A year of homeschooling. What could possibly go wrong?
In this honest and wry memoir, popular blogger, author, and former child actor Quinn Cummings recounts her family’s decision to wade into the unfamiliar waters of homeschooling – the fastest-growing educational trend of our time -- despite a chronic lack of discipline, some major gaps in academic knowledge, and a serious case of math aversion. (And that’s just Quinn.)
Quinn’s fearless quest includes some self-homeschooling – reading up on education reform, debating the need for “socialization,” and infiltrating conferences filled with Radical Unschoolers as well as Christian fundamentalists (and even chaperoning a homeschool prom). Part personal narrative, part social commentary, and part how-not-to guide, The Year of Learning Dangerously will make you laugh and make you think. And there may or may not be a quiz at the end. OK, there’s no quiz. Probably.
Cummings s witty memoir records her family s homeschooling experience and offers a critique of mainstream homeschoolers. A blogger and former child actor, Cummings (Notes from the Underwire) pulled her daughter, Alice, from the public school system after feeling that Alice wasn t meeting her potential, worried that increased homework loads would leave Alice less free time to follow a sudden curiosity. The family sets off on a haphazard homeschooling plan for Alice s sixth-grade year, dabbling in various methodologies ranging from hyperstructured online charter school approaches to active avoidance of structure before finding some middle ground with live, online classes taught by credentialed teachers. After recognizing and dismissing common concerns about socialization, Cummings launches into a brief history of compulsory education and the birth of modern homeschooling. She then walks through various subsets of homeschoolers and their approaches from the unschoolers to Christian fundamentalists. In an effort to find her niche within the homeschooling world, Cummings attends meetings and conferences with homeschoolers ranging from the most liberal to religiously motivated conservatives (this latter group being the founders of the modern homeschooling movement). Her own story, and that of her daughter, occasionally feels overshadowed by her larger critique of the movement, but Cummings s self-deprecating humor and parental earnestness makes for an enjoyable journey.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Ms. Cummings book does a wonderful job of letting you into her world and explaining with humor and grace why homeschooling is gaining substantial traction in the U.S. Her foray into the various different homeschooling extremes stems from her belief that this is a great experiment with very real consequences for her child. Her experiences with these other homeschooling groups, while not aligned with her beliefs, offer lessons into why people homeschool and is an interesting insight on parenting. You can hear her gain confidence in her decision as the book goes on. As a parent who never in a million years would thought she would homeschool, I will keep this book in my pantry next to the paper bags as we homeschool our youngest next year. SPOILER: There is no quiz, but I sure felt more confident in my decision having read this.