In the comments, Katie, who is not a homeschooler, said:
In fact I find [homeschooling moms], as well as several blogs and books, to be very helpful in the way we raise our kids. Because we don't believe education should stop when they get home at the end of the day. Or mid-June. We read, we discuss, we learn from each other. And unfortunately too many parents, regardless of their involvement with the PTA, etc., don't take an interest past the school day. So I need you guys! You inspire me and help me to see the possibilities.
I'm glad she brought this up. I'd been meaning to say something along the same lines. One of the purposes of this blog is resource-sharing. As Katie points out, homeschooling parents aren't the only ones wanting to help their kids learn and grow. The success of "get your educational toys here" stores like Noodle Kidoodle and Imaginarium (not to mention the dozens of mail-order companies whose catalogs haunt my mailbox) points to the desire parents have to make learning fun for their children.
Then there are the homeschooling catalogs. If your child goes to school, you aren't likely to come across these, and I have to tell you, you're missing out. With over two million American children now being educated at home, publishers have recognized the need for appealing curricula and learning resources, and there is some great stuff out there. For years I've been saying someone should put together a "secrets of the homeschoolers" catalog. Hadn't really occurred to me to do it myself (and the whole shipping-and-accounting thing has no appeal—I write books, not sell 'em), but in some respects, that's what I'm doing here, minus the inventory aspect.
A few years ago, a friend of mine mentioned that her daughter, a fourth-grader at the local public school, was really struggling in math. The clock was her Waterloo—she simply could not master time-telling. Immediately I began to gush about the math program we were using. (I have a habit of doing that.) Its "How to Tell Time" lesson, I raved, was the best I'd ever seen, and my five-year-old had mastered the concept in, I kid you not, five minutes, thanks to the way the program's creator explained it. My neighbor borrowed the video tape, and the next day she called me.
"I can't believe it," she said. "She totally gets it now. It was just like you said—she watched the video once and said, 'Oh! That makes sense!' "
I, dignified soul that I am, responded, "See! See! I told you!"
Well, that's part of what I intend to do here: the raving and the gushing and the sharing. Especially the sharing of booklists. I love booklists. Picture-book booklists and historical-fiction booklists and beginning-reader booklists and "help, my kid's a rabid book junkie and I've run out of stuff to give her" booklists.
So: searching for something to get your kid jazzed about science, history, geography? Give me a holler. Got a great resource to share? Drop me a line! Looking at summer stretching out before you and wondering how to keep the gang busy without plugging in? I can help. Need the recipe for a killer BBQ ribs rub? Um, that's Becki's department. You definitely don't want cooking advice from me. Cooking is not so much my thing. Fun learning stuff, that's my thing.
And did I mention the booklists?