Do you ever wonder what other homeschoolers are doing? How your own lesson plans and schedules compare to those of other home educating families? Do you need some fresh ideas?
If so, you may want to look into one of Nancy Lande's books. She wrote Homeschooling: A Patchwork of Days (published in 1996) as a glimpse into the lives of 30 homeschooling families. I just finished reading the follow-up to that book, entitled Homeschool Open House: Interviews with 55 families.
Homeschool Open House visits the Patchwork families 5 years later and updates us on their lives - how have things changed for them? Are they still homeschooling? What curriculum are they using now? Have their family activities and schedules changed? Lande also interviews about 25 new families in Homeschool Open House.
I bought this book years ago but never read it and even put it in my sale pile. Rethinking my need to purge, I snatched it out of the pile and decided to read it slowly during my lesson prep month this summer. Well, since I just finished it today, you can see it took me longer than I thought. Most weeks I read one story a day, getting to know these families. As I read, I usually wondered what the families look like now - 13 years later. A kindergartener in any of these families would now be graduating from high school!
One thing that surprised me was how angry and frustrated I became while reading some of the stories. As a mom of four children with 13 years of actual homeschooling under my belt, I found myself annoyed with the moms of one young child who made their curriculum choices sound like life-or-death choices. Some of the unschooling attitudes saddened me. I was actually surprised by my strong reactions to some of the stories but I am only human, after all. Many of the stories encouraged me, however, and some even brought me to tears. In a few cases, I was actually curious enough to Google and see if I could find any information on the families - blogs, companies, awards, etc. (No luck, however.)
I have one copy of this book - well-used now - and would be glad to pass it along to anyone who wants to read it. First one who speaks up - I will give it to you (in person).