our many choices.

I love Cathy Duffy's dedication at the beginning of this book: "To the thousands of dedicated homeschoolers who have resisted the impulse to imitate "real school" and have chosen instead to figure out what is best for each of their children, even if it meant writing their own curriculum. You have made the world of homeschool curriculum far richer than the most well-funded schools in the world."

And what Cathy has done in her book is to help us do just that -- figure out what is best for each of our children. Under her direction, using pertinent questions and an easy-to-use chart, a homeschooling mom can determine which of the eight approaches to homeschooling would fit her child's learning style and her own overall goals and priorities for her child's education. It takes the guesswork and confusion out of homeschooling.

The largest portion of the book is taken up with Cathy's reviews of her "100 Top Picks" for homeschooling books and curricula. She gives us thorough descriptions and necessary ordering details, strengths and weaknesses of the curriculum, and her own impressions on how it would work with the different learning styles. One of the best features of this book is an amazing eight page chart putting all the information together so parents can see at a glance and compare and contrast all the details of each "Top Pick."

I would suggest that if you're having a hard time wading through all of your curriculum choices, you might consider buying 100 Top Picks. Keep it handy, because you'll be consulting it often.
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77 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb catalog of the best of the best educational resources, February 3, 2005
This review is from: 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child's Learning Style (Paperback)
Expert homeschooling curriculum consultant Cathy Duffy presents 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child's Learning Style, a thorough guidebook to designing the proper educational program for one's child. Approaching the topic from a Christian worldview, 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum is nonetheless useful for any homeschooling family regardless of faith. The first portion of 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum discusses different types of learning styles, and how to know when one's child should learn what. The bulk of 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum focuses upon individual texts, study guides, and CD-ROM software ideal for giving one's child a firm grounding in phonics, literature, mathematics, history, science, foreign language, and much more. The pros, cons, and unique features of each study aid is discussed in depth, in this superb catalog of the best of the best educational resources.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good IF you are looking for fundamentalist Christian choices, August 14, 2009
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This review is from: 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child's Learning Style (Paperback)
This would be a great book if only she had offered some secular choices. The book was well organized. I love the intro on learning styles and there's a great chart that summarizes all her choices (although I wish she had indicated age appropriateness).

I am Christian, but this book was definitely written for fundamentalist Christian homeschoolers. I am a first time homeschooler and the book was useful in selecting the subjects that are more secular by nature - like reading & math. And while I like her Charlotte Mason approach to science and history, I was dissapointed with the lack of non-Creationist choices. If you are looking for Creationist choices, this would be good. If you are looking for secular science and history, this book is not for you.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not nearly as comprehensive as I had hoped, January 18, 2009
This review is from: 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child's Learning Style (Paperback)
Although she has a lot of good information about various curricula, it has a great emphasis on Christian homeschooling. I wish it had that intention stated in the subtitle or in the introduction. I was looking for more alternatives, such as information on Waldorf, or Montessori homeschooling alongside the Classical and other well known options.
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christian in Viewpoint, May 14, 2005
This review is from: 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child's Learning Style (Paperback)
I don't quite know just how to honestly evaluate some parts of this book. Ms. Duffy's other books have titles like "Christian Home Educators Curriculum Manual." In this book it appears that she has tried to become more general in approach to present information to the broader spectrum of home teachers.

I really like her approach to stressing that the advantage of home schooling is to enable the schooling to be tailored to the specific needs of each individual student rather than fitting into the master plan of the school system. This is stressed in the sub-title of the book.

Only in the science area is the Christian view brought strongly to the fore. Here she selects curriculum that stress creation and if evolution is mentioned it tends to be mentioned as, "provides tidbits of scientific information with which to challenge the theory of evolution." A child going on to college with only this kind of background may have a much more difficult time than one tought the generally accepted theories.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars kindle edition review, July 5, 2009
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I've wanted to get this book for a long time. I don't have anything new to add to the other reviews, except for this: don't buy this in the Kindle edition. The charts are very difficult to use because they span two pages (so, since the Kindle shows only one page at a time, you can't tell which product the lines on the second page refer to) and are printed in very faint "ink". The charts refer to the page number where you can find the entire review for each product, which is useless when dealing with Kindle "locations" rather than actual pages. Very frustrated with this product. May have to buy the print version as well.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars rookie homeschool mom's delight, May 30, 2006
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J and N's mommy (Los Angeles CA, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child's Learning Style (Paperback)
This book was a huge blessing to me. It would be the first book I recommend anyone read if they are thinking about homeschooling, just starting homeschooling, or even have been homeschooling for a while and need a good curriculum / teaching method resource.

I am a brand new homeschooler of a 3rd grade boy, and borrowed this book so I could check out some curriculum reviews to help me sort through the overwhelming amount of available curriculum on the market.

I got much more than that with this book. I am eternally grateful for the beginning sections that go over some great homeschool education basics.

First, the different "methods" that some homeschoolers use - i.e, traditional, classical, Charlotte Mason, unschooling, etc. I had no idea about all this stuff, and the author gives a nice brief overview, so I now I know what other homeschoolers are talking about when they refer to this stuff.

More importantly, well, MOST importantly to me, the author goes over (briefly, just enough to educate, and not overwhelm) the different learning styles of both adults and children, which was EXTREMELY helpful to me in choosing curriculum for my son. It is also very enlightening that the author makes the point, that you will sometimes tend to choose curriculum that suits YOUR learning style (as a teacher) but may not suit your CHILD'S learning style and to be aware of this! Especially if you have a very different learning style than your child!!

As a Christian, I am also very appreciative that the author has written this book primarily for those who want to raise their children with Christian curriculum, and she lets you know whether each curriculum reviewed is primarily Protestant based, Catholic based, or non-sectarian. I would guess that if you are NOT a Christian, or really don't want your child to have a Christian based education, this review book will not be as helpful, since so much of the curriculum she reviews has a distinctly Christian viewpoint.

The only reason I did not give this 5 stars, is that I felt the beginning of the book where it helped you "discover" the method of schooling you might like to use, complete with a survey and percentages, was a bit much, especially considering the claim she makes (and which I support), that most homeschoolers take an "eclectic" approach anyway (bit of this, bit of that), and because of that, I feel there is no need to pigeon hole yourself thinking that you want to use one certain method or another...especially when you are just starting out.
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92 of 116 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars book with an agenda, August 14, 2009
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This review is from: 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child's Learning Style (Paperback)
I was looking forward to this book but early on came across such statements as:

1. (In schools) "they learn that all gods are created equal and that it is intolerant to expect others to accept your beliefs about God".
2. "Evolutionary theory is shaky at best."
3. "For example, I agree with most of the California goals or standards for third grade mathematics, but I do not agree that children at this age need to be learning probability and graphing."

Since I read these all early on it made everything else that came after that extremely suspect. The reviews were *very* skewed towards a fundamentalist Christian viewpoint.

Completely incompatible with anyone homeschooling primarily for academic reasons but I can see it being a good resource for someone homeschooling for primarily religious (Christian) reasons.

BTW - this would have gotten a much better review if it had a more descriptive title such as "100 Top picks for Homeschool curriculum for the the *Christian* Homeschooler". Unfortunately it's a bait and switch because you don't find out until you open it that it's written from such a skewed, one sided perspective. Theoretically it could have some good info and reviews in it, however I found myself just completely unable to trust the source in anything (especially subjects like science, math, world history etc.) after the early remarks.
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89 of 113 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Christian Viewpoint, October 26, 2006
This review is from: 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child's Learning Style (Paperback)
I chose this book because of the good reviews it received, however none of them mentioned that it has an overtly Christian viewpoint and many of the top picks use bible verses, etc. as a part of the daily curriculum. I am a secular homeschooler and would prefer a guide with a more neutral viewpoint. Others may find this viewpoint helpful, but I wish the reviews had revealed it before I purchased the book.
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