When I found out that I was going to review a product from Apologia I was so excited. I have used two of their books for science and absolutely loved them. I was thrilled to have the chance to write about it. When I opened the package in the mail I found something totally unexpected. I found "The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling" by Debra Bell. I didn't even know Apologia had books like that. I was thrilled to have this book. I have started working with new homeschoolers, helping them get started and choose curriculum that will work for their family. I thought this would be a great resource to help me help them. If I could point them to a book that would break down for them all the finer details of homeschooling, it would be immensely beneficial. I would've loved to have something like this four and a half years ago when I started homeschooling.
That was all before opening the book. Needless to say, my expectations were very high. I knew the quality of Apologia and expected nothing less from this book. I was not disappointed. In fact, I was a little surprised. I thought that I would just read the book to help others. I didn't think they could put anything in there that I didn't already know. After all, this is a book for beginning homeschoolers, right? Wrong. It definitely is useful for new homeschoolers, but has much good information for us more seasoned ones as well.
The book is broken into ten parts. Part 1 breaks down the pros and cons of homeschooling. So, if you know someone who is thinking about homeschooling, this book is great for them too. Part 2 is about choosing curriculum. I know that can be the most overwhelming part for new homeschool families. Even preparing for our fifth year, I am still trying to figure out what will work best for us. Organization and planning are covered in part 3, and part 4 talks about preventing burnout. Part 5 breaks down what to teach and when. It is filled with resources and strategies. Part of the beauty of homeschooling is that we can offer our kids practical, real life experience that they cannot get in a school setting. This section breaks down some of the how-to's of that. It tells you what is truly important for your child to know when they graduate. Part 6 talks about homeschooling your teens. Part 7 goes over computers, what's necessary, what's nice to have, and what is really not needed. Parts 8 and 9 cover some of the extras like other challenges, how to know if you are succeeding. Part 10 is a fabulous resource guide. They give data on organizations, suppliers, publications, academic contests, and more.