I am a parent who homeschools. In an effort to provide the best education possible for my children I have developed a ravenous appetite for literature promoting this particular lifestyle. There are a number of fantastic books out there on the subject, some better than others of course. One book has really taken center stage and become the foundation for my philosophy and approach. I am speaking about Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything by Laura Grace Weldon. Free Range was published by Hohm Press in Prescott, Arizona.
I am going to cut straight to the chase on this one. This book is hands down the best book I have read in regards to homeschooling. It is difficult for me to imagine a more comprehensive collection of work on the subject. This 304 page book is arranged in two distinct portions. The first section of the book delves into the philosophy and benefits of homeschooling. I suppose this description is extremely general in nature. Free Range covers everything from an overview of natural learning to the importance of play. For me personally when I stumble in confidence or approach this section tends to be incredibly uplifting and inspirational. It reminds me why our family chose this particular path and to embrace the entire journey as a success. It helps me recognize the positive results in all of our actions.
The second section of the book deals primarily with breaking down specific avenues of education. Everything is covered from field trips to business and critical thinking, the arts and volunteerism. There are literally hundreds of hands on activities included as well. One of the aspects of the book that I really appreciated is that the vast majority of the ideas can be accomplished on a limited budget. Another real benefit is the author is able to find an educational moment in all aspects of daily living. Catch is she points out some things that I could have been doing that I simply overlooked on occasion due to the day to day hustle of life such as learning how to vote with your dollar or taking math to the store. Now our family does both.
I hope I am not painting this book as a dry educational manual because it is not. One beautiful aspect of this book are all the testimonials by homeschooling parents and their children which are delicatly woven through out the text. It displays a sense of humor and connection when you find yourself relating to some of the very specific issues presented by the families who provided their input. On some level it may be the most important contribution of the book, which says a lot since the entire book is a valuable tool.
I cannot say enough positive things about this book. It has really become the backbone of my technique. I read and reread Free Range Learning and every time I pick it up I find myself inspired to do more for my children. One of the hidden gems of homeschooling is the education of the adult working with the children and this book is a must have in that regard.
I purchased my copy on Amazon.com If you prefer to go directly to the publishers website you can find it at www.hohmpress.com Laura Grace Weldon also has an interactive facebook page called Free Range Learning that I highly recommend as well.
Tobias Whitaker also blogs for Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine. You can also find him on Facebook at Seed To Harvest: Bossy Hen Homestead which is a central location for his homesteading blogs and his homeschooling blog, A Mile In Her Shoes: Tales Of A Stay-At Home Dad .