Wednesday, March 29, 2006
I've been enjoying -- no, make that delighting in -- The Catholic Homeschool Companion, which is edited by Maureen Wittmann and Rachel Mackson. I've been dipping in, tasting, sampling, savoring, going back for seconds and spending time digesting.
This book is indeed a wonderful companion for homeschooling families (and not just Catholic families, I might add, because so many of the rich ideas apply across the board to all kinds of homeschoolers.)
It's hard to choose a favorite essay, or even a handful of favorites. The book, after all, tops 400 pages. You can see the table of contents here. A few highlights for me so far:
There's an in-depth essay by Pattie Kelley-Huff on art appreciation that is outstanding and offers examples and resources. Laurie Navar Gill details how to start a geography club, and ties geography very naturally into a Christian's call to be a missionary. Alicia Van Hecke's apologetics booklist is invaluable and Maureen Wittman has practical and useful ideas for teens on polishing up their job search skills.
MacBeth Derham weighs in with her always-helpful ideas on getting kids out of the house and into nature. Rachel Watkins shares openly in an honest and moving essay about homeschooling while suffering with a chronic illness.
The entire chapter on dads, for dads and by dads (with essays by Steve Wood, Frederick Cabell, Jr., Ed Rivet and Dan McGuire) is terrific. I almost called this chapter "dessert" but on reflection, it's more like having strawberries after a meal: absolutely delicious, and most certainly a treat, but as healthy and nutritionally necessary as the rest of the meal ... because a healthy homeschool is one that not only acknowledges dad, but also relies on him, recognizing his place as the spiritual head of the family and thus of the homeschool. I'm reminded of the old saying, "The father is the head of the household, and the mother is the heart." Or, of another observation made by a priest friend: "The father is the head, and the mother is the neck that turns the head." The team effort that's necessary shouldn't be a sweet extra.
Pete Vere is on the scene, to outline and assure us of our canonical rights regarding sacraments. There's a chapter on "Finding Inspiration" and you'll find exactly that in essays by Cay Gibson, the Wittmans, Nicola Martinez, Janet Cassidy and Susie Lloyd. Home management is covered, and one would expect no less of The Thrifty Homeschooler. And, perhaps one of the biggest treats is hearing from homeschooled students themselves, in the final chapter.
The Catholic Homeschool Companion is enlightening, entertaining, and edifying reading for any homeschooling mom or dad. It's sure to be my companion on the journey for a long time to come.
Posted by Karen Edmisten at 12:35 AM