Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Ultimate Guide To Homeschooling by Debra Bell

A few years ago I met a new homeschool Mom named Annette. Filled with enthusiasm and energy she seemed to inspire everyone she talked to. I loved our conversations as Annette always seemed to be an endless fount of information and great ideas.

I remember one conversation in particular regarding homeschool philosophies. I shared my personal views and Annette immediately, related, "Oh yes! I can tell you are very "Debra Bell"." At the time, I had no idea who Debra Bell was or why I was just like her, but I decided it must be a compliment and took it as such.

A few months ago, I learned that Apologia Science would be sending me a product free of charge for review as a member of TOS Homeschool Review Crew. Assuming it would be some sort of science curriculum, I was pleasantly surprised to find a comprehensive homeschool resource inside the package. As I glanced at the cover I noted that The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling was written by Debra Bell. It was finally time for me to become acquainted with Debra Bell's philosophy of home education

Bell is a veteran homeschool parent who has lived to tell her tale. Having homeschooled her four children from K-grade 12, she also helped lead a successful homeschool co-op, hybrid homeschool and private school, and assisted in the development of a thriving youth theater company during their homeschool years. Bell did not rely solely on her own expertise to write The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling, however. She states in the text, "Beyond my own family's experience, I draw heavily upon the lives of my dear friends who are great sports about figuring unadulterated into my tale. Homeschooling would have never been quite as rich an experience if we had not had a large homeschool and church community to share the journey with."

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling retails at for $20.00. It is part of their Apologia Press resources for parents. A 509 page paperback resource, The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling offers detailed helpful advice for seasoned veterans or families new to home education. Topics covered in the text include:

  • Homeschooling: Is it for you?
  • Choosing a Curriculum
  • Organization and Planning
  • Preventing Burnout
  • What to Teach--When and How
  • Homeschooling Teens
  • Computers in the Homeschool
  • Creative Solutions
  • Measuring Your Success
  • Resource Guide
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling reads like a letter from a dear friend. Bell's style, candor and wit reach out to the reader from every page. I found myself staying up way too late many nights reading this handbook soaking up its enjoyable, inspirational and refreshing information.

Although I have homeschooled for 14 years, I never tire of support group meetings and gatherings with other homeschool families. The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling reads like a support group meeting filled with ideas, honest confessions, encouragement and great teacher education. Homeschool families will want to keep this broad resource on their bookshelves and re-visit it often. And just in case you were wondering....Annette was right. I am very "Debra Bell".

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