Customer Review

392 of 402 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Secular Homeschoolers Too, May 14, 2014
This review is from: The Brainy Bunch: The Harding Family's Method to College Ready by Age Twelve (Hardcover)
This book is not a homeschooling how-to guide. This family reverse engineered the college admissions game and made their own efficient path to get there. They eschewed the standard government (public) school path, which would have involved common core standards, long school days of which 80% of the time is wasted, mind-numbing worksheets, and violence for something different.

There is no rule book or standards for homeschooling. People looking for such a thing are on a fools errand, and perhaps missing the point of homeschooling completely. The best homeschooling path involves the parents seeking out the best quality instructional materials and resources, and using them. If something doesn’t work, try something else, just as they explained in the book. One example: the Brainy Bunch used Editor in Chief, which for intellectual homeschoolers is one of those “gems”. Every homeschooler knows that for math, Saxon and Singapore are the best. There are other gems in every category, and have been reviewed in full on Cathy Duffy’s website. This book does not go there, and doesn’t need to because these resources are documented elsewhere.

Instead, the Hardings provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the method they iterated over the years to work for their own family. It’s enormously useful in that sense. Young homeschooling families can learn the pitfalls of trying to replicate “school”, what the challenges of homeschooling are, that working parents can homeschool too, and how to hack education so that real learning happens.

I can understand the reviewers who were digging for concrete, specific details about their routine and were disappointed. These details are there, but they exist sporadically, rather than a bulleted list or some other digestible format. Therefore, it’s important to read this book thoroughly. Take your time. Have the internet ready to look up resources.

For all of those who are outraged over their references to religion and becoming a stay-at-home mom, read the book as if you are studying someone else’s culture. Yes, it’s different from yours. Intelligent people don’t get offended. It’s not fair to judge the Hardings for their religious slant or views on feminism. They aren’t stealing; they aren’t hurting anyone. They are raising honest, smart kids who are adding value to our society. Think about it; these people aren’t the enemy.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 15, 2014 4:02:39 PM PDT
sheilah 650 says:

Posted on May 20, 2014 8:20:30 AM PDT
realfuzzy says:
Thanks for the review.

Posted on May 21, 2014 10:53:04 AM PDT
Noelia says:
Thank ou for wrapping it up so well. I couldn't add a thing.

Posted on May 30, 2014 9:03:29 AM PDT
Great and thought provoking review! Reading through this book, we are also inspired how The Mom did not set her goal to have her children become something they are not, but rather empowered them by focusing on what they do best and what was her children's desires and talents.

Also, character training was most important to her, so the fact that she had such success while keeping her faith strong is a testament to God's Grace giving increase to her work and sacrifice for her children!

After all, what use would it be to gain the whole world and lose one's soul!

There is a strange bigoted element out there with total bias against any mention of our Creator. They are being spoonfed by overzealous professors who are cherry picking some data and brainwashing students rather than allowing them to think for themselves. Sad that they are taught to disrespect other cultures and traditions just because it does not line up 100% with their worldview, but we also must not be defensive about honestly sharing our understanding that God is Love and He desires us to love one another. We extent our love to those who want to be our enemies also, for their hearts and minds are just as precious and created in God's Image.

Posted on Jun 9, 2014 8:46:25 PM PDT
Excellent review!

Posted on Jun 11, 2014 3:38:58 PM PDT
Thank you for this review. I have been debating reading this book or now. We love homeschooling and are thriving but I would like to see a clearer picture to college for my children.

We are secular and one of the obstacles in our society is having to wade through the thick fog of religion in so many things. I can see why this would be a turn off to some as they are wanting to learn more about homeschooling and not religion. As you pointed out though, we can think of it as a culture lesson. Sometimes though, it feels like we have had about all we can take of that so the warning others have shared is also helpful. I am sure if the religion was pagan or Muslim in the book there would be a lot of shouting going on from the homeschooling world as well. I think it is less to do with offended though and more to do with unnecessary distraction for some of us. No offence at all to this family, it is what works for them. If they do not wish to preach to the choir though they may want to consider a more secular approach to any future instructional books for homeschoolers.

In any case, I am rambling and really just meant to thank you for this review. I do believe I will be purchasing it.

Posted on Jul 7, 2014 3:00:39 PM PDT
Kevin says:
Fantastic review. I've been looking forward to this book. (Thought I'd preordered it, but guess not!) I'm a secular homeschool parent. I also highly recommend ALEKS. I certainly got a great deal of help when I enlisted a tutor to teach math and Latin to my kids. But you said it best in your intro paragraph. I school the kids year round, with plenty of time off. They work 3hrs max 3-4 days per week and although they are very intelligent, they are certainly not geniuses. Nevertheless, without having to wait for everyone else, the 10 year old just completed high school geometry and the 9yo completed prealgebra. Quite unlike my youth! I highly recommend Getting Started with Latin. The boys loved it and I learned basic Latin along the way as well.
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