When I received The Catholic Homeschool Companion, my first thought was that it was likely an update of Wittmann's and Mackson's Catholic Homeschool Treasury (Ignatius Press) that came out in 1997. However, as I lined up the tables of contents of both books and then began to explore this new volume, I discovered it really is an entirely different book. The basic idea remains the same—collect a number of articles from those experienced in a variety of areas of homeschooling. But this 482-page collection is much, much broader and more comprehensive than in the Treasury.
The Companion features 58 articles, presented under the general headings of Core Subjects, Enrichments Subjects, High School, Homeschooling Styles and Strategies, Children with Special Needs, Homeschooling in Unique Circumstances, The Father's Perspective, Finding Inspiration, Homeschooling Community and Support, Home Management, and Homeschool Students and Graduates.
Because this is a collection of articles, it is not a complete book of "everything you want to know about Catholic homeschooling." For instance, the core curriculum articles deal with phonics, grammar, Saxon math, teaching science, teaching history, and "Teaching American Catholic History through Genealogy." Obviously, there are many areas of core curriculum not addressed. Still, the editors seem to have hit the most important questions. In addition, the various authors present their own preferences and choices, which results in a broader picture of homeschooling, especially helpful for the novice.
Catholic homeschoolers should appreciate the attention given to special issues they encounter such as working within parish sacramental guidelines as well as resources and programs that support their faith.
In addition to the articles, four appendices provide valuable information:
- Catholic Homeschooling Resource List (extensive list of Catholic books, publishers, distributors, magazines/newsletters, support organizations, blogs, websites, and colleges and universities.)
- Catholic Home-Study Schools (lengthy descriptions of the best Catholic programs)
- Resources for Homeschooling Children with Learning and Physical Disabilities (outstanding list of books, services, websites, and organizations)
- Foreign-Language Resources (brief listing that is moderately helpful)
Brief biographies of the authors and editors are at the end of the book. These might help give you a clearer idea of where each author is coming from.
The Catholic Homeschool Companion should be valuable to both novice and veteran homeschoolers. Another bonus: you can read articles as needed in whatever order you please rather than having to digest the entire book.