HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child’s Learning Style
Author: Cathy Duffy
Publisher: B & H Publishing Group, 2005
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Adults
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Duffy, Cathy. 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child’s Learning Style (published in 2005 by B & H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN). Most veteran homeschoolers have one book that was extremely helpful for them in the beginning. For us it was Mary Pride’s Big Book of Home Learning (now called the Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling). For others, it was Debra Bell’s Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling. Another top choice for many years was Cathy Duffy’s two Christian Home Educator’s Curriculum Manual (originally one volume but ultimately split into two volumes, one for elementary grades and one for junior/senior high).
Over the years, I have purchased older copies of all these, but 100 Top Picks was intended to replace the Curriculum Manuals. It comes highly recommended. The early chapters of the book deal with educational philosophy (and the different methods of homeschooling that may be used to implement yours), children’s learning styles (Wiggly Willy, Perfect Paula, Competent Carl, and Sociable Sue), and basic goals for home education. Then Duffy suggests her top 100 picks of curricula in the areas of phonics/reading/literature, mathematics, language arts, history/geography/cultural studies, science, unit studies, foreign language, and electives which can be adapted to fit both the parents’ teaching style and the children’s learning styles to achieve the desired goals.
I do appreciate one comment that she made, which is a theme that I have sounded out before. "Sometimes traditionalists are chided for recreating ‘school at home’ because the experience varies little from that of regular day school settings. Parents who slavishly follow such a curriculum often miss out on those special moments when a child comes up with a question that begs for immediate exploration. Many parents, however, manage to find a good balance using traditional curricula while still retaining enough flexibility to respond to teachable moments when they arise" (p. 14). There are numerous helpful observations, suggestions, and other comments that make this book worth the price not only for beginning homeschoolers, but for veterans as well.