HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Self-Teaching Manual: I’m the Mom, I Don’t Have to Know Calculus
Author: Joanne Calderwood
Publisher: Encore Ink, reprinted in 2007
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Moms (and dads).
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Calderwood, Joanne. The Self-Teaching Manual: I’m the Mom, I Don’t Have to Know Calculus (published in 2006 by Encore Ink Publishing, 276 Parks Dr., Normandy, TN 37360). In 2006, the author came to the first Greater St. Louis Area Home Educators Expo as an exhibitor and did some vendor workshops. Those workshops were so popular that she returned the next year and did a couple more. We were hoping to have her back again the following year, but she was taking a break from speaking. This book, which I happened to pick up in a homeschool bookstore, explains her program of developing independent learners of any age who learn with confidence and excellence. With eight children, she says that this method has enabled her family to enjoy homeschooling for years while avoiding the phenomenon known as burnout. The book, which is spiral bound, is divided into seven main sections.
First, she answers some questions about self-teaching, stressing the importance of planning, explaining what self-teaching is not, and identifying curricula which she used that fit in with her program (though she says, "There are many other sources of material out there that MAY be adaptable to independent learning. You may most likely already have material you are working on that can be made into a self-teaching method of learning"). In "The Heart of the Matter," she discusses her educational theory and testing. Other chapters deal with homelife goals, special needs learners, reducing stress, and transitioning to high school. The method must work. Her son, as a high school freshman, took the ACT exam and came out with a score of 35 out of 36. In his junior year, he took the PSAT and missed just two questions. Even if you decide not to follow her plan just as she has done it, you will find a lot of helpful suggestions and much encouragement, sprinkled with gentle humor that makes for interesting as well as beneficial reading.