Connie Colten, a veteran homeschooling mom, has chronicled her experiences since she began in 1981. She has five children, so her know-how has come from being in the trenches.
This book has a sub-title—Letters to Mona. At first this perplexed me, but the author explains that, “I had the idea to write it as though I was writing to my longtime friend, Mona. That made the telling so much more personal and allowed me to use the dating of the letters as a reference point for the reader.” This intimate conversation tells not just of the glowing moments we all have in homeschooling but also of our challenges. Please note, the book is not from a Christian perspective: Colton
puts the placement of children above husband/marriage; there’s little, if any, mention of God; and considerable information of her seemingly, bitter divorce of choice.
Her homeschool was an unstructured, unschooling sort, although she says she did use textbooks when it served her family’s needs. The main goal in their home was for the children to learn. Apparently, that did happen because her children are successful, productive adults/teens. One of my favorite parts of the book is when Connie gives details about each of her children: school and work experiences, learning styles, passions, current interests and activities.
The feel of the book is as if you are reading through someone’s diary (with permission of course). However, it is not organized chronologically, but rather by topics. Some of the topics addressed in the book are:
• How and why we started homeschooling
• An afternoon visit from John Holt - his lesson in kindness to me
• Household systems: housecleaning, cooking, allowances
• Legal challenges/threats
• Learning readiness
• Continuing to homeschool after divorce
• Dealing with pressure from family and others
• Coping with fears
The last chapter of the book reminds us that, we too, are on a journey. Often we learn as much, if not more, than our children do.