#Schoolhouse Review Crew - Review of Joyce Herzog's Choosing & Using Curriculum: Your Guide to Home Education

Posted on May 22, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Homeschool pioneers seem to be a rare breed these days so I was tickled when I had the chance to review a set of books: Choosing & Using Curriculum: Your Guide to Home Education, 1 Physical book and 1 e-book by Dr. Joyce Herzog. If you have homeschooled any length of time you have heard her name. I have personally read and enjoyed four of her books.

In order to appreciate the information given in the books you have to understand more of her background.  Joyce Herzog is a gifted teacher and has taught classrooms of learning disabled students. She has 25 years experience teaching the learning disabled. I know her more for her timeless teaching tips and down to earth practical advice along with a solid Biblical worldview. It is sufficient to say she is an expert in the homeschooling community with a bent always towards looking outside the box which is what is needed when choosing curriculum. Really her tips in any of her books work for any kind of struggling learner, special needs or otherwise.

The physical book contains 28 chapters ranging in topic from Educational Styles, Infant & Early Childhood Training, How to Interest a Child,  What Grade Level {one of my favorites}, to Comparison of Handwriting Styles. Several of the chapters like Comparison of Math Programs, Comparison of Reading Programs and Comparison of Handwriting styles go beyond giving background information and include website links to help you navigate your way through the mounds of homeschool curriculum.

The information in the physical book is not just for new homeschoolers. Seasoned veterans struggle with some of the most basics when they hit a roadblock too. Choosing & Using Curriculum not only educates you as to the different types of curriculum, but arms you with practical teaching tips in Chapter 27: Adapting Materials for Special Situations.

I don't want you to get the impression this book is just for special learners. It is not. Most all of us come to homeschooling with preconceived ideas of how we are going to educate our children. Thinking that our vision is clear, we find out real soon it is filled with more questions than answers. So the book is filled with not only background information on each topic but it helps you to hone your homeschool identity.  Giving you tidbits from her many years of teaching experience helps you to avoid costly mistakes in more than one way. Sure it costs dollars when we purchase curriculum that is not a good fit for our family but most of all we have lost valuable time teaching our children in the process. This book is a short two hour read designed to equip you quickly to make decisions about your homeschooling style and the needs of your children.

I really enjoyed the 39 page companion resource e-Book because it is chock full of hyperlinks and has sections for General Resources, Free Resources and even unique categories like Deaf Education Resources and Blind Education Resources. There are enough links and resources mentioned that you will happily be clicking, reading and downloading for hours.

This is what I enjoyed the most about Choosing & Using Curriculum: Your Guide to Home Education

  • I value Dr. Joyce Herzog's mission to help new and veteran homeschoolers alike see that we can't warehouse children as she speaks about in her book. She has brought from her public school background only valuable teaching tips that will help you if you are struggling but has for sure left behind the thinking that education for the masses works.
  • The ability to write in non-educationalese even though her teaching background is immense. She values the Bible's words where parents are the foremost teachers.
  • Background information on each subject quickly educates a new or seasoned homeschooling teacher. You can avoid the stress of personally testing out each approach. Tying in Dr. Herzog's background information given and identifying your missteps in teaching thus far, you come away with some options on how to change your teaching approach now and in the years to come.
  • Dr. Herzog's obvious heart and love for new and veteran homeschooler alike is felt all throughout the book as she not only wants to help save you money, but to build fond memories of homeschooling with less clashes.

This is what I did not like about the book. I struggled here with this because most of the time I like to give a "pros and consideration" for reviews. I realize cons is not always a right word because that could be subjective and so it differs for everybody. However, this is not a consideration or even a con for me but a deal breaker.

  • When I got the physical book I thought a mistake had been made because the formatting was not up to standards like I have seen in her previous books.  Having written several outlines on a monthly basis for new homeschoolers, I feel like I lean more toward the forgiving side. Certainly I would not mention this if there were a few formatting issues.  I appreciate it is not easy to write from the heart and then to have to check for formatting. So I am not speaking about one or two mistakes but several huge formatting mistakes. A new homeschooler or veteran homeschooler might think it is unprofessional and question the validity and content of the information.

Even though the formatting was a main distraction I was able to glean valuable information from it and enjoyed the updated information from when I first read the original version in 1994.

Thank You Dr. Herzog for sharing your heart and teaching tips.

Product Name: Choosing & Using Curriculum: Your Guide to Home Education

Version: 2011

WebsiteJoyce Herzog

Price:  Companion Set {Physical Book and E-book}  $15.00

Created for: Veteran and new homeschoolers.

Type of Product:  1 Physical Book bound

E-Book Format:  1 E-book in pdf.

Customer Service: My book arrived with the binding torn. It did not affect the content but I felt like more care could have been taken with shipping. It was received at the time it was promised.

Hugs and love ya,

All product information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

Categories: TOS {The Old Schoolhouse} Curriculum Review