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Showing 1-10 of 10 reviews(5 star). See all 19 reviews
This book is subtitled "Your Complete Guide to Successfully Homeschooling the 3- to 8-Year-Old Child". It is a little less than that, since it does not contain information about specific knowledge your youngster "needs" to acquire (for that information, see The Core Knowledge series by E.D. Hirsch), but it is a marvelous book to impart the basics and instill in you a sense of confidence and enthusiasm regarding the adventure you are about to begin!

Dobson begins with a survey of 66 homeschooling parents and presents continuum information about eight variables: motivation for homeschooling, financial expenditures, level of structuredness, assessment technique, technology use, physical space, parental involvement and outside assistance. I found this interesting just to see what others were doing and, though not reported in great detail, I thought it was a promising way to begin the book.

Chapters include information on getting ready to homeschool, curriculum options, teaching reading, teaching writing, teaching arithmetic, teaching other subjects, tailoring your approach to your family, resources, computers, accommodating younger learners, running a household (and sustaining a marriage) while you homeschool, part-time homeschooling, dealing with naysayers and enjoying the experience. Each chapter ends with an outline of the major points and a list of resources, which may include books, programs, magazines, catalogues, web sites or organizations. Chapters include practical advice as well as a series of personal anecdotes from the survey respondents called "How We Did It" with specific ideas that might be helpful.

It would be simplistic to say that much of the book is cheerleading, as the author spends a lot of time telling you why this is a good idea, the benefits of your choice, and the positive effects this decision will have on your child(ren). But considering how much grief you will probably get from relatives and acquaintances, someone to cheer you on isn't such a bad thing. You won't rely on this volume for specifics, but it is inspirational and contains a lot of information about where to find more specifics. I found this book very helpful.
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on May 30, 2010
We plan to homeschool, but deciding on the appropriate program, and all the other questions are overwhelming. This book answered a program for our kids learning style, and personality type. How we learn the easiest, and brought out what was most important to us homeschooling. I learned a lot before this book I was excited to homeschool,but more scared than excited. After this book I was more excited than scared.
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on November 20, 1999
This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in homeschooling their young child. In an easy - to - read and follow format, it discusses most every issue of concern to homeschooling parents. It not only discusses facts about homeschooling (such as find out the laws in your state) but then brings together the experiences of many parents who are homeschooling to demonstrate that there is no one right way to HS your child. This book is enough to give me the confidence to begin on a homeschooling journey!
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on January 5, 2012
This is a great book to have, it has great material, for those beginner homeschool teachers. You will be amazed at how much you learn.
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on April 12, 2000
My oldest is 4 and we will homeschool our children. After reading this book, I realized we already ARE homeschooling. All of my fears and hesitations went right out the window! I don't have to wonder how to get started because now I know we started years ago!
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on May 11, 2003
This is not yet another mere "your child should `x' at `y' age" handbook focusing on academics, but a traveler's guide to creating a family's own itinerary for the homeschooling journey. It offers an expansive view of the home education landscape, with mountains of ideas and personal experiences contributed by fellow explorers, wellsprings of inspiration, and stockpiles of resources.
Like Linda Dobson's other books, "Homeschooling: The Early Years" takes parents outside the box of "school at home" thinking, encouraging families to use their whole world as a "classroom" and to recognize that learning happens all the time-even when not regimented according to grade level or chopped into subject areas. In addition, the book instills confidence in parents of children who don't "measure up" to grade level marks by providing lively pictures of children who developed at their own pace and turned out ok anyway. These facets can help parents find an individualized homeschooling style that is relaxed and enjoyable for the whole family. What could be better than that?
The author invites readers to leaf through homeschooling's goodie basket, to taste the benefits that lie beyond academic measures. These include the luxury of spending "extra" time exploring areas of interest, homeschooling's power to strengthen the family bond and instill positive socialization and its flexibility in meeting the needs of any schedule or lifestyle, and the joy and pleasure of homeschooling while cuddling together in your jammies.
"Early Years" maps a remarkably wide territory for one modest book. It covers how to tune into your child's unique learning needs, incorporating learning with young children's natural tendencies, and overcoming fears and doubts. Included in this volume are money-saving ideas, including discovering educational materials you already have at home; homeschoolers' favorite software, helping you make good choices from among the tremendous number of materials available; in-depth information on the 3 R's; information on a variety of homeschooling methods; resources, such as periodicals, other books, Web sites and more; help for parents of special needs children, single parents, ways to include younger siblings; organizing; and even "part-time homeschooling" as a supplement to school.
Having homeschooled my now 13 year-old and 10 year-old children their whole lives, I believe "Homeschooling: The Early Years" is a fantastic resource, an inspiration, and even a quiet revolution. This book helps parents learn to trust themselves and their own perceptions, rather than always looking to "experts," because nobody knows a child better than does the parent-and that may be the most important homeschooling idea of all.
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on November 6, 1999
Excerpts from a review I did for Home Education Magazine on this book:
Linda Dobson's book, Homeschooling The Early Years: Your Complete Guide to Successfully Homeschooling the 3 to 8 Year Old, is a wonderful resource for parents of young children. It is a celebration of children's innate curiosity and eagerness to learn about their world. She has captured the essential wonder of early childhood learning.While the book is full of parents'delightful stories about how children learned one thing or another, the theme Linda deftly brings forward into the spotlight is that learning is the natural pursuit of any child - "little learning machines," she calls them.
The book is unique right from the beginning - an interesting brief overview of homeschooling diversity, building up to the comforting reassurance that "It doesn't matter where you begin - just begin!" This is a fairly radical notion for may of those in the first stage of comtemplating the move. New and prospective homeschoolers often want to have it all planned and orderly before they jump in. And yet, as Linda points out, you can expect a lot of perfectly comfortable change and admustment as you learn to tailor the homeschool to the child, rather than the child to the homeschool - it's just an onging process.
"Because it's so easy to change any aspect of homeschooling when necessary," she reassures the read, "you can get started with a minimum of worry and preparation. Once you're on the road, you'll constantly discover new information, resources, and friends to help you fine-tune your journey into the most rewarding and fun possible."
Linda provides helpful insight into the nature of young children as learners, and the way they gather information as physical, sensory beings. This leads into an inspiring discussion of the importance of play, imagination, and creativity. "With schooling so firmly established in our culture and in our personal experience as the method for learning, it's often hard to grasp and accept the idea that, for the early years, play - unadulterated by adult 'good intentions' - is a powerful learning method...If we can bend our own thinking processes far enough to give play its rightful due, we could even call creativity the play of the mind."
This is where the delightful stories start to come in - stories that capture the essence of how beautifully natural learning is for children. The stories highlight the magic that happens when a child has the opportunity to learn beyond the box.
One very helpful chapter, The Joy of Learning With the Early Years Child, deals with tuning in to notice how your child learns. Again we find stories from other parents about their experiences with their children. Being able to share the revelations these "aha!" moments can go a long way in leading to one's own insights. The chapter also goes into building on strengths, and sensitively shoring up weaknesses. Socialization and relationships are discussed, as well as the ways families pass on their important values. Some interesting points are made about health and how it relates to schooling - and last, but not least, tips for making the transition from school and "getting started."
Parents of young children sometimes want to homeschool, but don't have any idea how they'll go about teaching the important basics - the three Rs and related academic subjects. A lenghty section provides detailed practical tips, solid information, and referrals to favorite resources used by a variety of families. This is really a wonderful resource for those who feel ill-prepared to tackle all this - and it's an inspiring resource even for those who already feel confident. Again, the point is made that there are many successful ways to learn, and that "The methods used are as individual as fingerprints."
That's such a captivating line: "The methods used are as individual as fingerprints." No one style of homeschooling is promoted in the book, but the constant theme of respecting and supporting individuality comes through loud and clear. "Once ready, homeschooled children learn to read at age 3 - or thirteen. They learn to read in one hour - or over the course of three years. They use workbooks - or comic books. They begin with easy readers - or Dad's Louis L'Amour novels. Their preparedness includes phonics or whole language or both or none - or their parents don't really know what they use, because they're too busy reading and learning to worry about naming it."
The general styles of homeschooling are illustrated through parents' personal descriptions of the way their chidren go about learning, woven together by Linda's insightful running commentary. This is rich material, because it becomes obvious that the commonly used classifications of homeschooling "styles" are realistically referring to fairly amorphous processes. Ideally, a parent will be alert and sensitive to each child, nurturing interests, and being comfortable in making changes when something doesn't seem to be working. This is good for beginning homeschoolers to realize - that it can all be mixed and matched, and that it can, and probably will, keep changing and evolving. Too many people get frustrated and anxious, sometimes deciding homeschooling isn't for them, because of not being aware of how this dynamic can work. Homeschooling The Early Years should be quite effective in calming the beginners' anxieties that are based on limited expectations.
Many other topics are covered, from financial challenges, single parenting, special needs, large families, to computer and internet resources, and much more. This is a solid resource - it touches the heart and provides bountiful food for the mind. I wish it had been available when I began the homeschooling journey.
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on December 17, 1999
I am thrilled to have discovered this gem of a book while my children are still young. Linda Dobson presents homeschooling the young child as the exciting adventure that it is: "On the go, morning 'til night, doing, doing, doing. As naturally as a mountain spring, the early years child bubbles with energy. Unfortunately for little ones today, childhood energy is often considered a bad thing. Interestingly, it's most often considered a bad thing in the context of school." Children are natural little learning machines, as the author describes them. Each chapter covers an important aspect of learning with young children, including reading, writing, arithmetic and Beyond the Three R's. Included in each chapter are warmth, humor, many quotes from a diverse group of homeschoolers, and sections on Simple Starting Points and Resources. If you're thinking of homeschooling little ones, this is a must-read!
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on December 4, 2001
This book was the first book I picked up on homeschooling and was an excellent place to start. It has a variety of information on the specifics of homeschooling including some applied ideas. However, it also is chock full of resources and destinations to help guide your journey. It's a great choice for someone who is trying to make the decision about homeschooling. It offers tips on how to boost your own confidence as a homeschooling parent, and even what to do in an "emergency" when you have suddenly withdrawn your child from a school setting. It's light on philosophy which I found refreshing. In other words it doesn't emphasize religious OR secular based learning. It even offers tips on convincing your parents or in-laws that homeschooling is a good choice for you. I highly recommend it!
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on October 20, 2008
Great book! Several of my friends have asked to read it, it has lots of ideas you can do in your schooling, and helps you understand how to homeschool. Every homeschooler should read it!
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