The Homeschooler's Guide To...

The Homeschooler's Guide To...

Before I begin, you should take a look at the cover of this book. Go ahead—I’ll wait. See the nice little illustrations, the checklist, the wholesome little apple? It lists several awesome topics that I really could use some help with, such as homeschooling children with special needs, music education, community involvement… Suffice to say, I was really looking forward to gleaning much knowledge from the supposed claims The Homeschooler’s Guide to…. makes.

Sad to say, all I really learned was that some homeschooling stereotypes hold true with some works and authors. Rather than the information that I needed, all that Vicki Caruana really provided me with were the common beliefs about homeschooling that used to turn me away from it, cringing and coughing up blood.

At least now I’m seasoned enough to realize that this author does not speak for all homeschoolers across America, but her inclusion of so much religious and military propaganda still enforce the idea that many homeschoolers are nothing more than mind controlling breeders who only wish to shelter their kids from anything non-religious, send them off to die for their country, or make them become breeders in turn.

I love the freedom that homeschooling allows, the way it lets you question everything, especially the answers.  But there’s not even much evidence that Caruana—who, to be fair, doesn’t spout off all of this propaganda on her own; rather, she allows it to be included in her compiled guide—supports diversity in homeschooling methods at all. In fact, much of her advice involves doing what your kid’s going to do at school, simply at home. This leads me to believe that the purpose for homeschooling, according to Caruana and Co., is simply to provide itemized religious instruction.

Take the very first section for example. It covers testing and evaluations. Cool, I think, maybe she’ll cover the fact that standardized tests can be detrimental to learning, can have an opposite intended effect on children, can be useless and that many colleges are even dropping their ACT/SAT requirements. The joke was on me, however, as the merits of standardized tests were provided, as well as ways to get your homeschooled kid into them. Wow—how revolutionary.

If you’re homeschooling to avoid the status quo rather than simply repeat it in your own home, I’d stay clear of this book. It’s not going to be much help to you. I certainly didn’t find much merit in it—though there was one organization for children with special needs I was happy to take note of. If you’re looking for a guide to a lot of different homeschooling issues, I’d recommend The Homeschooling Book of Lists.