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You've Decided to Homeschool, Now What? Review by Camilla Anderson

By Marsha Hubler
Master Books
PO Box 726
Green Forest, AR 72638

This 130-page softcover book is a guide for new homeschooling families. It provides overall homeschooling "how to" information and helps answer common questions. It includes tips for setting up a homeschool program, suggestions for staying organized and disciplined, sample documents, and helpful websites. The book also discusses legal issues, family issues, and more.

Unfortunately, I found this book to be quite lacking in regards to its intended purpose. Although the book makes an attempt to cover different homeschooling styles, curricula, and organizational techniques, this information is very sparse and used only as a fleeting introduction to the author's specific opinions. Most of the information in the book seems limited to the author's personal preferences about the best way to organize, plan, and carry out homeschooling. The author's checklists are very specific and are not practical or suitable to all families or state regulations, including items such as "Review quarterly the state requirements for attendance and curriculum and evaluate if you are fulfilling the requirements," and "Purchase a three-ring binder with colored tab dividers, one for each of the child's subjects." Other organizational tips are limited to the mere suggestion of how to label file folders in a filing cabinet (and only one suggestion is given). The curriculum help section only briefly lists the basic subjects to cover at each grade level. The list is identical for nearly all grades (8 basic subjects) and barely suggests a scope and sequence. The author indicates that you must give your child an achievement test before beginning homeschooling to determine their "grade level," and she also makes confusing statements, such as, "Textbooks for every year MUST be prescribed on child's performance level contingent on achievement test results." The author, apparently from Pennsylvania, uses that state's regulations as her only example. The suggested outlines and checklists are very weak and "empty," and they provide very little helpful information.

The one slightly helpful chapter in the book is titled "Helpful Resources for Parents." It lists several other homeschooling "how to" books as well as some helpful websites. At a quick glance, however, I could see that some of the best and most popular resources were not on the list. A quick Internet search or simple inquiry with any experienced homeschooling family would guide one to the same, if not better, information. However, this chapter could at least prompt an Internet search so that a family could find better help than what is offered in this book.

In summary, the best information this book had to offer can be written in one sentence: "Locate a local homeschooling support group and attend your nearest state convention." I am surprised that Masterbooks, an up-and-coming publisher that carries many reputable and fine homeschooling products, considered this book worthy of publishing.

Product review by Camilla Anderson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2008