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Homeschool Sanity -- Large Family Mothering Review by Christine Hindle

Sherry Hayes
Large Family Mothering

This is a downloadable e-book in PDF format. Sherry Hayes has been homeschooling a large family for a number of years (some of her children are still small and some are now raising children of their own). In this book, she tells us about the conclusions she has drawn about homeschooling from her many years of experience. She has tried just about everything out there, and has settled on a simple formula that includes: copying, dictation, memorization, recitation & narration, and composition.

Educating many children at different levels, while maintaining a household, is a big task. Sherry says order comes first in the household. Also, when Dad is home, flexibility is necessary to accommodate his needs and desires. Sherry advocates daily Bible reading as the most important part of each child's education. Over the years she has developed a preference for older textbooks like the original McGuffey Readers (available from Mott Media), Living Books, Atlases (for Geography), poetry anthologies, Mother Goose rhymes, and some history texts, which were written before political correctness and revisionist history became the norm. She also uses hymns, drawing, nature study, and teaches basic life skills in her daily lessons. She has been influenced by some of the greats, such as Charlotte Mason, Ruth Beechick, Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore, Merilyn Howshall, and John Taylor Gatto. Sherry believes that daily writing and revising opportunities are more important than a formal grammar study, but she uses some classic textbooks, such as Harvey's Elementary Grammar, and Pinneo's Primary Grammar for her older children. For Science, Sherry recommends nature study (complete with notebooking) and creation science. She mentions Apologia Science as a source. Above all, Sherry touts organization as being a key factor in surviving this pursuit, and gives practical examples of pages that can be used to achieve this. She also gives sample notebook pages that can be printed for use. At the end of the book, she provides a reading list for further information.

I would recommend that homeschool families who are trying to establish a suitable program read through Sherry's ideas and adopt what works for them. It certainly gave me a lot to think about. I have been homeschooling for a number of years, and have some of my own things that work. However, I only teach two children, which is not a large number, so I would have to adapt if my circumstances changed. I am definitely going to look into some of the books suggested here.

Product Review by Christine Hindle, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2012