83 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2004
Linda Dobson is well known in homeschooling circles. She has written several books; she is invited to speak at homeschooling conferences; and she has been homeschooling her own children for years. Most of the books she has written are very targeted at the homeschooling market. The title of this book indicates the same trend, but the reality is this book is for any family who wants to help their children learn and understand more in their education.
Her first chapter does focus homeschooling, as she talks about some key factors between public schools and homeschooling. She calls these the "school mind" and the "education mind." The "school mind" is more concerned about preserving the public school system than in educating the students. The "education mind" is focused on trying to help children learn.
The rest of the book is a wonderful collection of ideas on how to help children learn, from reading, to math, to character building, to other facets of a children's education. This is a great resource for rainy days, for when a child is bored, or for when a student is struggling with a particular subject.
If you are looking for ways to educate your children, this is a good book to have.
57 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2004
Just when I was beginning to think that Linda Dobsons books were a little dull and technical, I came across this one. The Ultimate book of Homeschooling Ideas (500+ fun and creative learning activities age 3-12) Is truly a gem. Though she consistently gives books titles as long as paragraphs, this book, which I believe is her latest has lifted my opinion of her credibility and book writing skill. Copy written in 2002, it shows how far the author has come since she started writing homeschooling books almost 2 decades ago.
I borrowed this book from the Library to review along with 12 other books on homeschooling, and now will be purchasing it immediately to keep one on my shelf as a reference book. I just dare one of my kids to say to me " Mom. I'm bored". I have at least 500 activities I am just waiting to introduce to them. Actually because of their ages, I only have about 400 because some of the games are too juvenile for them, but that is still more than one learning experience in a day.
In her usual tradition of book writing, this book by Linda Dobson is another compilation book, with different games and activities submitted from hundreds of homeschooling moms around the country. They are as creative and different as there are people on the earth.
The book's first few chapters are devoted to homeschooling philosophies as usual and introduces terms that are new to me like school mind vs. education mind. The concept is very simple, yet very intelligent and it helps the reader to make a distinction between the way a child is taught at school vs. the ways you can teach a child at home.
The book is also divided up into subject with appropriate games and activities listed in each section that it most closely relates to, thus helping a parent with record keeping because each game or activity counts as a lesson in any particular subject. For example, in the Math chapter, listed are familiar games like math and dominoes, but also new ideas like edible manipulatives and pizza fraction game. Likewise, in the chapter on Language we find old favorites like word bingo, as well as new ideas like read the TV (turn off sound and read closed captioning).
These ideas have me truly excited about homeschooling. We are sure to start playing these games long before our homeschooling start date of June 1, and will use this book for many years to come.
82 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2003
Written with kids age 3-12 in mind, The Ultimate Book Of Homeschooling Ideas presents over 500 creative and enjoyable learning activities specifically designed for use by homeschooling parents. The learning activities range from flash card games, to a pocket alphabet banner for pre-readers, to learning the basics about DNA, to a math game using Legos. Each of these original, innovative, and practical ideas consists of a brief overview and general suggestions; with the specifics of application being implied or left up to the home-based parental educator. The Ultimate Book Of Homeschooling Ideas is warmly commended as being an excellent resource for enriching young minds by homeschoolers (and equally recommended for those parents whose youngsters attend public or private schools), as well as a wonderful source for educational family activities during school holidays and summer vacations.
53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2007
This is an interesting book in that it has collected a large number of activities you can do with your kids. But of the 100 that I've read so far, probably only 30% are BOTH fun AND creative, and only 60% (including those that are both) are either one. Some activities are not too creative- like, "go look at the stars and pick out constellations". I mean, that's great, but what homeschooling families do not already do that? Others do not seem that fun: flash cards? That being said, I guess if you are totally new to homeschooling and have never been able to come up with a single thing other than watching television, you might find this book worth it. I wish I'd saved my money and done the research on the Internet.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2005
Dobson begins her easy-to-read book with chapters appropriately titled "Helping Your Child Love Learning" and "Creating Your Own Educational Reform". After reading just these two chapters I was already in love with the book.
The remaining chapters consist of reader contributed ideas, lessons and games. These parents know how to make education so fun the kids probably won't even know they are learning! The ideas are easy, fast, inexpensive, and usually involve minimal research.
What really makes this book stand far and above others is Table 2.2, found on pages 34-37. This helpful table lists many popular off-the-shelf curriculums that can be easily recreated at home with materials you already have, or can be found used - all for under $100!
This book is truly ingenious! It's about time someone organized the ideas of creative parents into one handy reference. I cannot think of a better person to present this material other a personal favorite, Linda Dobson.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2004
The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas is really refreshing - a book that I recommend frequently to new homeschoolers. It doesn't point you to a structured plan, or reviews of packaged curricula or textbooks, but instead shares fun and creative everyday ideas that have been contributed from families all over the country. It's hard to imagine any homeschool that wouldn't find valuable ideas here. Her other books also have a lot of great information from a wide variety of sources, but this one, especially, shows concrete examples of how easily learning can be woven into hands-on activities. Don't expect to find a complete curriculum lined out in this book - that's not the idea at all. This is a reference book with delightful things you can use to spice up and enhance learning of a variety of subjects. For those who have come to expect education to look a certain way - the way it looks in schools - it might take some thought to realize how much is being learned by some of the fun activities. However, these are the kinds of things good teachers love to incorporate into their schedules when they have time - and homeschoolers have the gift of time! :)
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2007
This book has more activities in it than anyone could possibly do. It gives many ideas to choose from based on subject. The author states that she prefered not to organize it based on age, since children of a particular age could be at several different learning levels. While I understand this reasoning, it would have been helpful to me to have a cross-reference based on general age groups. All in all, if you are not very creative(like me), but want to offer your children a variety of activities, this is a great resource.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2004
This book is a compilation of creative ideas submitted by homeschoolers from all over the country. The chapters are organized into subject areas, and each chapter is filled with ideas that actual homeschool parents have used with their kids successfully. There are multitudes of homeschooling curriculum books out there, but this isn't one of them. Instead, it gives you ideas you can really use and I think that, in the process, it can help you come up with ideas of your own. I am a former fourth grade teacher, and any teacher will tell you that kids learn MUCH better when they are learning through games and projects and hands-on experiences than they do from workbooks and rote learning. While workbooks may have their place in your homeschooling day, it is so important to include other elements as well. This book will give you great starter points, many of which can be adapted to different age levels and concepts. Thank you, Linda Dobson! ANY homeschool family would get some ideas from this book, but I have to ESPECIALLY recommend this book to homeschoolers who are either new to it or still searching for what feels comfortable. On top of that, I think it would be a benefit to families who don't homeschool, but who want to make fun learning experiences for their child.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2006
This book is great! My son is only 4 but I am getting a head start on homeschooling him, this book has given me many of good idea's. I am seriously thinking of using this as my main curriculum for kindergarten, I'll throw in a couple of workbooks too, but this will help me plan most of my lessons. I HIGHLY recommend this book!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2006
I absolutely love this book. The ideas are very do-able and there are so many of them. I can pick the book up at any time and flip it open to any page and find a good idea for a project or field trip or website or new subject to study. Most of the ideas focus on making learning fun, which of course goes over quite well with the kids. The ideas range from nearly effortless to fairly involved. Great to pull out on rainy days.