I don’t often read books on homeschooling. Not that I don’t think I can learn from others experiences, but finding a book whose author I could connect with, that didn’t push a specific methodology, and wasn’t dripping with religious references, was more of a challenge than it was worth to me. As the homeschool community has evolved so have the homeschooling books available and I have been pleasantly surprised by a few of them recently. When I picked up my copy of Beverly Burgess’ book, Out of the Box Learning, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as I was reading I quickly felt like Beverly was a friend. When telling of her personal journey she puts her heart on the pages of this book, yet balances emotion and information beautifully.

The challenges and concerns she faced during the early years with her oldest child are becoming a more common story in the homeschool community from parents who hadn’t planned to homeschool. Having a child with special needs or learning challenges whose needs aren’t being met within a traditional school setting can be incredibly scary, confusing, and frustrating. Balancing the needs and care of younger siblings while facing that situation head-on can be absolutely overwhelming. While Beverly’s journey is remarkably different than my own there are some striking similarities and I immediately connected with her story. Her ability to trust herself and step away from the traditional way of thinking about education has led her family down an incredible path, though not one without bumps in the road.

While the first part of this book focuses on the path that led her to pull her son from public school the second part is filled with valuable information, advice, and support. Beverly discusses some common homeschool topics like reasons to homeschool, finding balance, planning, state regulations, and of course socialization. There is empowering advice in her chapters on deschooling, how to handle those who don’t support your decision, and common homeschool mistakes. If you are looking for tips on how to find the right co-op or curriculum, homeschooling multiple grades and ages, or need advice on homeschooling while working or through illness Beverly has that covered and more. From traditional to alternative homeschool styles Out of the Box Learning has advice and support. I am entering the high school years with my oldest and was quite pleased to see the depth of Beverly’s chapter on homeschooling high school. From courses and extracurriculars to credits, exams and portfolios, planning high school to looking ahead to college, this chapter is packed with superb information.

Beverly Burgess has written a book that is wonderful for those considering homeschooling or just beginning their homeschool journey, as well as veteran homeschoolers in search of support and connections within the homeschool community.

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