The Call of the Wild + Free: Reclaiming Wonder in Your Child’s Education by Ainsley Arment offers a wonderful overview of homeschooling for those who are considering homeschooling for the first time. It also can help renew the spirit and dedication of those who may be struggling a bit in their homeschooling lives.
Arment tackles four main topics: the mission, the myths, the manner, and the method of homeschooling. In “The Mission”, she discusses the why of homeschooling. She explains why she started homeschooling and the reasons why others may want to consider this path. She encourages parents to believe that they can homeschool successfully, reminding them that “there is no perfect school, classroom, teacher, mother, or homeschool. But we can do the best we can, one day at a time. And that’s good enough.”
In “The Myths”, she tackles common objections to homeschooling such as socialization, whether parents are qualified to teach their children, and whether homeschoolers are able to go to college.
“The Manner” explores various homeschooling styles including Classical, Montessori, Charlotte Mason, Waldorf, Reggio Emilia, and unschooling. Arment also discusses planning your homeschool day, creating a positive family culture, and homeschooling through hard times.
The final section, “The Method”, emphasizes the importance of nature in children’s lives, the power of story and living books, and the importance of play and wonder.
This is a beautifully designed book that features many lovely photographs. As I read through, I wrote down many quotes to serve as inspiration on difficult homeschool days. There is much useful information in these pages. Arment touches on many important topics. One notable exception is the issue of special needs homeschooling. Arment does mention that one of her children has learning challenges, but advice in that area is limited.
Still, if one is looking for a positive, uplifting, secular overview of homeschooling, The Call of the Wild + Free is a great book to read. It would also be a great book to refer family members or friends to if they are interested in learning more about homeschooling or if they are struggling with your choice to homeschool.
Additional information can be found at bewildandfree.org.
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