The Philosophical Apprentice

“Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.” Albert Einstein

The Homeschooling Book of Answers by Linda Dobson (Book Review)

This book is a collection of answers by prominent homeschooling veterans and advocates to some of the most common questions surrounding homeschooling.

This book would be a good resource for someone who was contemplating homeschooling their children and needed a resource to address their concerns. This book does a good job of allaying the fears surrounding homeschooling yet it is a very inspirational book that someone with a long history of homeschooling could look to for additional insight.

The best part of the book is the reassurance someone could take from the fact that no matter what your approach your kids will in all likelihood turn out ok.

That being said many of the contributors are forceful advocates of unschooling. Something I am not too keen on. Of course given a choice between public education and unschooling I’d take the latter any day of the week–no education is better than being half-educated. Still I detect an almost Rousseauian undertone to much of the unschooling crowd. Too much structure might interfere with little johnnie’s creativity.

I prefer the classical approach to education myself. There are some things a child simply has to memorize and a child can’t be expected to think if he has nothing to think with. Likewise, a certain amount of hard work and the development of virtuous habits will be required. Most children left to their own devices will probably never develop a love of mathematics.

That doesn’t mean homeschooling should be a grind. A certain set amount of work should be done every day – mathematics, copywork, foreign languages (preferably Latin) – and preferably first thing in the morning . Everyday.

This should be balanced, in my opinion, by an approach that does foster the imagination and a love of learning. I think the Charlotte Mason method with its ‘living books’ has a lot to offer here.

This post has turned from a book review into my philosophy of education. I say go ahead and get the Linda Dobson which has a lot of good information but don;t stop there.

For more information on a Charlotte Mason education see here. For a Catholic version of the Charlotte Mason Curriculum consider Mater Amabilis.  For a solid Catholic approach to a classical education you might consider the Rolling Acres School.


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