Well, this review is long overdue as I had completely devoured Alice's book, Haystack Full of Needles: A Catholic Home Educator's Guide to Socialization, on the plane on my way home from the Family-Centered Learning Conference back in July, and now I'm on my 3rd time through the book!
What a GEM!!! Most of my thoughts as I was reading were, "Alice honey, I wish I'd known ya back about 7 years ago" but I have already benefitted from this delightful and well-written book in so many ways, not to mention the fact that it was heaven on earth to meet the author in person, finally.
Home education for most of us who have done it for a while is not really about the socialization issue, but no matter how long we have schooled at home, I will inevitably get the "socialization" questions.
"But how do they meet friends?"
"Do they ever do any activities?"
"Aren't you sheltering them too much from the 'real world'?"
And I politely answer, "In lots of places, yes they have many activities, and Um, no."
This can be extremely difficult for some who may live on the outskirts of a community and not have access to much in the way of opportunities for themselves or their children. I have had these issues for many years and know the struggles of commiting to long drives to socialize, but we have done it and it has benefitted our family greatly. Alice touches on these thoughts many times as she too has struggled with finding opportunities for her children, even on Long Island.
My favorite element or theme that is echoed throughout the book is that most all of Alice's cherished and most treasured experiences with her children are centered around - prayer, coffee, and keeping the activity simple. What better advice for any new mom to home schooling, or seasoned mom that wants to begin a home school group gathering!!
Keep it simple.
Come to think of it, these have always been my most successful and cherished times with friends as well. Brilliant!!
Inviting people into your home isn't always possible or feasible, but there are so many other great ideas for gatherings that you'll just want to start them all right away, I know I do, but I'll try to restrain myself, at least until we move ;-)
This book is not to be missed, it is a MUST for any home educator's bookshelf, get a copy right now, you won't be disappointed, trust me!
It's available through Hillside Education, happy reading!
Congratulations my dear friend, you are amazing and I'm so glad to know you!