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The Beginners Guide to Homeschooling Paperback – April 1, 2000
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A great little book! -- Helen Hegener, Home Education Magazine
A triumph of common sense! -- John Taylor Gatto, author Dumbing Us Down and The Underground History of American Education
From the Publisher
The author has been interviewed about this book on Catholic Family Radio (4/8/2000), and he is speaking at conferences in the US and Canada throughout the Spring and Fall.
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Top customer reviews
As a homeschooling mother I am grateful for the work of John Holt, Patrick Farenga and have learned so much from the Holt Associates publication "Growing Without Schooling". It saddens me to give this book a low rating to a book written by Patrick Farenga.
If you have already read one book about homeschooling then it is likely that this book won't reveal any new information to you. I guess I am spoiled by the large number of books about homeschooling that are on the market today...there are so many books, especially books categorized as books for beginning homeschoolers that provide more words of encouragement, more detailed source lists and more detailed reviews. Because I'd already read a couple of books on the subject of beginning homeschooling I found that I already knew the almost all the information in this book.
This book would be most helpful if it were the first book you ever read about homeschooling and then when you chose what area you wanted to learn more about you could go in that direction and find more detailed sources of information, whether it is a book or an internet web site.
Despite being written by someone who supports unschooling, Farenga does a good job covering various homeschooling styles and over 30 pages are dedicated to matters such as curriculum, record keeping and performance assessments. The book is so short that the various homeschooling styles are all covered briefly.
I found that the most interesting part of the book were quotes from out of print books published in the early part of the 20th century. One book published in 1912 titled "The School in the Home" about how the public schools in America are failing and not measuring up to parents expectations, despite the high cost to run them. This was a surprise to me as I keep hearing that schools should change back to the way they were "in the good old days" when the schools were inexpensive, well run, and churned out well-educated students. It appears to me now that American public schools were never that great. Another out of print book titled "A Mother's Letters to a Schoolmaster" published in 1923 has detailed quotes covering six pages in which she explains her frustration with the school. Another book from 1950 titled "The home education of a boy" is briefly quoted about the success of a boy who was home schooled successfully back then.
The resource list of "correspondence schools or curriculum suppliers" gives names and mailing addresses (no phone or web sites) for suppliers but fails to differentiate between which they are. The list doesn't explain anything about these suppliers such as what they sell. I guess I am accustomed to lists provided on the Internet which give free information at least about whether it is a correspondence school and Christian or not, etc. Books such as Rebecca Rupp's The Complete Home Learning Source Book" and Jean and Donn Reed's "The Home School Source Book". Also the detailed reviews on www.Amazon.com and on [...] provide free detailed information. Ads in homeschooling magazines reveal most of the names of the companies listed here and also contain some information to help you understand what they sell and what they are about (Christian, etc.).
In this short book 24 pages are dedicated to listing contact information for homeschool support organizations in the United States and in other countries. Most or all of this information can now be found for free on the Internet by doing a simple search with a search engine. Many homeschool support groups or publications (such as Home Education Magazine) provide long guides of information for beginners that are free to download from their websites. I urge you to do a search for your local homeschooling support group and see what detailed information they provide for beginners as your first starting point. Then when you figure out what you'd like to learn more about seek out books on that specialized subject.
A stellar book that answers many common questions with several different people writing answers to every question is "The Homeschooling Book of Answers : The 88 Most Important Questions Answered by Homeschooling's Most Respected Voices" by Linda Dobson, editor. If you are looking for a longer, more detailed book for beginners about homeschooling I'd suggest "The Homeschooling Handbook" by Mary Griffith or "The Unschooling Handbook" by the same author.
The now-defunct magazine "Growing Without Schooling" is timeless and the back issues are relevant to any homeschooler today. Back issues are still for sale. Do a search on an Internet search engine to find the distributor.