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Fundamentals of Homeschooling review

Fundamentals of Homeschooling: Notes on Successful Family 
Living
 by Ann Lahrson-Fisher


Age Range:
Adults homeschooling children

Price:
$19.95

Purchase at:
Amazon.com

Reviewer:
Heddi Craft

Fundamentals of Homeschooling: Notes on Successful Family 
Living
 by Ann Lahrson-Fisher

Every once in a while, a book resonates with what I believe from page one, making me 
wish that I had been able to write the book myself. On the first page of Ann Lahrson-
Fisher's Fundamentals of Homeschooling she says, “Homeschooling success builds on 
this simple foundation: living a satisfying learning lifestyle.” Those five words—living a 
satisfying learning lifestyle—summed up my deepest hopes and dreams for how my 
children would grow up, even before we started homeschooling. 

The book is divided into six parts (Play, Conversations, Togetherness, Growing Up, The 
Big Picture, and Subjects), each beginning with a “Keynote” describing some big ideas 
about that concept and followed by several easy to read chapters about some specific 
topics within that concept. Each chapter can be read in isolation, so a tour of the table of 
contents can take you to your current hot-button topics. However, I feel the book is best 
read one part at a time, because of the way the author links the topics together.

In Part One: Play, the author gives an overview of the value of play and then goes on to 
describe a number of ways that we can manipulate our home environment to encourage 
play that supports a learning lifestyle. There are several lists of toys, games, and learning 
materials, and a whole chapter is devoted to modifying games to meet the needs of 
different ages and temperaments.

Part Two describes how “family chitchat” can become a vehicle for learning. Some 
examples may seem familiar or simply intuitive, others are fresh and new. Several 
chapters are devoted to both language arts and math. The last chapter of the section talks 
about how conversation can be used for everything from teaching self control to learning 
how to handle mistakes.

These first one hundred and thirty pages make this book worthwhile for even the family 
whose children are attending public school, because they describe a set of skills and 
opportunities that all families can take advantage of. Because of this, I've given this book 
as a gift even to friends who aren't homeschooling.

Beginning with Part Three, Togetherness, the book discusses many issues specific to 
homeschoolers. Chapters describe everything from homeschooling styles to yearly 
planning to handling criticism to homeschooling with a baby on your lap.

Part Four is about the end of the homeschooling journey, as children grow up and become 
adults. It gives many suggestions about how homeschooling families might approach 
this rite of passage into adulthood.

Part Five explores some tools that homeschoolers use to enhance learning such as field 
trips, learning clubs, and apprenticeships. 

Part Six includes a chapter for each of nine subject areas, with some big ideas about 
homeschooling each, followed by a list of selected resources for that subject area.

Although each idea in Fundamentals of Homeschooling may be explored more deeply in 
other books, Lahrson-Fisher neatly sums up the most important points about each in an 
easy to digest text that reads like a letter from a good friend. I've found comfort in this book 
more than once because I always come away with the feeling that “I can do this.” I 
appreciate her emphasis on the family and learning to live comfortably together as we take 
the learning journey.
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