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The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling

3.52  ·  Rating Details ·  1,036 Ratings  ·  285 Reviews
Think homeschooling is only for a handful of eccentrics on either end of the political spectrum? Think again. Today in America, two million primary- and secondary-school students are homeschooled. Growing at a rate of 10 percent annually, homeschooling represents the most dramatic change in American education since the invention of the mimeograph--and the story has only ju ...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published August 1st 2012 by Perigee Books
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Am I the only who got the impression Quinn Cummings only started to homeschool her daughter so that she would have material for a book?

At first I was loving this book, laughing a lot and thinking about foisting copies of it off on all my friends and family who are considering homeschool as an option for their family. After the first few chapters though I quickly changed my mind. Now I am not sure I would recommend it to anyone with out a lot of disclaimers attached.

The book changed from the aut
I love to read stories about other people who homeschool, just as I love to read stories about people who come from Arkansas, and people who are overweight, and people who have any other random thing in common with me. So I didn't need Cummings' book to inform me, or reassure me--I just wanted to read about her experience homeschooling her daughter.

That being said, I was titillated to see how Cummings embodies the fantasy of probably many secular homeschoolers--to sneak into one of those super-
Connie  Kuntz
Warning: This is more of a personal essay than a book review.

I am simultaneously introverted and a showoff. I am also as much of a rule-follower as I am a rebel. It took me a long time to realize that particular kind of inner conflict clashes with classical educators.

That kind of inner conflict also kept me mentally and physically constipated for basically my entire education.

Warning: Don't read any further if the subject of poop offends you.

I remember the first time I was constipated. I was i
Aug 08, 2012 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting, sociology
I don't home school. Beginning a few weeks from now, both of my children will be in the neighborhood public school, and I'll be working hard as a parent to ensure that they are getting an excellent education there for as long as we're able to stick it out.

The good thing about this book is that the author respects and appreciates that, because she's been there. Quinn Cummings is a normal parent trying to navigate the often-polarized waters of homeschooling as an average citizen and having a bit o
Heather Fineisen
Feb 14, 2017 Heather Fineisen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adventures in Homeschooling

What I really liked about this book was the history of homeschooling as an American phenomenon and the immersion of the author into various homeschooling sub groups. Cummings doesn't take herself too seriously which makes her relatable. She does take her parenting seriously and there are some good tips for the novice home schooler. An enjoyable and informative read perfect for beginners to the subject.
A quarter of the way through this book, I would have rated it 4+ stars. Two-thirds through, I'd have given it 2 stars, maybe even 1 because I was getting so annoyed. By the end, it was redeemed a bit, leaving me around 3.5. Maybe 3.739485673458, just for fun.

Here's why the fluctuations:

First off, Cummings is funny reading. Really amusing, especially when she pokes fun at her own difficulties (and now I know I'm not the only one who checks hotel room closets for homicidal maniacs--although actual
Laura Rogers
I am a bit suprised to see some reviewers think her treatment of various homeschool subgroups as "snarky" or mean-spirited. I didn't get that at all.
I thought she was a well intentioned traveler through the homeschool world who finds the variations there in fascinating and worthy of commentary.
I am a long time homeschooler and a graduate of homeschooling. I thought her book was hilarious and found myself delighted with her apt descriptions and witty remarks. I have a unique position in that I w
Oct 08, 2012 Lynda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book to read since I am new at the homeschooling game, we just started this year--I thought the first few chapters were very funny and engaging, however, the book went downhill from there. It really wasn't so much a book about homeschooling as the author's somewhat obsessive need to infiltrate the homeschooling communities she could find and then, for the most part, deride or ridicule them. I ended up loosing interest and did not finish the book--I also did not find that it res ...more

Homeschooling is an issue that most politicians conveniently ignore when ranting about our education system. I don't know exactly why since it is quickly becoming a real force of change. I picked up this book because my feelings are ambivalent at best: the internet has changed everything about how information is processed, stored and disseminated and I really believe that the choice that more and more parents are making reflect that. Why subject your precious child to the vagaries of a public
Christina Gagliano
Quinn Cummings is a truly gifted comic writer! Her word choices and effortless, yet "full of big fun words" style makes for an enjoyable and engaging read. Even as I become annoyed with some of her choices ("would you stop overthinking things already?" and "ugh, what a helicopter parent"), I admired her total honesty, her ability to keep an open mind and explore the variety of homeschooling and blended learning options available, and, most of all, the fact that she is constantly driven by the de ...more
Jun 03, 2013 Monika rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted on my blog, A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall:

In The Year of Learning Dangerously, Quinn Cummings chronicles her family's decision to take her daughter out of public school and homeschool for a year. It starts off great. Cummings addresses her reasons for choosing to homeschool, as well as some of the concerns parents (and other people) have. I especially appreciated her comebacks to the tired "what about socialization?" questions and comments.

There are plenty of witty moments, on
Katie Tatton
The Year of Learning Dangerously chronicles one woman's quest to find a style of homeschooling that best fits her family. I like the idea behind this book, and I think that there is a market for people who are looking to provide a better education for their children than what traditional public education provides, while not fitting into the homeschool stereotype of ultra-conservative Christians or free-living hippies. Where the book falls short, however, is that its author expects me to believe ...more
William Lucas
Aug 08, 2012 William Lucas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
PLEASE READ, especially if you're a parent, but mainly if you love good writing. There reason I know it's so great is because I've read it. Not because I'm a fast reader. I'm the slowest reader on earth, which for years I blamed on the Clinton, SC public school system. Until my dad told me HE'S a slow reader and I learned it's genetic. I started reading it back in June, when Quinn's agent gave me an advance copy. These are the test copies they print before it's been proofed and the spelling and ...more
Heather Apgar
After reading so many "The right way to homeschool is..." books, this was refreshing. The author describes her foray into homeschooling her child, and examining various methods of accomplishing her goals.
She is amazingly even-handed with differing schools of thought, and quite funny about the pitfalls of each. Cummings wit and self-deprecation made her adventure real, and made it a more interesting read than a review of the homeschooling factions. Her desire to do the best for her daughter whil
Feb 18, 2013 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Humorous and slightly interesting intro and conclusion, but the entire middle section (aka almost the entire book) is a series of criticisms and rude "humor" made at the expense of several homeschool sub-groups (which are not representative of most homeschoolers, by the way). These criticisms come from her first-hand experiences of faking her way into various conferences, conventions, and activities. The book's focus isn't even on the author's homeschooling experience with her daughter, mainly b ...more
If a moron like Quinn Cummings can homeschool her child, anyone can! *rimshot*

That's the type of humor in this book, where the author manages to educate her whiny, perpetually starving, shallow, and spoiled daughter for a year. There's kind of a fond viciousness to it that makes me wonder about the author's preferred method of self-harm. Or if deep down, she didn't decide to take her daughter out of school before the "mean girl" gene kicked on.

Anyway, because Cummings's daughter "Alice" hates ma
This is the memoir of a Los Angeles mom who decides to try homeschooling with her daughter after being disappointed by their experiences in public and private schools. What I appreciated most about Cummings’ story is that her family doesn’t fall into any of the “typical” homeschool categories: her daughter isn’t a genius, nor does she have learning problems, nor are they religious, nor are they off-the-grid hippies, nor do they travel/move a lot. Cummings’ anxieties about her daughter’s educatio ...more
Feb 19, 2014 Andrea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think it's kind of ironic that the tag-line for this book calls it an "honest and wry memoir". Quinn Cummings, the author of this book, was anything but honest with the many groups of people she used in order to drum up material for this "memoir".

I enjoyed the first few chapters of the book but quickly became unsettled an increasingly annoyed as she belittled and discounted every philosophy she came across that didn't agree with her world view. She lies and assumes alternate personas in a supp
Jan 23, 2014 Julie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Thank god this wasn't the first book I picked up as a new homeschooling/unschooling mom. As for child star Quinn Cummings, (eye roll) she deserves an award. For the biggest bitch in history. I couldn't get thru the book at all. I stopped at page 137. This is from someone who finishes a book no. matter. what.

Quinn was not at all interested in doing any actual homeschooling, but she spent lots of time mocking homeschoolers... No one homeschool/unschooling group was safe from her wrath.

Radical uns
Aug 10, 2012 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book funny, refreshing, and very familiar. I've had both of my older children in public schools, though only for a small amount of time, and have quickly realized that public schools aren't going to serve these children well. Many children will thrive in public schools, mine won't. It was terribly frustrating to try and push my square pegs into round holes. So I brought them home.

She records her first year of homeschooling as a secular family. She isn't coming to homeschool from a p
Carly Thompson
Average book about contemporary homeschooling. The author decides to homeschool her daughter Alice for 6th grade after feeling that Alice needed a more tailored educational experience (she loves to read and excels at English but doesn't like math and refuses to master long division with remainders). The book documents the first year of this experiment as Cummings relates her attempts at schooling Alice and also investigates various methods of home schooling. Much of the information about homesch ...more
Jan 28, 2013 Rachel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I feel like I need to explain such low rating. This very short book has the feel that it was written on an expense account. Other than a field trip with her daughter to the grocery store for math, there did not appear to be much enrichment of her daughter's educational experience. So I do not know if there was not because of the author's preoccupation with how others homeschool, or she did not put any energy into the curriculum. It was one of the longest short books I have read in a long time. I ...more
Penny McGill
I should have guessed this was going to be a bit satirical by the cover but I had no idea it would be this funny. I really never seriously considered homeschooling our girls but there have been times, when the school world hasn't pleased me, and I've wished so hard that I had made the decision to homeschool them, despite my absolute lack of any skills that would contribute to a healthy learning environment. So, Quinn Cummings book was really just a whim read for me and I'm glad I did pick it up. ...more
Dec 19, 2012 Lorena rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
The author had a catchy way of writing, but I couldn't help but think every time she attended a conference, it was only for the purpose of "research" (she probably wrote off all of the travel expenses). She tried to portray herself as open-minded, but she ruthlessly mocked every group (she even dressed in costume to attend one homeschool conference). She seemed to reinforce stereotypes and brought up such bizarre examples. In the end, I guess she will continue homeschooling, but in a cool, not " ...more
Jen Deaderick
Aug 08, 2012 Jen Deaderick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun and thoughtful read. She manages to pack a lot of relevant and interesting information, including some fascinating history, into what is really a short book. And she does it with great humor and a graceful touch.

Her insights on the future needs in education are provocative. As the mother of an imminent second grader, I have thought often of the issues she addresses, and I loved hearing her thoughts. And the kindness with which she regards those with different opinions is lovely and refresh
Jul 22, 2013 Junepoppy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
No, this book isn't a serious book about homeschooling. Despite touching on the history and basics of many of the main philosophies that homeschoolers subscribe to, this isn't the book to read if you're looking for help making your personal decision on the right philosophy for you. BUT, if you are looking for a hilarious, honest, and did I mention hilarious, perspective on homeschooling - this is the book for you! It's super light reading, I breezed through it laughing all the way, and it was pe ...more
Jul 06, 2014 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I happened upon this book in a library, and I'm going to buy it so I can re-read it an loan it out. It's touching, hilarious, informative, and charming. As a not-your-stereotypical homeschooler I identified with the author completely.

If you're a homeschooler, you must read this book because you will identify with the author and her fear, challenges, neuroses, pride, and humility.

If you're not a homeschooler, you must read this book to understand all your friends who homeschool.
Dianne Oliver
Nov 08, 2012 Dianne Oliver rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: interest
After so many professionals deciding for me how I best ought to homeschool, I found this exploration of all the various ilks (she "infiltrates" the likes of Radical Unschoolers, Gothardites, Evangelicals, Fundamentalists...) refreshing, comical, and lighthearted. There is validation in it as well. (Yes, it is ok for teens to sleep a lot). I am a bit of a kindred math induced coma, sarcastic kind of mom, who can appreciate that all homeschoolers have to find their own style.
Yes. That Quinn Cummings. After writing a blog for several years, she's branched out to books. This one about her experiences researching homeschooling for her daughter was slight and she's far too self-deprecating for someone so very intelligent. But it was fun and her points at the end about roam schooling were thought-provoking.
If you like "do somethingg for a year" memoirs, you might like this book. I found it to be less about homeschooling and more about the stunts she pulls infiltrating various groups of homeschoolers.
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“Homeschooling will certainly produce some socially awkward adults, but the odds are good they would have been just as quirky had they spent twelve years raising their hand for permission to go to the bathroom.” 12 likes
“I was shocked, however, to discover that homeschooling is not allowed in the Netherlands. I could only imagine that after legalizing pot, prostitution and gambling, they had to outlaw something.” 8 likes
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