Home Schooling book review: Catholic Education: Homeward Bound

I think this was the first book recommended to me and along with Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum was one of the first two books I’ve purchased.

Catholic Education: Homeward Bound : A Useful Guide to Catholic Home Schooling by Kimberly Hahn and Mary Hasson is a great basic resource for any Catholic considering homeschooling. Discusses the Church’s teaching that parents are the primary educators of their children and how that teaching supports the decision to homeschool. Refutes the common objections to homeschooling, encourages parents that you don’t have to be trained as a teacher or even have a college degree to be successful as a home schooler, discusses issues like the father’s role in homeschooling, catholic family life, character formation, how to cope with babies and toddlers while teaching older children, etc.

I found this book very easy to read and it has an upbeat even humorous tone, as I’ve found everything by both Scott and Kimberly—all the chapter titles follow the typical Hahn pattern: very punny. The authors offer gentle encouragement, not shrill exhorations, and use plenty of citations from Church documents and the bible to support their arguments. Also many anecdotes from homeschooling parents make the book feel well-rounded.

However, this book wasn’t really what I was looking for at this time. I had already considered and discussed most of the issues with Dom and others and I felt like most of the time the book was simply restating arguments I’d already rehearsed in my head to my own satisfaction(albeit with much greater grace and style and much more thorough treatment), giving me information I already knew. I know I’m particularly well-informed about homeschooling and had given it much thought, so this isn’t meant to be a slam against the book, just an observation about where I am in my own explorations. I’m more interested in the nitty gritty details of curricula, textbooks, lesson plans, activity ideas, time management strategies, etc. All of which topics CEHB does touch on, but because it is a general book I think I’ll better find what I’m looking for in books with a narrower focus. Like Berquist’s book. Hahn and Hasson do each include lists of resources they have found helpful, but these are generalized lists, not divided by grade level and there is not a detailed discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of each book.

Still this is the first place I’d look for arguments to answer objections people raise and it would probably be the one book I’d give to a friend who was just starting to think about the possibility of homeschooling or to any friends or family members who had objections to the idea.

One Response to Home Schooling book review: Catholic Education: Homeward Bound

  1. Katherine March 26, 2006 at 10:10 am #

    I know what you mean. My husband and I just had our first child in January. Unfortunately for me, I got more frustrated with people’s comments and advice towards the end of my pregnancy. My favorite was always telling me how my life was going to change. All I could think was, of course my life is going to change. I’d be worried if it didn’t. And anyone who has a baby and doesn’t expect their life to change wasn’t ready to be a parent to begin with. Our daughter turned 8 weeks today and every week has been different. Yet despite our daughter demanding a lot of attention and time (she used to insist on being held even when she slept for hours), it has gotten easier. If she takes a nap in her swing, I can clean. If she wants me to hold her while she naps, I can check news online, or read a book, or read your blogs! I’m a first time mom and wasn’t as fortunate as you to have sisters-in-law to share their experiences with me, but one thing I’ve learned is that just like the time one spends with their baby is what they make of it, so is the time they spend doing other things. While I’d be surprised if you found time to read during that first week home, I’d also be surprised if you didn’t find time to read shortly thereafter.

    God Bless.

    Katherine

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