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The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  262 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Now with updated lists of available resource materials and the latest information on homeschooling technology, this manual is your access guide to homeschooling-maximizing family life while providing a quality education for children. With wit and wisdom gleaned from years of experience, Debra Bell sets forth a compelling vision for the joys of home-based learning and the e ...more
Paperback, Third Edition, 448 pages
Published April 1st 2005 by Thomas Nelson (first published February 28th 1997)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Well, this did not get off to a promising start as right off the bat the author tells us not to even bother trying to home educate without the guidance of the Lord. Of course, navigating the largely Christian homeschool universe as an atheist is nothing new and I've got a very thick skin about it but this seemed more insistent than usual. Still, I soldiered on because I really needed some guidance and this had gotten such great reviews.

What a wealth of information! Not to mention meticulously or
Debbie Phillips
I stopped reading this book. I finished most of it so I am counting it. In the later chapters on High School and preparing your children for college I started to feel like I was giving my children an inferior education, just because I did not do things her way. There is no balance in this book on the many choices for homeschoolers, like starting your own business after high school. Also she very much recommends outside classes, and even started a homeschool school to avail her kids of other teac ...more
Sep 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: homeschooling
This is probably the best homeschooling book I've read to date (and I've read ALOT). The book is an actual guide through the process of deciding to homeschool, what you need to homeschool, and lesson-planning for homeschool. Debra Bell is the first homeschooling author that has the guts to publish the downside to homeschooling and some of its ugly side effects on the mom.
This book is a very realistic look at homeschooling with great information and tons of additional resources listed. I may act
Nikki Powers
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Started reading this a year ago; I will be referring to this book a lot in the next several years.
Sep 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a hard book for me to rate, there was some excellent teaching advice, but there was also constant Christian religious instruction - which would have been more acceptable if it had been the "Ultimate Christian Guide to Homeschooling." I read the whole thing because I found some good tidbits, but I was disturbed by some areas like her husband's yearly review of her homeschooling and marriage. In some books, I might have felt this was a teasing way to look at the discussion, but in the con ...more
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Has some good strategies and suggestions, like how many assignments and what kind are suggested for a 1 credit course or honors course, that CLEP tests are year round and in more subjects than AP, and the MIT Open Content movement is making homeschooling easier. Also touches on transcripts, record keeping, etc. There is a very religious tone to it, which doesnt help me, but the overall information is good.
Margaret Chind
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The copy I read was orange. I'm not sure what edition it was, pub Apologia November 2009. I am glad I read it, I'm not sure if I need a copy to own. This one is a library book. I need to write down all my thoughts later...
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
The reason for my lower than typical review is due to the author's christian bias, and how dated some of the material is(original publication date is 1997) Other than that, I feel the book was good. I also acknowledge I am likely not the author's intended audience.
Erica Lyn
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Chock full of useful information. I almost took it back to the library when I saw it was a Christian-based book and I’m glad I kept it. Her beliefs do not distract from the fact she is a trained and experienced educator who also has extensive homeschool experience.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This will be a good reference for the upcoming years.
Dec 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
I could have sworn I already reviewed this book...

Overall, it was a good resource, BUT I still feel a bit lost and overwhelmed. It sounds like she relied on a local group quite heavily, and I'm not sure there is one here that I want to rely on. I admit, I still have some prejudices about the types of kids who are homeschooled, because most of the ones I knew growing up were... weird. BUT as it becomes more mainstream, I realize there are more normal people taking it on, and it's likely there wil
Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-christina
This book is the most helpful I've seen on the topic of 7th-12th grades. The first few chapters are the author's insights on why to homeschool teens, learning styles and overall skills to learn. This was helpful information but won't be applicable in every situation. The section I needed was middle school, which explains the foundation needed for high school. The high school sections by subject were next, as well as dual enrollment and college entry info. The appendix is impressive, with college ...more
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been surprised this year to realize that my tendencies as a public school teacher very much carry over to my homeschool environment. When I was a public school teacher, every year, around Valentine's day, I would hit the wall. I would feel unsuccessful, stressed and burdened down with things that weren't working. The same has proved true this year, even though my teaching platform has moved to my house. In years past, I would look at my current plan, identify what was or wasn't working an ...more
Julie King
Feb 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
I consider this book to be the Bible of homeschooling. Bell covers everything from standardized tests, curriculum choices, creating transcripts, preventing burnout, support systems, field trips, and even getting homeschoolers admitted into college.
Bell is a Christian and there is a heavy amount of Christian leaning, but you can also skip over those parts if you so choose. I think Bell gives great ideas that can be used by non-traditional homeschoolers who seek out opportunities to provide additi
Oct 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Bell's book is well organized and easy to read. It is full of information from a parent who home educated 4 children through high school. The author speaks from personal experience as a parent, teacher, and someone who helped start and maintain a home school coop. The only thing that was off putting at times is that the author incorporates her Christian religious beliefs into the book. The description of the book doesn't disclose this so I was a little taken aback at first and I wasn't sure if t ...more
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: homeschool
This book really covers a lot of ground, from deciding whether or not to homeschool(advantages and challenges), to learning style, curriculum, tips for not getting burnt out, homeschooling teens, guidelines for when to teach things for each subject, lots of recommended resources. It's written from a Christian perspective, but even if the reader is not a Christian, there are a lot of practical tips.
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Still relatively new to homeschooling, this book looked like it might have answers to all of my questions. But having home-schooled just long enough to know what works for me and my family, "The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling" felt like an ultimate guilt trip. I don't do things the way the author does them, and I think that's okay. She does list some very excellent resources, from curriculum to books to state and national homeschooling organizations.
Mar 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: home-schooling
A decent book with loads of references, compilations of useful information on hsing curriculums, etc. and was thankfully written by someone who wasn't out to convince the reader that all homeschoolers never have problems, which was refreshing. I got a lot out of this book, and would recommend it be on any beginner homeschooling family's bookshelf.
Aug 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many homeschooling books begin with attempts to convince you that you should homeschool. This one has several chapters about making the decision. They outline the pros and cons. The author is even willing to say there are times when homeschooling would be a wrong choice. I appreciate the balance and would recommend it to anyone considering this educational option.
Gordon Paisley
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Excellent resource for homeschooling in high school Read it just in time for #1 to start Jr. High--7th grade. Planning for college begins in high school and planning for high school begins in 7th grade.
Lots of perspective and experiences shared from a recognized expert. Bell is helpful without being pedantic or prescriptive.
Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
A good overview of homeschooling and everything it involves, from teaching philosophy, to curriculum preparation, to planning and organizing. The only issue I have with this book is that it should mention the author describes homeschooling from a Christian perspective. While it's easy to skip over those parts, they are there, throughout the book, not grouped in a specific chapter.
May 15, 2015 added it
Shelves: children
Struggling to get into this book. I understand that a lot of people come to homeschooling with a Christian perspective but this is wading through scripture without a lot of homeschooling info, hopefully I will be able to read it for long enough for it to get easier to read.. This definitely gets better but have to return as overdue.. Lost bookmark but at least p 56
Carolyn Tye
Jul 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a sea of homeschool how to books, this one stands out. I borrowed this from my library, but I plan to purchase it as a reference for future use. It is that good.

I loved how the author truthfully and realistically discussed her homeschool challenges and successes.

It is an excellent road map for navigating the middle and high school years. I wish I had read it three years ago.
I've been skimming this book for a while now. She's very witty, and I enjoy reading things here and there. I haven't been able to just read through it. Maybe because I'm so far from actually homeschooling.
Jennifer Daniel
Aug 09, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I wish it would tell you on the cover when it is a Christian based homeschool approach. I know a lot of homeschoolers who are Jesus people, but not everyone is! I was looking for fresh ideas on lesson plans, some new ideas etc. not how to save my immortal soul.
May 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book gave so much information in a variety of areas and was very helpful. I got this from the library and tried taking notes, but realized there was too much to take notes on and that I should buy this book for my library!
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is truly an Ultimate Guide. It's full of good, doable advice based on experience. It's written in a funny way and not so hard to follow or understand. A must and good read for every homeschooler or any family thinking of homeschooling.
Oct 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Packed with information! Bell includes lots and lots of outside resources for each topic she covers. There are 40 chapters plus an over 100 page appendix with even more helps!!! I borrowed this book from the library but may end up purchasing it. Great resource and user friendly!
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
The most practical down-to-earth book I've read about homeschooling thus far. She doesn't glamorize it or think everyone should do it. It was overwhelming at times, but I think it is because I am just beginning my homeschooling journey. I might have to buy this one as a resource.
May 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Good overall resource. This book is more like listening to a seasoned homeschool mom give you advice as opposed to a book about curricula reviews. Worth a read even if you're a seasoned homeschool parent.
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