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Homeschooling for Success: How Parents Can Create a Superior Education for Their Child    by Barbara Kochenderfer & Elizabeth Kanna order for
Homeschooling for Success
by Barbara Kochenderfer
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2002 (2002)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Anise Hollingshead

Homeschooling, previously a quiet movement of parents dissatisfied with traditional schooling, has fast become a national schooling trend across America. Due to the perseverance of parents in the early years, homeschooling is now widely accepted among mainstream families. As a result of the increasing popularity of this movement, many parents are asking themselves if homeschooling is a choice for their families, but are unsure of how to begin or where to go to get information. Fortunately, there are many books on this subject that cover all facets of this important decision. The founders of, a successful website for homeschooling, have teamed together to write Homeschooling for Success, a book that introduces the idea of homeschooling as a viable choice and offers helpful information for beginners.

The book begins with a cheerleading section on how every home and every parent can, indeed, homeschool successfully. There is a list of 'The Ten Most Important Things You Need to Know About Homeschooling', with common misconceptions listed. I especially liked the 'You will not have to teach Algebra unless you want to' listing, which basically tells parents to relax - if they're math-challenged, there's always someone else to teach it for them (I personally love math, it's the knowledge that there are other options available for a parent's weak areas that is liberating!) The book moves on to help for the beginners, education for younger children and teenagers, college readiness and 'uncollege', then to subjects like working parents and school at home, different learning styles of children and online resources. Finally, there is another motivational chapter on why every parent should consider homeschooling, then a list of helpful resources for families, such as homeschooling how-to books, curriculum choices and distance learning.

Because this book covers a wide range of topics, each subject is treated more as a survey, than as an in-depth discourse. The main thrust of the book is the message that anyone can homeschool, it doesn't require a degree in rocket science, nor does it have to be a last ditch effort to save a child from school problems. It can be a choice made for families with positive experience in school, but who want something more than a traditional school can offer. There are personal testimonies and stories scattered throughout which demonstrate various successes different families have had. As in most books of this type, there are only positive stories, no negative ones. This is understandable, as the whole idea is to promote homeschooling, but in homeschooling, there is sometimes a defensive tendency to only present the perfect side of the whole issue. As a homeschooling mom, I can state from personal experience that not all kids love homeschooling, and some actually prefer attending a public school! Now, whether the education they receive there is as good or better than home is debatable, but that doesn't change the fact that they are not miserable, stifled or otherwise emotionally distanced from their school setting. That said, I firmly believe that just because a kid likes something, it doesn't mean it's good for them; school is a family decision.

Homeschooling for Success is especially good for beginning homeschoolers, as it presents different styles and methods in a brief manner which is not overwhelming, and goes on to discuss the most important aspect of homeschool, which is that each child is different, and that a successful curriculum is devised around that idea. If a child loves worksheets and textbooks, great! If not, that's great, too! Learning can come from many different methods and sources, and is not a 'one size fits all' proposition. There is a list of resources in the back of various curriculums, but there are many very good providers that have been omitted for reasons that are unclear, as the authors don't state why they've selected the companies they did. I assume it's from personal preference. Readers should be aware that there are a myriad other choices, as well, which can be found at various homeschool sites and searches on the Internet.

While this book is really geared for beginning homeschoolers, there is also a benefit to long-time practioners for motivational purposes. I've homeschooled for several years, and found some good advice on letting each child learn in their own way, and that not every child fits the 'norm' for verbal/math learning so loved by our school systems. As I'm a poster child for the traditional student, it's sometimes hard for me to understand the differences in my youngest daughter, who is a creative, hands-on learner. For anyone contemplating homeschooling, Homeschooling for Success is a great place to begin, and it has also helped me re-focus on the more important issues in our own homeschool.

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