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Book Review: Creative Home Schooling grows up

It was the weighty Bible of gifted homeschoolers. You saw it on every shelf. My copy was so coveted, one of my homeschooling friends apparently walked off with it and it hasn’t been seen on my shelves since.

What was it? An extensively researched book called Creative Homeschooling by Lisa Rivero, published by Great Potential Press (who published my book, From School to Homeschool, ten years later).

The new version of Creative Homeschooling is slimmer and more focused on modern homeschooling.

Creative Homeschooling was exhaustive and a bit exhausting. At least one homeschooling mom I mentioned it to said that just looking at it gave her a headache! But it was a necessary resource when the Web was in its infancy. With the great changes in homeschooling since the first edition in 2002, homeschooling books have become something other than a resource list. At the time the first edition of Creative Homeschooling was released, however, parents were hungry for information.

“I wrote this book because I needed more information,” Rivero writes in her introduction to the new edition. “At the time, little had been published about homeschooling gifted children, and the Internet was not nearly the quick go-to resource it is today. Fewer people knew anyone who homeschooled or thought of it as a ‘normal’ choice.”

When I started homeschooling in 2007, Rivero’s book was already a classic. Although I couldn’t utter the G-word (“gifted“) in my usual homeschooling circles, as soon as I met another gifted homeschooler, we’d talk about Creative Homeschooling.

But now it’s 2015. People get their homeschooling information from the Web. Why a new version of this venerable homeschooling book?

Rivero says that the first thing she did in the revision process was to realize that her book was no longer valuable as an up-to-date resource list. In fact, even if she updated the list, it would go out of date quickly. The Web is the right place for resource lists. So what is left?

The new version of Creative Homeschooling is slimmer, more focused on the “why” and “how” of homeschooling. Paper listings go out of date immediately, but great advice is timeless.

“Present generation [homeschool] families have quickly learned that homeschooling a gifted child is not about finding the perfect approach or even the perfect resource; they know that the only way to make homeschooling work is to inform themselves as much as possible, and then to always make decisions based on their individual families,” Rivero says. “There is no book that can make those day-to-day decisions for them.”

Rivero’s book focuses on the keyword in its title: creativity. Homeschooling is not about following a formula, and learning is not about attaining a set body of knowledge. Modern education is all about creativity and flexibility; homeschoolers are well-situated in a world where being a lifelong learner is key to success (monetary or otherwise).

“Many of my college students can do a Google search in a heartbeat but are lost or anxious when it comes to organizing their own thoughts during an hour of solitude,” Rivero says. “Time is homeschooling’s greatest gift.”

Rivero gives away her point of view in many ways, not the least of which is starting her “Nuts & Bolts” section with thoughts on creativity. She focuses on creativity throughout, even when discussing such mundane topics as the loss of income in a household.

“Some homeschool parents give up a job to stay home with their children,” Rivero writes. “Often more stressful than the loss of income is the loss of intellectual and creative outlets.”


Author Lisa Rivero

The book’s emphasis is on “gifted” children, but the definition of that word has widened and Rivero’s advice is applicable to any child who is an asynchronous learner. Refreshingly, although Rivero’s book is aimed at families who value academics, she doesn’t push achievement-oriented learning. Rivero doesn’t jump on any bandwagons. Her material is based on research, such as questioning the validity of learning preferences, a bit of a sacred cow amongst homeschoolers at the moment.

The updated edition incorporates much of the cutting edge psychological and neurological research that has happened in the years since its first writing. Rivero includes information gleaned from research, such as Carol Dweck’s Mindset, takes on the right brain/left brain fallacy, argues for considering the problem of applying labels to children, and takes on the damage that overly high expectations can have on developing minds.

The new Creative Homeschooling isn’t the resource Bible it once was. It’s now a lean and focused look at the value and challenge of homeschooling bright children. The fact that it’s only being offered as an e-book is perhaps its most telling feature. This book is not a romantic look at homeschooling past, but rather a guide into homeschooling’s future.

Creative Homeschooling
by Lisa Rivero
Great Potential Press, 2014
Buy at or Barnes & Noble

Posted in Books, Homeschooling, Parenting.

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  1. Lisa says

    Thank you for such a detailed review, Suki! You made my day (who am I kidding, my month!). Updating this book felt a bit like coming home. ~ Lisa

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