By: John Evans
Publisher: Publish Green (e-book)
Publication Date: July 2011
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: June 28, 2011
As the title promises, John Evans is a highly experienced teacher in Texas (“over 12,000 classes and 1,000 students in two different school districts”) who discovered the benefits of homeschooling when the traditional educational system failed to meet the needs of his son Clint, a well-mannered, bright kid with ADHD. In The Home School Advantage, Evans offers the educational journey he took with Clint as a blueprint for others who might face a similar situation and share his values. As he writes, “The purpose of this book is to explore the home school advantage through a personal lens. I want to make the case that homeschooling is a viable – often superior – option for many parents and children.”
Evans provides a clear, highly organized, concise plan for homeschoolers who might want to follow the same school-at-home approach he provided for his son. Presented in a friendly though academic fashion, the author provides his “Five Keys to Success” in preparing a solid homeschooling plan, the “Four Essentials” (portfolio, transcript, graduation ceremony, and diploma) a view into a typical homeschooling day, a strictly planned and programmed work week schedule, advice for traditional assessment of students, guidelines on how to get started in homeschooling, and many more valuable resources for a new homeschooler.
In The Home School Advantage, the author challenges parents to become the best possible teachers for their children, and if that is not possible, at least to hire the best possible tutors. He admonishes, “...no one can give you the necessary commitment and enthusiasm. Those ingredients come from within...great teaching comes from the heart and flows outward. It’s disciplined and exciting at the same time. Remember that, and you’ll do well.” Evans supplies bullet-pointed tips for how to meet that challenge with discipline, enthusiasm and goal-orientation.
Evans remains steadfast in his wholehearted assertion that homeschooling is well worth the effort, particularly in comparison to the alternatives. He provides sobering insights into the potentially insurmountable challenges of the public school system that may open many parents’ eyes to the sad realities of the American school system. Evans relates anecdotes that illustrate the state of our educational system from a point of view of someone who has served on the front lines. And he contends and well demonstrates how homeschooling can overcome many of these obstacles. These views are backed up assiduously by a bevy of research studies and statistics that makes this book more than just a memoir.
Evans approaches homeschooling from a trained teacher’s perspective, and he promotes the model of creating a school-at-home setting. His perspective is sincere and sound; however it may not fit homeschoolers who reject the entire structure of the educational school system. Unschoolers, eclectic homeschoolers, and many others may find his homeschooling blueprint too restrictive and narrow. Evans’ lack of acknowledgement in the great spectrum of homeschooling styles misses the opportunity to offer support to entire populations of prospective homeschoolers. Nevertheless, there are surely other like-minded homeschoolers who will gratefully benefit from the knowledge Evans generously shares in The Home School Advantage.
Quill says: This book provides a generously detailed blueprint for homeschoolers who want to create the school-at-home model.