While this book emphasizes more the teaching and logistics involved in homeschooling children older than mine, it had several interesting ideas that I’d like to someday incorporate into my children’s learning, such as the Book of Centuries.
Review: While the author’s first book, A Charlotte Mason Education, briefly describes all aspects of a Charlotte Mason-style homeschool experience in very general terms, this book goes into more detail about how one would actually homeschool one’s own children using this method. Since my 3 kids are still too young to need this sort of structure (the oldest is 5) this book was not as helpful to me. If one day I decide to both homeschool my children using a structured approach, I might revisit this book. At present, I’m leaning towards something a little more unstructured if/when I eventually homeschool, so a lot of the details were irrelevant to me (planning book, length of lesson periods, etc.).
However, there were some discussions in this book that I found particularly useful. One was the “century book” which a child uses throughout their education at least until age 18. The main idea is that each child has a notebook with one lined page and one blank page allotted for each century going back to at least a few thousand years BC. The lined page can be divided into different years (for example, 20 lines would represent 5 years each). When learning about history, the child makes a short notation in their century book on the appropriate page and line. It is important to note that the notation has to be brief as this notebook is expected to last for several years without adding additional pages. The blank pages are for pictures the child wishes to draw relevant to each century (for example drawings of artifacts they see firsthand during a museum trip). Other useful sections involved a more thorough description of the use of narration and homeschooling the high school age child.
For those wishing for a secular education for their children, I should point out that this second book has more references to God and Christianity than the first book. However, it was not to a degree that I think would bother most people as long as they were willing to accept that the author’s personal priorities might differ from their own. There was only one aspect of her advice that really sort of bothered me. Since the author believes the earth to only be a few thousand years old, in describing the century book, the author mentions that if a museum dated an artifact before their family believed the earth was formed, they just put the artifact wherever they felt was most appropriate. As a scientist, this one paragraph made me a little uncomfortable. Other than that, I think this book has lots of useful information and I might revisit it again in a few years if at that point I am homeschooling my children. (Personal Rating: 7/10)