When I first began homeschooling 13 years ago, someone gave me a catalog that had some excellent articles in it. The articles covered maybe 12 pages of the book. I say this because, I feel like Barbara has managed to take those 12 pages of articles and expand them into a couple of hundred pages with no real added value.
If you have access to this book for free, it is worth browsing for ideas, if you don't have access, it is NOT worth the money.
I think the book could be summarized in 3 points: First, you as the parent have the right to choose what classes your child should take. Second, you have the freedom to grant credit for any kind of project or learning experience you wish. Third, there are many ways to learn, it doesn't always require a textbook or exams to show that learning.
To a great extent, I agree with that foundation. Even colleges grant credit for overseas trips they sponsor. And I would say a child who has read every book in the library about WW II is due credit for what he has learned from his reading.
However, if you have a child who is preparing for college, a lot of her suggestions would not provide valid work to give honest high school credit. That doesn't mean you have to use only textbooks for the college bound, but it does mean that the work has to be truly at high school level, not elementary level.
Again, the book is ok for giving some ideas, but really spends a lot of time repeating the same concepts over and over without much additional benefit. I think it is best looked at as a way to choose/create electives for your student, not how to create a true core high school curriculum.
A friend suggested I get this book because I was planning to pull my daughter out of public school and home school high school. I was a bit unsure if it was worth the money or if I would find any value in this book. But, I am so happy I bought it. I have read and reread parts of this book over and over. I have taken notes and looked up other books that were mentioned in this book as well. The most valuable aspect of this book is the organization it brings. I now feel I have a handle on how to home school high school, as well as keep records and follow a plan to stay on track. I have confidence in myself as a mother and as a teacher. It has made me rethink the values I want in my children when they leave the home and I have been reevaluating the importance of just book education vs. learning the basic life skills needed to survive and well as a trade. I love how all aspects of education is brought up in this book and they all have their place in education.
I have not finished the book, yet... it isn't a quick-read, but I am loving every minute!! I am getting excited about homeschooling again! We have homeschooled for 4 years now and I was getting a little sick of things as they were. God has led us on our own path towards a Lifestyle of Learning-type lifestyle and then we received Marilyn's books ~ and I've visited Barb's website OFTEN! www.homeschooloasis.com In soooo many ways, this is not JUST a high school book. I have been able to see the big picture and am excited about finding God's long-term plans for all of our children. Being able to see the vision of high school in a relaxing atmosphere has put even grade school into a better perspective. There is no great rush to get the right amount of info into their little heads before they enter high school. Being able to see the Graduation results we want can be broken down into bite-sized pieces, not just for the preceding 4 years before Graduation, but all the way down to where each child is right now. I can see now where I want some foundations for the future studies in high school. My recommendation would be to read this book along with any other homeschooling info books. The basics and the long-term vision are both described with much needed realistic perspective. I want to thank Barb for the effort she has put into making this book a picture of a wonderful family life - and for keeping the focus on Jesus and how much God is just waiting to lavish us with His blessings!! I'm thankful for her giving so much time and effort to put sooooo much info into one place! WOW! She said somewhere in her book that books are just tools in our hands and that she has given a sort of smorgasbord for us to glean from. I'm glad she has given us the credit to sift through and let the Holy Spirit do His thing in our homes!
I just wanted to say that I find this book to be extremely helpful and enjoyable. I don't find Barb's style to be preachy or pushy at all!!! On the contrary, by her being so REAL, she is extremely helpful and I believe the love and life of the Lord is being seen through her writings. I am glad for every tidbit Barb put into this book. It is loaded with very practical help, as well as spiritual and scriptural guidance. But she is not at all overbearing with it. She is very loving and full of GRACE. She is not flashy or showy, but just "herself". I didn't feel at all "pressured" to have to do everything in the book. But it has given me some great ideas that I can use as a framework to work around. I HIGHLY recommend this book.