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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it is still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Homeschooling for Excellence Paperback – October 1, 1988

4.4 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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  • Homeschooling for Excellence
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Role models for a generation of homeschoolers, David and Micki Colfax are teachers turned ranchers who taught their four sons at home in the 1970s and '80s and schooled three of them into Harvard. Isolation on their northern California homestead forced them into the experience, but this resourceful family eventually discovered all kinds of advantages to home education. Like a modern-day Little House on the Prairie, the Colfax children learned about geometry while constructing outbuildings on their ranch, explored aspects of chemistry and biology as they improved their livestock and garden, and generally discovered the value of self-reliance as they went about life without TV or neighbors. Their world is described in clear, warm words that illustrate the fondness these parents and children possess for each other. Family photos grouped throughout the book show the boys working and learning together.

The Colfaxes don't purport to be experts; they don't prescribe a formula for their success. Rather, their experience is described as a trial-and-error effort, with some of their mistakes offered up as lessons for others. The value of critically examining textbooks in advance, for instance, is learned after one son falls behind in algebra using a schoolbook that touts "new math" principles. The Colfaxes' philosophy is that every child is gifted. Parents don't need to be certified teachers to teach them (although it does ward off doubters). But, despite the contention of some homeschoolers, the Colfaxes do caution that teaching at home requires much time and money--and they don't advise it for single parents or most working women. Any parent interested in connecting with his or her child, however, will find the Colfax take on life an enjoyable and enlightening read. The couple closes the book with an appendix of suggested references for building a family library and a delightful list of their children's favorite books. --Jodi Mailander Farrell

Review

"THE CALIFORNIA COLFAXES TEACH THEIR CHILDREN WELL."―Newsweek

"THEIR EFFORTS TO TEACH THEIR CHILDREN THEMSELVES HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL BEYOND MOST PARENTS' DREAMS....Lively and clearly written, Homeschooling for Excellence provides a step-by-step guide...and will make most parents think harder about encouraging their children's interest in learning."―Chicago Tribune
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1st edition (October 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446389862
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446389860
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Burnes on March 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
When I bought "Hard Times in Paradise" and "Homeschooling For Excellence" in 1988, I was pregnant with my only child. I did not think that a federally controlled, compulsory education was healthy, nor did I think that small children should be removed from their parents' care at such an early age. I was hungry for information that would give me a perspective on what to expect. David and Micki Colfax have done a wonderful job of explaining the hits and misses that comprised the raising of their children outside of the standard educational systems. The long term successes of their sons are enough to inspire any parent. Also, the landscape of their homestead is a wonderful backdrop to their lives. I can't recommend their books enough.
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Format: Paperback
We put to use the same reading program they had mentioned in their book. It has been such a blessing to see my children beg me every day to do their school work. We had previously use Hooked-on-Phonics, a disaster. The children hated it, as did I and my husband. It was so awful.
"Homeschooling For Excellence" has been such a help. I never realized that children could love to learn as much as they do!
Don't just read this book. Take their advise! The difference it has made in our lives is amazing and wonderful!
To the authors: Thank you so much.
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Format: Paperback
I very much enjoyed reading this book. I didn't look at it so much as a how-to book but more of an inspirational book for anyone homeschooling or thinking of homeschooling. The authors don't tell you want to do - they just relate what they did, why they did it, and how it worked.

I loved many of the ideas they presented and we have already put one into practice - the idea of having the children write daily in a journal - or even just draw if they can't write yet. This is a big hit with our six year old who every night writes in her book something special that happened that day. What a fun way to learn writing, spelling and grammar skills and we'll be able to look back in later months and years and see how she has progressed.

Even though this book is dated - most of the information and processes are very relevant to today.
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Format: Paperback
When we were trying to decide whether to homeschool our children or not, this book pushed us over the edge into the exciting adventure of home education. The authors' comments and insights about the state of modern public education were eye-opening. The gentle hands-on approach to education they used with their boys enabled their children to attend Harvard University! This is a great book to lend to your skeptical friends and relatives when they start questioning whether homeschooled children will be adequately prepared to function fully in college, the work world, and society at large. Does homeschooling REALLY work? You bet it does! And the Colfax's show you how....
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Format: Paperback
This was the first book about homeschooling I read and all the rest have been disconcerting in comparison.
The Colfaxes present, in matter of fact fasion, how they taught their own. Their motivation for doing so was practical rather than ideological. They don't pretend to tell you how to teach your own children - just how they managed to teach theirs.
The only drawback is that some of the references are out of date - the Colfaxes taught their children in the 70's and 80's. However good sense (I don't say common, because I don't believe it is) will lead interested readers to updated references: Enyclopedias on CD-Rom rather than in book form, for example.
A great book for intelligent parents who suspect that they can teach their child(ren) more effectively than any overworked and underappreciated teacher can.
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Unlike the reviewer who said "Yuck!" about this because she was a Christian homeschooler, I LOVED IT! (And I'm a Christian). In this book, I wasn't looking for "christian" advice on homeschooling. I just wanted to see how these people did it and got their kids into really great schools. I can incorporate my own spiritual twist on things if I want to.

Actually, I did NOT want to homeschool. As the mother of a only child (a whip-smart boy who needed a lot of attention) I was looking forward to FREEEEEDOM and lattes with friends. Well. It was obvious that he would be bored in school. Plus, I didn't like the system telling me when I could vacation. I also didn't want to hold him back (he's doing high school math at age 9). And if my main goal was 'freedom' (a babysitting service) well then, why did I have a child in the first place??? So we started homeschooling. STILL going strong 9 years later! It's been such a rewarding, fun, amazing blessing/experience.

Read it. Try homeschooling. You can always give them back to the government if it doesn't work out ;o)
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This book was highly recommended to me. I read it, took my child out of a prestigious private school, left my successful career and started homeschooling.
4 years later I can only say it was a wise decision. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in homeschooling AND anyone who cares about what happens to their children.
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I am a homeschooling parent and I've read many books on homeschooling and overall was disappointed in this book.
The book is small in size and 142 pages, with large font and good-sized margins. Twenty pages are comprised of lists of books and resources they like. Many of the references are from the 1970s and 1980s, since those were the times they were homeschooling their older children. I wonder how many of these books are out of print and also wonder if better books have been published since. Also these materials are simply in a list format and don't contain any opinions about why they liked that book, what the book is about, etc.
The beginning was a bit confusing to me as they go back and forth in time explaining their life experience. It jumped around from homeschooling to before they had children, and to when their children were in school. It would have been much better if they just started at the beginning in a chronological order.
A chapter on why the government education system in England and America doesn't work is a good introduction to these subjects. Both Colfax's were teachers prior to having children. The Colfax's seem to have firm opinions against government schools yet sent their children there and didn't homeschool until they moved to a rural area and had no other choice. I was surprised that they didn't homeschool from the beginning, it seemed a bit illogical to me to send your child to school when they worked in schools and didn't like what they knew of it. Also they stated they moved to a homestead area with no near school and only after moving did they realize they never considered the education issue for their children. How can someone never think about that? Doesn't every parent think about education issues, school quality, etc. before moving?
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