The book is very short, less than 50 pages. The title seemed slightly misleading to me once I started reading it, however I can’t say that it’s the fault of the author. I think that when I read the title and then the description, I mistook the intention behind the book.
The book is very much geared toward high school homeschooling. It is, from my perspective, specifically for parents who have a child that is currently at or would be entering the high school level in the next few weeks to months. While high school is mentioned in the description, the description gives the impression that you can read for tips on preparing for the eventual transition to and journey through high school. The book itself is more for the student that is already at the high school level – and perhaps even close to completion. There is a lot of mention of college – college reading lists, transcripts – and CLEP tests. While you would obviously be thinking of these things once your child is in high school, much of what is written here seems that it would be more useful for the student that is nearing the end of their high school adventure, rather than just beginning.
There is a reading list of books the author suggests for the college bound homeschool student to read. The list is neither exhaustive nor extensive, but it is a good, basic list. It would be an excellent starter list, with a decent variety to help students find the books that most appeal to them. It covers both American and World literature, old classics as well as newer classics (some of the books are available for free on Kindle, while others range from inexpensive to the more pricey. All can be found in your local library.) Most of the books listed (naturally, as they are for the college bound student) are books that most high school students read at one point or another during their school years. Some have been banned in some schools, so in that regard, the homeschool family may have a very distinct advantage (in addition to all the other advantages) over the public school family.
There are some decent tips in the book (example: use the summer to work on valuable things such as cooking or an art class that perhaps you didn’t have time for during your school year), and some wonderful reassurances that the new homeschooler might find incredibly valuable (example: if you’ve finished 75-80% of a subject, that’s as good as any public school, so don’t feel guilty about calling it a day).
However, the majority of what I read (excluding the reading list and a tip or two here and there) was all stuff that I had heard or could learn from my local homeschooling group. The wide variety of mothers, fathers, and children in our group gives such a mix of methods, ideas, thoughts, and tips that there’s very little covered by this book that I couldn’t have gotten elsewhere.
That’s not to say the book has no value, though. I believe that for someone who perhaps doesn’t have access to a homeschooling group, this book could prove to be very beneficial. Attempting to homeschool when there’s no one you can turn to for advice or even to ask a simple question can be tough. I know I felt very much like a fish out of water at times before I found our homeschooling group. Once I did, and had like minded people that I could pose questions to and even simply sit and listen to them as they meandered conversationally through various homeschooling topics, made me feel more confident and relaxed about what I was doing. For those who don’t have access to a great group of people like that, this book could give them that reassurance and bit of guidance that they’re seeking.
It could also be very helpful to a parent who is new to homeschooling and/or seeking that initial information to make the decision to stay or jump the public school ship. When I was attempting to make the very confusing decision, I avidly sought out any reliable source I could find to give me information about homeschooling. Some of the sources, however, were these long, drawn out books that, in their attempt to cover every possible question and break everything down, often made it sound much more complicated and confusing than it needed to be. They were also so long that I felt as though it would take forever to finish reading them, and since I needed to make a decision relatively soon, would get tossed aside in search of something simpler and/or shorter.
This book could be helpful for those parents feeling overwhelmed as I did. When you’re seeking simple answers, answers that will help you realize just how complicated or uncomplicated homeschooling can be, Getting the Most Out of Your Homeschool This Summer could be exactly what they need. It gives very clearcut, easy to understand and implement advice. It gives tips about creating a transcript, and how to count things as courses that might not fit the typical image of what a course is – particularly helpful for someone who still has that rigid image of courses based on public school experiences.
My overall impression of Getting the Most Out of Your Homeschool This Summer is that while it isn’t necessarily useful for everyone, it is useful. For parent who have a child that is about to enter or has already entered high school, for the parent who has a high school or nearly high school level student and is considering homeschooling, or for someone looking for a quick and simple explanation on how to whip up a transcript or how to count their child’s volunteerism at the local soup kitchen as a course, this book can be an excellent resource.
You can pick up Getting the Most Out of Your Homeschool This Summer for Kindle on Amazon.com for $2.99 (at the time this article was published).