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Homeschooling: Take a Deep Breath . . . You Can Do This!

Terrie Lynn Bittner
Mapletree Publishing Company

72 N WindRiver Rd.
Silverton ID 83867-0446

This is a "how to begin" homeschool schoolbook. It covers everything from making the decision to homeschool to starting your first year of homeschooling.

Homeschooling: Take a Deep Breath . . . You Can Do This! gives practical advice on how to start homeschooling. The author covers topics such as learning and teaching styles, how to organize, how to teach subjects, how to withdraw your child from school, how to school up to high school graduation, and much more.

Mrs. Bittner's advice comes from her experience homeschooling her three children for over twelve years. She wrote this book to encourage others who are considering or beginning to homeschool.

I found this book interesting and helpful to read. Mrs. Bittner has a casual writing style that makes it easy to read. I enjoyed her insight about preparing to homeschool and on addressing the fears first-time homeschoolers have. She is not judgmental or dogmatic with her opinions on how parents should homeschool their own kids.

On the whole, this book is a good resource for a first-time homeschooler. I recommend this book if you are considering homeschooling or have decided to but are just getting started. She covers so many concerns we have when beginning homeschooling. She lets the average mom know that she doesn't have to be Super Woman to accomplish homeschooling successfully.

I have read many homeschool books and some are okay, others raise "red flags," and then some you recommend to others. I believe I will be recommending this to other first-time homeschoolers, mostly because Mrs. Bittner seems to really understand that each family has to have room to be flexible and to create their own homeschool environment. I read many books where I feel like I will ruin my kids if I don't listen to the author. But in this book I really felt like a friend was just giving me helpful advice gained from her own experiences. I did not sense impending "doom" if I tweaked or ignored her ideas.

Even though I recommend this book, I do so with two cautions. First, this is not written to Christian homeschoolers only. It is written to anyone of any faith desiring to homeschool. Because of this, the book never centers the parent on the truly righteous reasons for homeschooling--to train our children in the way of the Lord. So I would warn the parents not to get too caught up in the schooling part alone. As Christians we need to center our homeschooling and the training of our children on Christ and His will for our families and His church.

My other caution would be on the subject of math. Though I do agree with most of what she says--play games, have fun, etc.--I disagree that math is not a foreign language. I say math is a foreign language. That is why we can translate it into an English sentence structure; it is not English with different symbols. Also, I don't agree with the teaching method of memorizing math facts, since research shows that math is better learned and maintained if it is 95% understood and 5% memorized. Plus she encourages counting skills for learning math. Counting only slows down the process of truly understanding the theory of math and in turn retards the child's ability to apply math in situations outside of a set up math problem. Outside of these concerns, I would recommend this book.

So to conclude, this book is a good resource filled with helpful and encouraging information. I recommend it for all who are considering or starting homeschooling.

Product review by Carissa Ruiz, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, March 2010

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