In the past weeks, I've been slowly reading through "The Homeschooling Handbook" by Mary Griffith. Even though I haven't finished it yet, I thought I'd let you know I found it a great source of useful information.
It covers a wide range of practical subjects concerning homeschooling, important for a beginner who knows almost nothing about it - starting from various approaches, or a mix of them, used by different families, homeschooling settings and materials, and how homeschooling might evolve when your children grow and their needs change. It also devotes a chapter to legal issues, which is relevant mostly to those who live in the United States, but was also interesting for me to read because it shed some light on possible political aspects of homeschooling.
For my husband and I, since we live in a country where homeschooling is practically unheard of, it was refreshing to read that even in places where homeschooling is considered an acceptable option today, it might not have been so twenty or even ten years ago. It gives us hope that maybe even when we head on this journey, a local homeschooling community will gradually expand.
Because homeschooling is such a "pioneer" idea here, I was amazed to read about how it has evolved in the United States, with the options of highly organized and structured homeschooling and a variety of available curricula. Since we are Jewish, Israeli, and plan to teach our children in Hebrew (of course), I expect a lot of adaptability will be required from us.
The book is rich with personal testimonies of individual families, which I enjoyed reading - however, I feel that specifically large family homeschooling dynamics were somehow left out. Perhaps it is different in the last chapters, but so far, I have read about families homeschooling two or three, or maybe four children - but not seven or eight or more, which I suppose requires much more flexibility.
"The Homeschooling Handbook" isn't deeply philosophical, and it isn't written from a religious perspective, but rather speaks to a wider audience, religious and non-religious alike.
Some may say it's a bit early for us to think about these matters in-depth, as we are only expecting our first child, but we are simply in love with the idea of homeschooling and the rich possibilities it offers. The more we discuss it, the more certain we are that for us, and for many, many others, it would have made much more sense to be homeschooled for a variety of reasons (religious, practical, matters of family dynamics, and more) - and we want this option to be available for any future children the Lord chooses to bless us with.