Prior to that day, I did a great deal of reading and researching and fretting about the options and alternatives available to us. Don't get me wrong. Mr Wrath was definitely involved in the process. But while we divide the household chores and parenting duties equally and according to skill, not sex, the bulk of homeschooling is done by or instigated by me. It was me who trawled websites, checked out library books, and asked casual acquaintances if I could visit their homes and see homeschooling in action.
I sat down yesterday to write up a list of resources for a friend who's considering homeschooling her young sons. "This might make a good blog post," I thought to myself and start brainstorming topics. Turns out it's going to make for a good SERIES of blog posts. Today I'm going to start with...
Books to Kick-Start
Your Dreams of Homeschooling.
My three favourite homeschool books:
Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense, by David GutersonI'd always been intrigued by homeschooling, but this book helped affirm my beliefs. More importantly, it convinced Mr Wrath that homeschooling was feasible for our family.
The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook, by Dr Raymond and Dorothy Moore."Chill out, you're doing fine" is the theme for this book. I find it very comforting even though I'm not a follower of Moore's formula (unschool until age 8 to 12, then start more formal lessons).
The Well Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education At Home, by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie WiseFull of timelines and resources for classical education (personally, I wouldn't know a Latin declensions if it bit me on my gluteus maximus), it also has practical tips about scheduling lessons and timelines of skill development.
Books that I consulted and found helpful but don't recommend purchasing:
The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas: 500+ Fun and Creative Learning Activities, by Linda DobsonPart of making the mental shift to homeschooling is recognizing moments for subversive learning. This book is great for showing how to find and exploits these possibilities.
Mary Pride's Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling by Mary Pride.Disclaimer: Mary Pride is an anti-feminist, Quiverfull pioneer and her books are -- in my opinion -- propaganda for her ultra-conservative, political agenda. However, this particular title has great bare-bones descriptions of homeschooling educational philosophies (ie, unschooling, Classical, Charlotte Manson, eclectic, Montessori, Moore Formula, Reggio Emelia, unit studies, Waldorf and school-at-home).
Books not explicitly about homeschooling, but worth a read to shore up opinions about formal education, and gender roles:
Queen Bees & Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends & Other Realities of Adolescence, by Rosalind Wiseman
Whenever someone brings up the "But what about socialization?" question, I think of this book and know that schools don't ensure a child is conversant in social niceties. Quiet frankly, I sometimes marvel that children emerge from 12 years of school with even the remotest notion of how to interact with other humans.
Queen Bee Moms & Kingpin Dads: Dealing with the Parents, Teachers, Coaches, and Counselors Who Can Make--or Break--Your Child's Future, by Rosalind WisemanA great exploration of how adults are a huge factor in the shit storm that is today's formal school system.
Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture, by Peggy OrensteinThis book should be read by all parents, not just those with daughters. We will all reap the ill-affects of multi-national corporations teaching little girls that beauty trumps intelligence and stuff is better than substance.
NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children, by Po Bronson and Ashley MerrymanAre we parenting with our eyes wide shut?
Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences, by Leonard SaxBoys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men by Leonard Sax
These books killed my long held belief that nurture trumps nature. But acknowledging the differences between the sexes does not mean we can't strive for equality between the boys and girls.
The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do, by Peg TyreI read this book in 2009, and when I talked about it afterward people scoffed. Then last year the Globe & Mail ran a six-part series called Failing Boys that exposed how the Canadian education system's gender bias neglects boys.
The Myth of Ability: Nurturing Mathematical Talent in Every Child, by John Mighton
We use literacy rates as a measure for a nations' educational success, but numeracy is just as important. Mighton is also the creator of the math curriculum we use with our sons.
"Are there any books about homeschooling in Canada?," you might now be wondering. As far as I can tell: no. But there are some online resources:
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Any books that helped you when you were considering homeschooling? Please post your suggestions in the comment section of this post.