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Optimistic Outcomes: What Every Parent Wants and Every Child Needs Review by Courtney Larson

Maureen McKay
Optimistic Outcomes
(952) 223-4525
15000 Wychewood Road
Minnetonka, MN 55345

Optimistic Outcomes: What Every Parent Wants and Every Child Needs is a book full of ideas and tips for parents. It isn't meant to be read cover to cover like a normal book; instead it is spiral bound and stands up for easy reference on your counter or desk so that you can easily flip to a tip to help solve the problem at hand. It also includes a CD Rom that contains printable materials.

This book is divided into 9 different categories: Study Strategies, Language Arts, Math, Memorization, Projects, Life Skills, Test Taking, Communication, and Parenting. Listed on each category's divider is an index of all the different ideas in that category. There are 240 tips included in this book, and 180 printables on the CD Rom. Each page includes a different icon that reflects which of the three basic learning styles (auditory, visual, and kinesthetic) the tip is best suited for. It is very easy to navigate, and a very interesting idea; however it is not written specifically for homeschoolers, and I thought that many of the tips were more applicable to parents of children in a traditional school than to parents who homeschool their children.

I have had this product sitting on my shelf for three months of school. I haven't referred to it once in the course of a school day. I really like the idea of this product, but found that the tips just weren't helpful to me as a homeschooling mom. For example, the tips in the Study Strategy section give you ideas for helping your child with homework. Many of the other tips seemed to be geared towards a parent helping a child with assignments they bring home from school, and were things that I already do as my child's teacher. There are 49 tips on test taking, and 21 tips on communicating with your child's school and teacher.

In the subject-specific categories (language arts, math, and memorization), there were some interesting ideas that I could apply to our homeschool (tips on helping children learn their spelling words or how to help them break down word problems, for example). However, this makes up a small portion of the book, and with a price tag of $29.99 I cannot recommend this book for homeschoolers.

Product Review by Courtney Larson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May, 2009