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School Choices: What is Best for Your Child? Review by Teri LucasBy Jan Sheble
Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City
P. O. Box 419527
Kansas City, MO 64141
I have to preface this review by saying that this was a really difficult review for me, not because this is such an awful book, but because I must admit, I am profoundly in favor of homeschooling. In her book, School Choices: What is Best for Your Child, Jan Sheble writes that although her work experience was in the Christian school and her own education in the public schools, she is attempting to remain unbiased in her approach. She also states that she has grandchildren who are homeschooled. In addition, she has other grandchildren in Christian schools and still others in the public school system. In that respect, she has heard a lot of the arguments for and against each choice. School Choices is not a definitive resource on the topic, rather a beginning approach to a rather difficult choice for some parents.
The book opens with an introduction of Mrs. Sheble’s credentials, thoughts, and experiences while working in the field of education. She states that any implied advice is purely her opinion and reminds us that our experiences, choices, and situations may change at various times in our lives. With this in mind, she recommends that although we may have one choice predominately in our thoughts, it is wise to explore the other options available. This may not only be of some value to us in the future, but may aid us in understanding the decisions of others as well.
There are four sections: Homeschool, Christian School, Public School, and a section on any or a combination of these choices. Each section has three chapters. Homeschool chapters include “Do Your Homeschool Homework,” “Setting up your Homeschool,” and “Starting Your Homeschool and Keeping it up.” “Considering the Christian School” and “Learning the Public School System” are two of the chapters presented in the other sections. I think the most enlightening section for me was the one on Christian schools. Previously, I had thought that all were accredited as are the public schools. Obviously, the most difficult section for a homeschooler to review was the one on public schools. One assumption that I had trouble accepting was that if 90 percent of all Christians send their children to public schools, they can’t all be wrong. I really enjoyed the last chapter entitled, “Be the Parent.”
Although there were several statements that I personally would refute, overall Mrs. Sheble does a good job of reviewing the possibilities. All in all, School Choices provides a strong overview of the educational options available to parents while stressing both the positive and negative aspectsof each choice.