Book Review by Sheena Harris

I was very pleased when homeschooler, Sheena Harris, reviewed my book, Successful Homeschooling Made Easy.  Here’s what she had to say.

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy by Stephanie Walmsley
Reviewed by Sheena Harris

For anyone who has embarked upon the journey of home educating their children, they would know just how daunting it can seem.  For those yet to begin – you’re in for a treat!  Perhaps you are celebrating getting the ‘dreaded’ exemption behind you and you have received official confirmation of your exemption from the Ministry of Education or perhaps you are still in the “just thinking about it” stage. But where to actually begin?  And how?  Stephanie Walmsley has written a fantastic ‘how to’ book which will lead you from day one, with practical insights and ideas to de-mystify the whole process of establishing a successful homeschooling life for your family. That is not to say that this book is only for newbies!  I have been home educating for over 11 years and I still enjoyed reading it and will action some of the nuggets of wisdom and encouragement from Stephanie into my next term planning.

Stephanie’s warm, friendly approach helps you feel like you have a coach right alongside you to guide and provide practical and realistic tools in figuring out how to navigate the maze of homeschooling.

‘Successful Homeschooling Made Easy’, provides a set of tools to ensure success for both parents and children to enjoy the journey.  Something very close to my heart!  I loved that the book was less ‘subject’ focussed (although it does touch on subject areas), and instead addressed the ‘whole child’ as a learner approach.  The book also provides some great ideas on how to keep your household running smoothly from cleaning, cooking, tidying and organising your family’s belongings and resources whilst staying sane!

Every parent on the long-haul of home educating will sometimes feel like they are stuck in a rut.  Stephanie’s book will help you to re-establish healthy and productive routines and rhythms whilst keeping at bay those dangerous thoughts of ‘am I doing enough’?  Keeping life simple in a complex world is Stephanie’s encouraging, no-nonsense advice.  I wholeheartedly agree – it’s how family life and learning should be!

The chapter, ‘Welcome Home’ brings the reader examples of other home educating parents who have gone before and taken the step of removing a child from school, possibly after many years in ‘the system’.  Here there is plenty of first-hand advice for those who may feel apprehensive about such a move.  The chapter on creating a timetable is helpful, although the section on ‘Technology’, may have a slightly dated approach as many home educators use some fantastic online resources to support the learning opportunities for their students.  I guess the warning is – make sure you create a healthy balance to screen usage and include a healthy variety of learning opportunities – including lots of books!  I cannot agree more!

I love that Stephanie also addresses the issue of ‘self-care’ for the primary home educating parent.  Avoiding burnout so that we can run the marathon of homeschooling our children right through, should we choose to, at a manageable pace, will ensure we and our children make it to the ‘finish line’ with a healthy and happy relationship intact with our children and the feeling of ‘a job well done’.

I would highly recommend this book to both new and experienced home educators alike.  Filled with practical ideas, experienced insight and a plethora of suggestions that you can pick and mix from to suit your style.  You’ll find that it isn’t so hard after all to create your own successful homeschool.

Priced at just $35 including shipping (small additional fee for RD), I think this is great value for money. Successful Homeschooling Made Easy will become a ‘handbook’ that you use over and over again.  Find your copy at www.successfulhomeschoolingmadeeasy.com.

N.B. Stephanie’s book is also available as a course which can be emailed directly to your inbox if you prefer.

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