Real-Life Homeschooling by Rhonda Barfield

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Stars: ****1/2

Atria Books (2002)

This book is the stories of 21 homeschooling or unschooling families across the US. It documents the lives of different kinds of families and shows how they made homeschooling work for them. The name of the chapters gives and idea of what kind of family we are reading about. Some chapters include: Arrested for Homeschooling, Life on a Pacific Island, Homeschooling with a Special Needs Teacher, Christian Americans of African Descent, Homeschooling with ADHD Children, Homeschooling Single, Life with Six Boys and more.

Rhonda Barfield attempts to give us a wide range of lifestyles by showing families living in urban , suburban and rural places, those who focus on religion (different ones) and those who don’t include religion in their lessons, those who have a strict schedule and those who don’t have one at all, those with one child and those with many and those with a carefree experience and those who have run into troubles.

Each story is thorough, showing how and why they got started with homeschooling, how the process has changed over time, what materials if any they use, problems they have encountered and their solutions, their answers to common questions asked by those who don’t homeschool and what they and their children have to say about the homeschool experience. Also each chapter is preceded by a list of children, their location, best advice, worst advice, favourite quote and favourite resources. I found this very handy.

It’s a great book for those considering homeschooling or who maybe know someone who homeschools and wants to know more about it since it shows different approaches. My only criticism is that is showed a lot of families who were Christian and incorporated bible lessons into their child’s studies, one Jewish family and one Holistic family but that’s it. It would have been nice to see some Pagan Homeschooling stories or even more that didn’t focus on teaching religion.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.