This book is a quick reference guide for anyone considering homeschool; it covers some of the misconceptions and common concerns about homeschooling. Being general and concise it is a text that gives the reader a simple idea about homeschool, both initiating it and continuing it through and up to college. If you are considering homeschooling make this part of your inventory for investigating this avenue. The book, as said before, is concise, it is merely 178 pages long, but continues with three very salutary appendices constituting a homeschooling resource guide, homeschooling support groups in each state and lastly, a brief summary of state laws for every state. This book will get you started, but it should supplement your desire to understand homeschooling.
Pros and/or Agreements:
The appendices are, by my opinion, the most valuable asset in the book. This material is something that will give you a relative idea of where begin and some local resources in understanding your rights and different options you may have.
This book does not portray homeschool as the salvation of the human race, but does place emphasis on how it strengthens family bonds-which it does emphatically-and it even identifies that homeschoolers do have flaws, such as math being "an area where homeschoolers aren't knocking the ball out of the park" (79). This statement identifies that even though homeschool has statistically proven to outperform both public and private schooled children, it shows that they are not impregnable to some degree normality.
Praise must be given to them for their efforts of making the book somewhat secular. As it is known, we are a melting pot culture with a variety of spiritual and cultural paths, and even some are atheistic. Kochenderfer and Kanna do a very admirable job of relieving this book of Christian bias, which may disturb some fundamentalists, but it is a reflection that they realize that Christians are not the only culture who is attracted and interested in homeschool.
Cons and/or Disagreements:
Personally for me the context of the book is very murky, too concise and very general with a reading level for six years olds. This could be due to the brevity they take on each subject, and this possibly was intended to be the end result. To me this book does not make a convincing case for homeschooling your child which is why I said it should supplement your trek to understand homeschooling. Some other titles that should be considered as well are John Taylor Gatto's "Dumbing Us Down" (actually, any of Gatto's material is good, considering he was an exceptional public school teacher), Rick Boyer's "The Socialization Trap" (good theme on the socialization misconception, but some tangent arguments I disagree with), Sheldon Richman's "Separating School & State" (best book on the schooling theory that I have read) and Marlin Maddox's "Public Education Against America" (good review of some politics affecting schools, but some tangent arguments I disagree with).
This book does not place enough of emphasis on college. I will be the first to champion the FACT that one can learn better on its own with a passion for literature and love of wisdom, but unfortunately the masses does not have these qualities. I support companies moving toward requiring college degrees, because there is still much to learn. When I left high school the bulk of my knowledge was acquired from independent research, desire to learn and the love of literature, but as a current college student the structured environment has aided me in its on regard. Anyone who contends with furthering an education has no ground for argument, but if your argument is based on the fact that you can get the same or better education independently I both agree and disagree. The masses of this country does not read, and the ones that do usually are biased to a particular genre or subject, so those of us that read extremely diverse and abundant genres and subjects are even rarer, to me that is the true essence of acquiring knowledge-abundance and diversity. Nonetheless, continuing education for the public is a necessity and I support the rising climate change for collegiate education. Through furthering our education we make the Universe more intelligent; we make our music more intelligent; we make our movies more intelligent; we make our business more intelligent; we make our science more intelligent; we make our art more intelligent; we make our politics more intelligent; we make the whole of humanity and all of its creative byproducts more intelligent. This cannot be compromised, because Novelty needs stimulation to come into Fruition. Why do you think book burnings have such powerful symbolic imagery?!
Personal Opinion (Optional):
I have been homeschooling for two years now and there is now way I can deny the benefits. Personally, I think there should be a complete counter-culture against the assembly line education that is merely concerned with a "sellable" product rather a desired product. Explaining what homeschool affords the family is ineffable. For what I can place into words, the bonds of the family are strengthened to exponential proportions, which is not obtainable with traditional school. I am not saying that bonds are impossible in the public school scenario, I am simply saying to the extent that homeschool allows, because your children are at home 24/7, besides occasional activities and sleepovers. I have learned so much about my child, and because homeschool utilizes time efficiently and effectively there is plenty of time in the day for us to spend time together in play, exploration and in conversation.
The most common defense against homeschool is the ominous word "socialization." This is comical. Initially, since I was a public product (a defective one, my education came during my personal inclination for knowledge), I was concerned about this as well. After reading Rick Boyer's "The Socialization Trap" my opinion on the subject changed drastically. My children are three and six and they are the most sociable children I know. They are not weird. They are not shy. Actually the only way you can differentiate them and "normal" children is that their vocabulary will stand out in play. On the subject of socialization I do not think kids need other kids, this is some form of contortion that has arisen in our culture that I cannot fathom the origin of. In the real world we are exposed to and socialize with individuals of all ages and ranges of cultures and beliefs. We do not segregate by age, or sex for that matter, for a more productive and profitable workforce. On a holistic level I actually think kids need a more diverse social group, which is where they imprint behaviors from. My children are prominently around adults and carry some sophisticated behaviors and cognitions of the world, but at the end of the day they still play video games, with action figures, castles, trucks and cars, watch Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network...etc.; they are not antisocial fundamentalist robots.
One last note on socialization, I have can come to believe that how sociable the child is a reflection of how sociable the parents are. If the parents are closed-minded, pessimistic and paranoid then that is going to reflect a social defect in the child. We do not shelter our children. We are not highly social in the constitution of entertaining friends and going out to social events, but when we do participate in events like such we are very social, and the children obviously pick up on this. Also, if we go to a public event and our children show signs of hesitation (all children do at some point) we coach and encourage them in how to approach the situation, which actually is the most formidable action for anyone, especially adults.
As a point of recognition and suggestion I use "Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School" by Rebecca Rupp for a curriculum. I have used this since the beginning and it is the best secular curriculum out there, which is very hard to find. I employ several methods of the homeschooling theory; I use the traditional theory and the unschooling theory. The traditional approach is important on a holistic level; everyone should have foundations (I profess proficiency in each) in Math, Science, History and English, these avail us on an ontological level. The unschooling portion is a lifestyle where I show my children the interconnectivity of things in their lives and encourage them to investigate and research their interests, be it through internet research or reading books; unschooling for us is the pursuit of self-actualization and self-exploration.
I am not your stereotypical homeschooling parent; I am probably the anti-thesis to that: I am progressive, young, an atheist, college student, a reader (in an abundance and in an indiscriminate fashion of genre and subject), full-time worker, political radical (the two-party system is broken) and I am explicit (in some fashions); I homeschool because it is imperative to reconstitute the modern family; I homeschool because we need to preserve and propagate intelligence, not ignorance; I homeschool because public school is actually a welfare for those who cannot afford the time or intelligence to educate their own children, it is a public service/welfare; I homeschool because I want to assure my child goes to college and benefits the human race with more than just labor; I homeschool my children because I am a parent not an adjunct babysitter for the government's property; but in the end, in this REPUBLIC (not democracy), I have that choice and so do you. - D.R.Thomas