A Home Education Notebook … to encourage & inspire Ross Mountney
This book review is long overdue. I first read it a year ago, once more since and have dipped in and out of it too. Plus, I lent it to a friend who also devoured it cover to cover then dipped in and out as the need arose.
Rose Mountney, former school teacher, removed her primary aged children from the educational system and embarked upon their home education journey. Both of her daughters, now in their 20’s are successful in their chosen career paths following college and university, having never returned to school.
Armed with this knowledge and a title that proposes to encourage and inspire, I had very high hopes for this book. I am delighted to say it delivered and more.
The book contains 211 pages within its very tactile cover. It opens with a warm introduction asking if we have lost the plot and offering comforting advice from the get-go. Advice and acknowledgement of fears (or “wobbles” as the technical term used in Home Ed circles) that only someone who knows what you’re going through can offer. Ross states clearly that this is not a “How to…” guide but help to
“bring you back to your core intentions when you’re wobbling. And give you some company and encouragement until you get there”
There are 52 chapters, each around 4 pages long, tackling every conceivable wobble we, as home educators, face. Before reading, I thought about my own personal wobbles and gratefully found they were all addressed in the coming chapters. Topics such as : I’m not a qualified teacher, keeping records, screen time, curriculum, control, doing it wrong, tests, failure and does it actually work long term.
Each and every concern is alleviated with practical common sense advice and a good dose of personal experience and anecdotes told with humour. She squashes all home education myths, deftly knocking them on the head like a pro whack-a-mole player (if there is such a thing…) myths like the S word (socialisation) or about HE kids turning out weird. It is incredibly heartening to know that we are not alone in feeling our wobbles, that it is OK and there is support – this book offers so much support from the wisdom of Ross’s own experiences.
The book closes with a list of final tips and words of encouragement. I finished book thoroughly enthused and raring to go!
Who should read this book? It is perfect for anyone interested in going down the home education route, new home-edders, experienced home-edders, concerned family members who worry for their grandchildren/nieces/nephews etc who are home educating, teachers and other education professionals who disagree with home education, all Local Authority personnel whose remit includes the Home Ed community, anyone who reads an article on home education in the newspaper or online and is compelled to write a comment from a place of ignorance, for any parent whose child(ren) is in school and they didn’t know there was an alternative and anyone who thinks HE is wrong and the only way to educate children is in school. Feel free to add any others I may have missed from the list.
This is one book that I know I will refer to time and time again, safe in the knowledge that it will restore calm, remind me of why we are on the HE path and encourage me to keep going.
A brilliant book written from a place of love and passion for home education, whilst wearing the been there done that t-shirt and served with a hot mug of tea and a hug when you need it.
Does a Home Education Notebook encourage and inspire? Absolutely yes!