Alice Gunther's first book, Haystack Full of Needles: A Catholic Home Educator's Guide to Socialization, is available now (for pre-order) from Hillside Education.
I'm going to gush about this book, make no mistake.
I've had the great privilege of seeing the book in progress, and have read most of it at this point, minus a few tidbits and the appendix. And I can tell you that this book is wonderful. It's beautifully written in the gentle, lyrical style that Alice is known for on her blog, Cottage Blessings. (If you haven't clicked through your feed reader to her blog for awhile, it's time. There's a breathtaking new design that makes me want to ... what? Move in. Yes. That's it. I want to live in that enchanting cottage and drink tea from that lovely cup on Alice's new website. Gorgeous. Ramona, looking over my shoulder, decided that when she gets a blog, she wants Alice's design "because it's so pretty.")
But let me head back in time for a moment. A number of years ago, I "met" Alice online through the Catholic Charlotte Mason discussion group. I first knew her there only as "Lissa's friend" but any friend of Lissa's was a friend of mine. And, it wasn't long before Alice was everyone's friend. She seemed so incredibly nice. And she really was nice. Our friendship grew, our children became penpals, and we have since encouraged one another in our homeschools, in our writing and in our lives.
But, back to the book. Haystack Full of Needles is such a pleasure to read. It will speak to you with the voice of a wise and loving friend, a woman you just know will overlook your most glaring faults, forgive your annoying traits, and peer straight into your heart to find the good in you. And you just know, deep down, that she does that with everyone, because she lives the faith she talks about.
And Haystack Full of Needles is everything from practical to inspirational. It offers homeschooling mothers many creative, concrete ideas for finding and/or starting support groups. It acknowledges the fear that is every new homeschooling mother's unwelcome companion and it doesn't shy away from the reality that children are individuals, and that sometimes there are individual problems and challenges. And, Alice deals with every, single "socialization question" I've ever encountered, and she does so with love, grace and humor.
This is a treasure of a book, and it deserves the enthusiastic endorsement it received from Laura Bergquist.
I knew I'd gush a bit.
I can't help it.
(P.S. If you love her as much as I do, be sure to read this lovely interview, too, which I just discovered over at the Homeschool Blog Awards site, as well as her columns.)