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Isabel Lyman Book Reviews by Izzy Lyman

The Homeschooling Father The Homeschooling Father
by Michael P. Farris

A better title for this paperback would have been Advice from a Christian Homeschooling Father. Mike Farris, president of the Home School Legal Defense Association and father of ten, encourages busy dads to play a larger role in their homeschools than just designated breadwinner. Farris has an ambitious game plan mapped out. Men need to prepare their children for careers, marriage, and citizenship, as well as be helpful husbands and spiritual leaders.

He offers practical ways to accomplish the herculean task of being at once a Billy Graham, James Dobson and Thomas Jefferson. For instance, he suggests reading the Declaration of Independence as a family and discussing it. He shares how he offered a hundred bucks to his three eldest children if they would read the Bible every day for a year. And Farris unashamedly broadcasts his countercultural views. He believes dating should be replaced with Christian courtship - a practice which reserves romantic love “for the time of life just before marriage.”

For a book, however, that is about home education and dads, there was no mention of fathers who have transformed their lives by starting home businesses or bypassing the corporate ladder to have a hands-on involvement in the homeschool. Like Jaren Green of Colorado who quit his day job to publish HomeSchool Dad magazine and help his wife teach their four children. Or attorney Ken Robinson of Massachusetts who is married to the award-winning illustrator, Ruth Sanderson. He keeps his law practice to a part-time endeavor and homeschools his younger daughter. Farris’ book would have been much more interesting and informative if he had included vignettes about such trailblazing men. Alas.


This article appeared in The Oklahoman on October 31, 1999.

Isabel Lyman lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. A former editorial columnist for the Daily Hampshire Gazette of Northampton, Massachusetts, her views have appeared in various national publications, including the Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily. She may be contacted via e-mail by clicking here.
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