Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Homeschool Experiment -A Review-

What They Say:

Julianne Miller feels God nudging her to homeschool her three children. The only problem is, she has no idea what she’s doing. Julianne was her high school valedictorian, graduated from college with honors, and had a successful career in the business world. How hard could first grade possibly be?
Her plans and schedules all look so good on paper. But when it comes to avoiding her preschooler’s public meltdowns, keeping her toddler alive and in a clean diaper, and getting through the morning without everyone dissolving in tears, Julianne is thinking she might not be quite up to the task.
Can her co-op friends help her before she loses her mind or ruins her children for good? Or should she give up this crazy idea and prove her mother-in-law right?
With refreshing humor and honesty, Charity Hawkins offers moms encouragement in their noble work at home, a chance to laugh at the moments only a mom would understand, and a reminder to cherish those gifts right under their roofs— those wild, irrational, precious people—their own children. And though the book deals with homeschooling, it addresses the larger question, “What happens when you feel called to do something that seems entirely too big for you?”
Todd Wilson, “The Familyman,” a popular homeschool speaker and author, wrote the forward for the book. “It’s not always pretty… and that’s why my wife likes this book. It tells it like it is and serves as a reminder that she’s not alone in her struggles and frustrations. When you read it from someone else’s perspective, it helps you to laugh and see things more clearly.” 
“This book was written for homeschooling moms.” Hawkins says, “They can read it, laugh, cry, and be encouraged. Then, they can have a great discussion with their friends—there’s a homeschool group study guide included in the back—or pass it on to a younger mom coming along behind them. It’s the perfect first book for those just starting out. It’s sort of like living in the house of a homeschool family for a year. You see the daily challenges, but also the beautiful rewards.” 

My Take On It: 
If I didn't know any better I'd say author, Charity Hawkins, was peeking in my windows and following me around. How does she know so much about my life?! I can so relate to Julianne Miller in this story. We have a similar situation in our household with an older son, 4 yr old child, and a younger one. Daniel reminded me so much of my son.
Jules, with the encouragement from her husband, decides she is going to homeschool her children.  She wonders if this is the right thing to do for her children. She goes through the whole "which curriculum do I buy?" thing which hit close to home. I got opinions from everyone about what they liked best. I ended up getting books from a few different curriculums. 
She made a schedule, she fixed the classroom up very nicely, and she had everything ready to start school. Great plans and ideas were thought out. Then school starts....yes, been there and done that! Things don't work out as great as they did in her head. After a few months she starts wondering if maybe she wasn't cut out to homeschool. HELLO!!! Doesn't every homeschooling mom have these thoughts at least once during this period?! I know I did a few times. Like Julianne, I thought we would get so far behind and my son wasn't going to be as smart as all the kids his age that go to a regular school. I still struggle sometimes, but thank God for His peace!
We started off our school year with a schedule and a couple months into it we had a whole new way of keeping track of our work and the ways it got done. It turned from "this is what we are going to do every day" to "this is what we got done today."
One of my favorite paragraphs in the book, "Homeschooling is a lot like my garden. It's messy. My method seems haphazard. I am learning as I go. It rarely turns out exactly as I planned and the results are unpredictable. At some point along the way, I feel like a failure. But somehow the roots go down deep; the tender plants grow strong. And every single spring, every single summer, I am awed by the harvest God brings." This little paragraph really spoke to me. It may be because we are in the process of growing our garden, I don't know. I just really relate to this!
I recommend this book to any and every homeschooling family. You are not alone out there. We all go through some of the same things. This really brings everything close to home. 
A little testimony from me: I started doing some child care for a friend and was starting to worry about my son's homeschooling. I decided I would enroll him in a virtual school so he wouldn't fall behind. That lasted a whole 2 months. While I was reading this book I got convicted! Well, maybe convicted is a strong word to use. I just knew I had given up and I was wrong in my decision. I didn't seek God first before I chose to do this. How could I do this to my son? He wasn't loving it after the 1st week because we had so much makeup work to do. I stopped doing the childcare and decided we were going back to homeschooling our way. My son woke up early the next day excited about school. "When are we doing school today?!" That just helped me and confirmed that what I did was the right thing. Thank God for this book that helped me realize my children weren't going to suffer from lack of knowledge if we didn't do "school" EVERY day, or get to every subject I have planned. This is a very encouraging novel. I received at just the right moment. God knew I needed this.
You can find this book, The Homeschool Experiment, at amazon.com for your Kindle or the paperback version. Take a look inside the book here. You can also purchase at Familyman Ministries and and homeschool conventions across the country.

Make sure you “Like” this book on Facebook for the updated list of conference locations and dates. Re-pin on Pinterest to help spread the word. (This book’s marketing is very much a grassroots effort, so if you read it and like it, let other moms know!)

Join the discussion at the book’s blog: www.thehomeschoolexperiment.com . Enter a comment in the discussion section for a chance to win a $50 Amazon.com gift card and a signed copy of the book.

Charity Hawkins is a pen name, because the real author wrote candidly about her family’s life and wants to protect their privacy, because she doesn’t want to be famous, and because no one can pronounce or spell her real name. She does actually exist, however, and lives with her husband and three actual children in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They are in their fourth year of homeschooling.

I received this book from the author for my honest review.

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