Skip to main content

Book Review: A Survivor's Guide to Home Schooling

I don't care how old this book is (published 1988), it has such delightfully practical words for parents of both home and online schooled children alike. In fact, I'd like to recommend this book to every mom who is stuck in quarantine with kids. After all, everyone needs to know how to talk to relatives who don't agree with our decisions, how to make decisions and stay flexible, how to discipline well, how to view cleaning, cooking, and laundry realistically, how to understand the limited abilities of our kids, how to put the most important things first, and yes, how to teach our kids stuff.

Am I allowed to give a book kudos if one of the authors is my husband's aunt? Oh, well. Here it is anyways.

The thing I like most about this book is that it's all straight talk. It's not full of whimsical tra-la-la about the idyllic life of homeschooling. And it's not full of a bunch of over-educated technical blather. This was written by a mom of seven kids who at one point or another home schooled all of them. It's written in plain English about real life!

Yes! Finally a mom who doesn't admit that she has a fool-proof cleaning method! I found that highly refreshing. I also found her stories very comforting. Oh, good, she's been through that to the nth degree; I guess my life is normal.

Let's make no mistake. This is a Christian book written by a Christian woman about Christian home schooling, so many of its ideas are unpopular or considered outdated, things like, submit to your husband and submit to God and your children are little sinners who need to be taught what's right. This is not a humanistic or child-centered approach. It's a biblical approach that assumes we didn't create ourselves and that the world doesn't revolve around us or our kids. This book puts God and his word first in understanding our roles as wives and moms. It's very refreshing if you've gotten neck-deep into secular self-help mumbo-jumbo. 

Note: some of the parts about curriculum and testing, home schooling organizations and addresses are obviously outdated.

Here are some of my favorite quotes.

" . . . it is common for people to feel threatened by anyone who is doing something different . . . When people feel threatened by our 'radical plans,' they may need to come up with reasons why what you are doing is a bad idea, so they will feel justified in not doing it themselves." (Shackelford & White, 4)

"It is important to remember that God gave children parents because they need us! It is our job to teach our children to obey. This is not based on the fact that we are perfect or even obedient ourselves. It is based on the authority that has been given to us by God over our children. If a policeman stops us for running a red light, we can't say, 'You have no right to give me a ticket! You do things wrong yourself, you know! And besides, you have a grumpy attitude!' No, he has a right and a duty to give us a ticket based on the fact that we did wrong and he has been given the authority to stop us when we do wrong. His personal righteousness or personality have nothing to do with it." (Shackelford & White, 133)

"Any time you set a goal that requires another individual's efforts, cooperation, participation, or enthusiasm, you are setting yourself up for problems. You cannot control other people." (Shackelford & White, 160)

"It is my experience that what home schooling moms need is people rather than more activities." (Shackelford & White, 167)

"If we are serving the Lord, however, rather than people, we can find joy in our service to others." (Shackelford & White, 171)

Shackelford, Luanne and White, Susan. A Survivor's Guide to Home Schooling. Westchester: Crossway Books, 1988.


Thank you, I ordered it.

Popular posts from this blog

Baptism Testimony

I didn't used to want to be baptized. I was too stubborn. I was determined to be the upright, genuine Christian who wasn't baptized—something of a superior class, I suppose. All that physical symbolism was for the archaic layman or the really emotional sort or the person who's afraid baptism is necessary for salvation. It's not for me. It's not for the steady, reliable believer who's doesn't have a big conversion story. I was in preschool when I prayed the prayer. In 6th grade, I gained a deeper understanding of sin while bickering with my siblings in the backseat of the family van. When I was 16, I began a daily quiet time with the Lord. And now at 36, I'm hearing the Lord asking me to make my faith work. Make the rubber meet the road. Get out of "morbid introspection and into deeds," out of "anxious hesitation and into the storm of events" (Rohr & Ebert, 129-130). Stop retreating into my head to figure out God and salvation

Why the Enneagram Numbers Quarantine

Type 1: The Reformer     I quarantine because it's the right thing to do and everyone ought to be doing their part for society by following the same procedures. Type 2: The Helper     No, I'm not concerned about myself, but I quarantine for everyone else. I want to help my neighbors feel safe, and I would absolutely die if I found out I had passed on the virus to someone else. Type 3: The Performer    I quarantine because that's what's expected of me, right? Plus, think about how bad it would look if I didn't. Type 4: The Individualist     I would've loved to quarantine before all this started but now that everyone is doing it, I'm not so sure I want to follow along. I guess I'll quarantine but somehow find a way to still remain exceptional. Type 5: The Observer     I might quarantine. I might not. I probably will while researching the facts about this virus. When I know enough, I'll make a final decision. Type 6: The Guardian     I q

Wanting the Ends Without the Means

I want my children to learn to get along, But I don't want to hear them fight. I want them to feel their emotions and understand them, But I don't want them to slam doors or be sassy. I want them to be respectful to adults, But I don't want to be embarrassed when they say something totally inappropriate. I want them to choose to obey me, But I don't want to come up with consequences when they don't. I want them to fill their own time with play, But I don't want to clean up the mess when they put stickers on the walls or throw tomatoes over the neighbor's fence or carve into the walls or cut through the upholstery with scissors. I want them to be good. But I don't want to suffer through their becoming good. I want a rich and seasoned relationship with my husband, But I don't want to endure seasons of dryness or coldness or disinterestedness. I want to have friends who are different than me, But I don't want to hear their threatening opinions. I wa