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So You're Thinking About Homeschooling: Fifteen Families Show How You Can Do It! Review by Dr. Heather Allen and Gena Suarez

By Lisa Whelchel
Multnomah Publishers
ISBN: 1-59052-085-5
Paperback/250 pages
$12.00 US $21.50 Canada

"Send the kids outside for recess. Brew up a cup of tea or coffee and settle in with this book because you are in for a real treat!" -- The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Over the last several months we’ve heard about this book on Focus on the Family, however, we hadn’t actually purchased and read it until about two weeks ago. WOW! What a nice (I realize that’s a strange way of describing a book) book. This book is for everyone - the individual wondering what home schooling is all about; the person considering whether home schooling is for their family; the veteran home schooler; and just someone who wants a nice, fun, captivating, enlightening, and sensitive book to read.

I have to admit that I grew up watching every television episode of The Facts of Life, in which Lisa Whelchel played the character, Blair. I’d guess we’re about the same age and I found her character to be fun and interesting to watch as she interacted with the other characters on the show. Lisa has grown up to be a pastor’s wife, home schooling mother, speaker, and author. She’s definitely not in any way like the character she played in The Facts of Life, rather, she’s a real person with a heart for God and an uplifting message for others.

I believe that anyone reading this book will find themselves and others in it. It’s thought-provoking, humbling, and informative. Sometimes I found myself laughing out loud, or just stopping to consider the message being presented as I read. I loved her treatment of the socialization controversy, where she quoted Mary Beth Nelsen, when asked if socialization was a problem or her family, as saying, “We did tend to over-socialize when we first started homeschooling, but I think we have it under control now.” I also loved her treatment of magazine articles on home schooling families that tend to sound like the following, “While Junior prepares for his meeting with the mayor to discuss community service opportunities for local youth, I grind wheat harvested from the back forty to make fresh pasta for dinner while helping my kindergartener memorize the periodic table of elements” (p.44). That’s not anything like our family, and I’d hazard a guess that your family is not quite like that either. If so, then this is the book for you. A real book, about real people, with real problems and real struggles.

If you want a good, uplifting book to read, So You’re Thinking About Homeschooling: Fifteen Families Show How You Can Do It! by Lisa Whelchel, is the one I’d recommend. Better yet, come on over, stay for a while and visit, and maybe we’ll have one on our shelf to send with you. Happy reading.

--Product Review by: Dr. Heather Allen, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

From the Publishers:

Lisa Whelchel has been a household name for decades. As Blair on The Facts of Life, she brought humor and lightheartedness to millions. What's Lisa up to these days? Plenty, and it might surprise you!

Whelchel has written a number of books, including Creative Correction and The Facts of Life (and Other Lessons My Father Taught Me). The Old Schoolhouse Magazine was honored to receive a galley proof of Lisa's newest work of art, So You're Thinking About Homeschooling (Multnomah). Send the kids outside for recess. Brew up a cup of tea or coffee and settle in with this book because you are in for a real treat!

I've never spoken with Lisa and I've never read any of her books. I have, however, seen probably every episode of Facts of Life, because I “grew up” with Lisa (we are close to the same age). The theme song is running through my mind now, even as we speak. When I found out Lisa was a homeschooler, I was excited. You hear so much negativity in the Hollywood realm where child stars don't oftentimes end up so jolly. Not only is Blair a Christian, but a homeschool mom! How exciting was this to discover? We promptly scheduled an interview with Lisa (see Summer '03 issue).

Now, that's just great; Lisa is a Christian and homeschool mom. Does that mean this automatically makes her a writer? Sure, she has a story to tell, and there's a big enough audience to appeal to with her popularity. But -- does this mean she can actually write? Is she boring? Full of herself? Too good to be true?

No "into-herself-ism" here! She's down to earth, fun - a real friend. She sincerely tells her own story, what works for her, and then introduces you to a number of families who will also make you laugh and breathe easy that you are not alone. She's actually a GIFTED writer; I really like her style and philosophies.

Lisa is absolutely hilarious; however, she's also very real. I felt as though we were sitting across the table from one another as she easily dialogs in her book with the reader. The words fly off the pages. I was drawn into all the energy.

The book's purpose is to introduce you to all the beautiful diversity out there. Also, it purposes to encourage homeschoolers in their journeys, no matter where they are on the trail. There is no one way only to homeschool (something our magazine stresses in its own vision). You'll meet all sorts of people and enjoy interesting scenarios. Another thing that made me happy was the fact that she represents a good number of the ever-increasing homeschool methodologies available in her book. Again, there is no one right way to do it, and she captures this essence well. Perfect for the newbie homeschooler, veteran, and anyone in between. Ten stars on a scale of one tofive -- Well done, Lisa!

-- Product Review by Gena Suarez, Co-Publisher, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine