Author Elizabeth Foss warns us at the beginning of her book,
Some parents are "homeschooling," endeavoring to bring a Catholic school experience to the dining-room table. This book is not about "homeschooling" at all. School is an artificial institution contrived by man. This book is about education a child in the heart of the family given to that child by his Creator. It is not about school at home—it is about something better. (p.17)
While most of us would still identify what Elizabeth presents in this book as homeschooling, it is only in the best sense of what homeschooling can and should be. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of Charlotte Mason, Elizabeth presents both philosophy and practical methods for Catholic home educators who share her desire to truly educate their child(ren) rather than just teach them.
Elizabeth's appealing writing style gracefully blends information with personal experiences. Black-and-white line drawn illustrations add charm
She begins by introducing Charlotte Mason's ideas and explaining how they address the formation of our children's hearts, souls, and minds. Then she moves on to subject areas, providing both the Charlotte Mason philosophy and the practical application. Using her own experience and correspondence with others, Foss offers suggestions for introducing our children to language arts, math, history, and science. Unit study is definitely recommended. In fact, Elizabeth includes a well-developed unit study, "An Integrated Literature Unit for Advent and Christmas," that even includes recipes. Religion receives special attention, focusing upon developing relationship with God rather than covering yet another subject. The arts also receive special attention in keeping with Charlotte Mason's belief about the importance of art experiences in the development of the child. Additional chapters on sports, organization, chores, and burnout, culminate with lists of recommended books for narration, presented in three levels (grades K-2, 3-5, and 6-8). Each level has three separate lists, with each of those lists arranged by months of the year, making it easy to select appropriate books.
Aside from these reading lists, Real Learning includes quite a few resource recommendations incorporated into the text itself. However, this is not a book one would read primarily for curriculum recommendations. Rather this book will help you develop your own family philosophy of education and make better decisions about goal setting, methods, and resources.