"Yes, [Mary Hood] is an amazing lady, but remarkably down-to-earth and full of practical encouragement." -- TOS™ Magazine
When you think of homeschooling, is the word "relaxed" the last word that comes to mind? Then you really need the special wisdom and counsel of Mary Hood. She is the mother of five homeschooled kids who also has a plethora or materials available, all of which she did while earning her PhD in education! Yes, she is an amazing lady, but remarkably down-to-earth and full of practical encouragement.
Her earliest and perhaps best known book is The Relaxed Home School. In this volume, she shares the early years of her homeschooling journey. Set in terms of a theatrical production, she leads us through preparing the production crew (the family), writing the script (developing a philosophy), setting the stage (the day-to-day aspects of the homeschooling life), then sharing her thoughts on academics, in which she is solidly Charlotte Mason in her approach. A very readable, encouraging book!
Two of her other earlier works are Onto the Yellow School Bus and Through the Gates of Hell, in which she talks about spiritual warfare and discusses our educational options. She also wrote The Home Schooling Resource Guide and Directory of Organizations, updated for 2002. This includes legal information, getting started information, resources lists, and more.
The next book (and my personal favorite!) is The Joyful Home Schooler. Mary shares her heart with us about how we can reclaim our joy as homeschoolers. The foundations of this joy are obedience, trusting God, learning to be content, and being on fire instead of burned out. She next offers practical advice about making your home a learning-centered environment and offers specific information about some of the nitty-gritty aspects of homeschooling.
Her latest work is The Enthusiastic Home Schooler. She shares the happy and sad details of her life and early motherhood, progressing to the time when her older ones attended college. The last section of the book lays the foundation for a lifestyle of learning, sorting out mom and dad's roles, focusing on the children as individuals, setting priorities and goals, and homeschooling in hard times. Mary writes to us about the challenges we all face and how we can thrive as homeschoolers!
In addition to her newsletter, which is available by subscription, she has guidebooks and tape series. I read several of the guidebooks as a new homeschooler and found them extremely helpful. Current available titles include: Planning for High School & College Entrance, Relaxed Record Keeping, How to Set Up Learning Centers in Your Home, Teaching Children to Use the Library, Taking the Frustration out of Math, Helping Children Learn to Write, Relaxed Unit Studies, Developing Order & Discipline in a Relaxed Setting, and Helping Children Learn Test Taking Strategies. Her tape series are: An Overview of Relaxed Homeschooling, Working with Young Children, Materials and Methods for the Elementary Years, Working with Teens, and Countdown to Consistency.
Mary is a light and a beacon of encouragement to help us to enjoy and delight in our calling as homeschoolers.