Paperback, 220pp. Published by Home Service, 48 Heaton Moor Road, Stockport, SK4 4NX, UK or www.homeservice. org Price £7; ISBN 0-95558-550-0
For someone with over twenty-five years teaching experience I felt it would be difficult to review this book objectively. There are so many questions that need to be answered by the proponents of home schooling. Here are just a few: how can you guarantee that a home schooled child has a balanced curriculum?; how do you identify and handle special educational needs?; how do you ensure that a child achieves appropriate qualifications at GCSE or post-16?; what access is there to further and higher education for children who are home schooled?; how do you cope with inspection?; what of the social development of the child?
Remarkably, this book not only provides answers but also the experiences of twenty-one British home educating families who have successfully grappled with the issues. More fundamentally, it poses equally uncomfortable questions for those who have opted for state education. There has always been pressure upon children to gain qualifications, to secure ‘good’ jobs, and to progress to a comfortable lifestyle. This reviewer wondered whether we had achieved an appropriate balance between the material welfare of our children and their spiritual development. Which of us has not had the problem of grappling with the overt evolutionism that permeates science and geography lessons? Similarly, it is far from easy to counteract the immorality that is inherent in most personal and social education classes and that can often be found in the texts studied for English literature. There are also the pluralistic views adopted by most religious education syllabuses that run counter to the truth of the gospel. For many, state education is seriously flawed!
Clearly, this book is written by those who advocate home schooling. Although most of the authors acknowledge the difficulties, some readers will not be convinced. However, this book is to be welcomed in that it may help Christian parents to consider the matter of their child’s education as more than merely a matter of selecting the best school.