Posted on July 13, 2015
Book Review: Approaches to Christian Homeschooling
I heard about Kerry Beck’s new book, Approaches to Christian Homeschooling through her website, How to Homeschool My Child. I have previously listened to several of her webinars, including Putting Christ Back Into Christmas, and I already have her e-book, Raising Leaders Not Followers. She is the mother of 3 adult children, whom she homeschooled for 10 years.
What is covered in the book?
Kerry says that Approaches to Christian Homeschooling will suit both those who are considering homeschooling, or just beginning it, and also mums who are already home educating their children, who perhaps are feeling stuck in a rut, or needing fresh encouragement or vision for their homeschool. I would agree that Approaches to Homeschooling definitely fits the bill for parents in all of these circumstances.
Mrs. Beck begins Approaches to Christian Homeschooling by encouraging the reader to address the question, “What is education?”, to think through their own philosophy of education, and what their goals will be in homeschooling. The reader is then encouraged to answer these questions in a ‘Homework’ section at the end of the chapter, to help think through, and flesh out their ideas, and how they plan to implement these in their particular family situation. This ‘Homework’ section is repeated at the end of each chapter throughout the book, and I found it helpful in cementing what I had been reading, and also in clarifying what my goals and purposes are in our family’s homeschool.
The main part of the book covers the different approaches to homeschooling themselves; the Traditional Textbook Approach, the Charlotte Mason Approach, the Unit Study Approach, the Biblical Principle Approach, and Unschooling- the Resource Rich Approach. Kerry addresses each of these different methods of homeschooling by describing what they entail, discussing their strengths and weaknesses, and suggesting interesting ways in which that approach could be used in a family’s homeschool, for example, adapting the traditional textbook approach to make it more personalised to the child, and to encourage more self-directed learning than a textbook approach would normally do. She also answers commonly asked questions about the approaches.
She includes anecdotes from her own family’s experiences, and the use of mentoring. One of my favourite suggestions that Kerry makes is that of having a reading journal for each member of the family, and she gives recommendations on how to use this in a helpful way. This is an idea that I would really like to implement for our family. She explains Charlotte Mason’s motto, ‘I am, I can, I ought, I will’ from a biblical point of view, and discusses the importance of narration to the Charlotte Mason Approach. Kerry also includes lists of her family’s recommended living books in a bonus supplement.
The only possible negative point I found in the book was that Kerry goes into a lot of depth about Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) products, particularly in the questions section at the end of the Classical Approach chapter, which were way beyond my budget, even if shared by our four children over their entire homeschooling ‘career’. However, this was only a small section out of the whole book, and I realise that Kerry is recommending IEW products because she has had such a positive experience with them.
As I read through the book, in addition to answering the ‘Homework’ questions at the end of each chapter, I was also making lots of notes, as Kerry recommends lots of read aloud books and resources that I would like to investigate for myself.
I would wholeheartedly recommend Kerry Beck’s book Approaches to Christian Homeschooling to both new home educating parents, or those considering homeschooling, and also homeschooling parents who need encouragement in re-establishing the direction and purpose of their family’s homeschool. I have homeschooled our children for 8 years now, yet I learned a lot about Christian homeschooling approaches from this book, and it has given me fresh encouragement for the next school year.
Approaches to Christian Homeschooling is available as paperback from Amazon.com (affiliate link) in the United States, or readers from the UK and elsewhere can download the e-book version directly from Kerry’s website How to Homeschool My Child (not an affiliate link). If you purchase the book during the launch period of July 15th – 18th 2015, you will also receive $160 worth of bonus resources including 7 video workshops.
For writing this Book Review: Approaches to Christian Homeschooling post, I received a free Kindle version copy of the book. However, I was not required to give a positive review, and all the opinions I have given are completely my own.
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