Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Product Review-Home Learning Year by Year

Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School, Rebecca Rupp, 2000, New York: Three Rivers Press, ISBN-10: 0609805851, ISBN-13: 978-0609805855, 432 pages

Medium: Paperback book

Age/Grade: Adult/Educator

Secular/Religious: Secular-little to no mention of any religious beliefs

Rating: *****

* I hate it
** I don’t like it
*** It’s about average
**** I like it
***** I love it

When we first started educating my son at home, we used a “school-in-a-box” complete religious-based curriculum, which included DVD lessons, texts, workbooks, tests and teacher’s editions for all the core subjects. While academically rigorous, this did not seem to be the best option for our son’s learning style.

So I went searching for resources to help design a curriculum that would better suit our family’s needs. One of the resources I found was Rebecca Rupp’s Home Learning Year by Year, which is a comprehensive outline of the public school curriculum in a surprisingly concise book. The curriculum that Dr. Rupp has put together is a “synthesis of the public school curricula of all fifty states, as well as from proposals from private sources and innovative educators”.

Dr. Rupp is well known in homeschool circles for educating her three sons at home for more than ten years, and for authoring several books, both fiction and non-fiction, including several that are related to homeschooling. She also writes a monthly column for Home Education Magazine.

Home Learning Year by Year covers all of the core subjects and many elective subjects that are taught in the public school system. Notably missing are references to Bible study and courses in religion, so readers seeking a strong Christian basis for their curriculum will not find it in this book, though may find it a useful reference for non-religious parts of their educational program. And non-Christians who may want to deviate significantly from the public school system are not likely to find this a very helpful resource, either, since it is a synthesis from the public schools’ curricula.

But for those home educators who want to generally follow the same material and progression as the public school system in the United States, this is an excellent resource for curriculum design. It is well written, complete and easy to follow. It gives a good outline of knowledge and provides some resources and textbook recommendations to aid in teaching the material. I would suggest, though, that this book is better viewed as one of a set, paired with Rebecca Rupp’s other invaluable resource The Complete Home Learning Source Book: The Essential Resource Guide for Homeschoolers, Parents and Educators Covering Every Subject from Arithmetic to Zoology (Rebecca Rupp, 1998, New York: Three Rivers Press). This volume has much more in depth resources which complement her curriculum outline nicely.

Overall, this is a clear, comprehensive and secular overview of the public school curriculum in the United States, written for home educators to use in their own curriculum design. It does what it sets out to do, and I highly recommend it.

1 comment:

  1. This was one of the books I used early on in our homeschooling and I have to agree with your review; I would highly recommend it to anybody!