May 202013
 May 20, 2013  Book Reviews, Education, education3

Home Field Advantage

Scroll down to enter our giveaway of TWO COPIES of Home Field Advantage!

Are you an established homeschooler looking to improve her game?  A newbie trying to figure out where to begin?  Or simply curious about homeschooling and whether it would be a good fit for your family?  Then this is the book for you!

For years Skyla King-Christison has used her popular blog At Home with Momma Skyla to chronicle her adventures homeschooling her three children.  Now you can find her advice and know-how in a comprehensive guide for homeschoolers, Home Field Advantage.  

It not only gives a window into what modern homeschooling looks like and what advantages it offers, it also gives an overview of the most popular and effective teaching methods and how to tailor them to suit your home and children.  

Comprehensive: Home Field Advantage gives a thorough, accessible overview of everything you need to know to thrive as a homeschooler, from which method to choose to how to structure your day.

Respectful: It is rare to find a book that is so even-handed in its presentation of different philosophies.  Throughout the book, Skyla is careful to present the advantages of each method as well as what is said by its detractors.  Importantly, she also suggests which families or children would be best served by each, rather than pushing one as the best fit for all.

Empowering: Skyla’s philosophy is you can do it!  A trained teacher herself, Skyla wrote the book to help homeschoolers to discover their own strengths and improve their teaching.  Home Field Advantage gives the ordinary person the benefit of educator’s perspective and experience, so that they can create the home environment they dreamed about. 

Here is my interview with the author, Skyla King-Christison:

1.  What prompted you to write Home Field Advantage?

As a homeschooling blogger, I was getting a lot of e-mails from moms either asking for the details of what we do in our homeschooling so that they could do the exact same thing, or asking where they could get information on their options.  I much prefer the second kind of question because no two families operate the same way and I don’t think it’s best to find someone who is homeschooling and just do what they do.  As for learning about their options, I searched and searched for a book that would give an overview of the choices available without pushing any one. 

No such book existed that was both thorough and unbiased.  Most people take the approach that there is one best way to homeschool and then push that to sell a book or a product.  That’s not what I wanted to give to parents who asked where to turn.  So I ended up sending back long e-mail responses, trying to be as helpful as possible.  Eventually I had the idea of saving all of those e-mails and compiling them into a file I could just send out without having to retype and rethink everything.  Finally, after all of that work crafting the perfect comprehensive response for new and prospective homeschoolers, I decided that I had begun working on a book long ago and just hadn’t realized it.  I found a publisher that caught my vision and the rest is history!  Now I have this book that has a little bit of everything parents need to build their own plan for their unique family rather than copying what their friends are doing.  I’m really proud of the final product!

2. What do you hope readers will get out of the book?

I really hope that readers will find just the right combination of information in the book to be empowered to jump into homeschooling and to feel confident enough to forge their own path.  The beauty of homeschooling is that you can tailor the school experience to the needs of each unique child, and being able to do that effectively requires a broad knowledge base and some courage.  I hope this book gives parents both of those things.

3. How in the world did you find time to write a book – especially one involving this much research – while homeschooling three children??

Well, like I said, it started mostly as e-mails that I squirreled away.  Then little by little, a play date here, a sleepless night there.  The bulk of the writing was done over the course of several years before I ever realized the book potential in what I had created.  There was not research at that point, either.  Once I signed on with Night Owls Press, they basically said we see your vision, but this is going to need some fine tuning and research and interviews, etc.  That was the intense part of the journey.  Most of the book was written without the pressure of the thought Hey!  I’m writing a book!  But once I found a publisher, I had deadlines and someone else to answer to.  But it was good.  My husband happily took the kids on camping trips or just outside for long stretches of time so that I could work.  My dear friends offered to let the kids come over and play while I did observations.  It was a community effort in that last stretch.  You never realize how supported you are until you have an almost impossible deadline.

4. What would you say to someone just getting started with homeschooling?

Love this question!  I always say relax and expect that quite a bit of time will pass before your homeschooling looks anything like you thought it would.  And maybe it will never look like you thought it would, but you’ll settle into something better than you expected.  You can’t see the final picture when you start out, and while you figure things out, it’s easy to feel like maybe it isn’t working and maybe you’re failing your children.  But if you ride out those fears and the road bumps with a sense of serenity, you’ll find yourself in a comfortable and confident place.  No one ever ends up doing things the way they did in their first weeks homeschooling.  There’s a lot of trial and error involved in the early days, and that is really scary for some people.  So just relax and settle in for the ride.  It will be wonderful in the end.

5.  Could you envision a school system where homeschooling would not be necessary (adequate, loving attention could be given to individual students), or do you think there will always be a place for home-based schooling?

Wow!  What a question!  Let’s see…  I already feel like homeschooling isn’t ideal for everyone.  That’s not an agenda I push.  I know people who love their kids’ school, they feel good about the balance they’ve found.  That’s lovely.  For me, my choice to homeschool wasn’t based solely on the quality of schools available to us.  In fact, we have a fabulous charter school in our town that lots of former homeschoolers have chosen to send their kids to, which had my husband and I sitting down and asking ourselves are we missing out on a great opportunity for our kids here?  And that really is when we realized how much more homeschooling means to us than just trying to create a perfect education.  A healthy family unit is a microcosm of a healthy society, and as such, the strengthening of unique family bonds through education equates on so many levels to the strengthening of society.  But still, just as our society is supported by having all sorts of different personalities (the risk takers, the meticulous planners, the reflective refiners, etc.), homeschooling allows everyone to develop different skill sets and academic areas, which results in a more well rounded and balanced society.  There’s something about being perfectly standardized in our education that seems risky to me, and so even still, I lean towards home education.

6. Many people would like to homeschool but don’t because of finances or family pressures.  What message do you have for them, and how can they make use of your book? 

I hear the finance question a lot.  And it’s not an easy question.  There certainly are some people who maybe couldn’t find enough sacrifices to make ends meet on a single income.  I accept that reality.  However, we have friends in our homeschooling community that are lower income, that struggle a bit to make ends meet, and that still choose to homeschool because it’s what they believe is best for their family.  And they do make it work.

I have a section in the book on finances and reflecting on how we spend our money.  I think for most people, when we look at what we claim to value – often what we know we should value – and then look at where our time and money go, we find places where we are putting out energy and our finances into things that are not in harmony with what we truly wish for our family to value.  For instance, when asked to write down what we value, no one ever writes down surfing the internet or watching television.  But when we write down how we spend our time and our money, many people will write that they spend hours each day on internet and television, and thousands of dollars each year on expanded cable packages and the like.

So, most of the time, when our finances and time align with our values, homeschooling fits into the budget.  Our family doesn’t pay for cable and we don’t go to the theater to see movies.  That’s one of the sacrifices that we make that enables us to afford homeschooling.  It’s not for everyone, but if your heart is in homeschooling, generally speaking, the money can be found.

7. Anything you’d like to add?  Are you planning to write any more books?

I’ve got other ideas for books, but I am not eager to begin the process again just yet.  Writing the book was so much less work than talking to people about it, speaking at gatherings of prospective homeschoolers, and guest blogging about it has been.  This is a lot of fun too, but it’s harder to schedule around homeschooling and it takes a lot more energy.  So, for now, this is getting my focus.  Still, as I talk to people who have read the book and invited me to speak at their meetings or do Q&As like this one, more little ideas for books that could help people pop into mind.  LOL!  I’ve got a running list in my Day Runner.  But for much, much later.

Thank you to Skyla for the interview and to Night Owls Press for letting us give away not one but TWO e-copies of this wonderful book!  Be sure to enter below for your chance to win an e-copy of Home Field Advantage by Skyla King-Christison!


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Disclaimer: We were provided with a complimentary copy of this book for purposes of review.  All opinions are our own.

  2 Responses to “Home Field Advantage: Homeschooling Guide Author Interview and Giveaway”

  1. This sounds like a fantastic book! I completely agree that there is no one size fits all homeschooling method.

    • It is a great book! And it makes sense that every family and every situation will be a little different, so everyone decides what suits them best. Sounds like a lot of work but worth the trouble.

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