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Hard Times in Paradise

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  63 ratings  ·  15 reviews
An account of one family's life in a redwood forest describes how the Colfax's lived without electricity, running water, or a phone, and how they educated their sons, three of whom were accepted to Harvard on full scholarships.
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Published May 30th 2009 by Grand Central Publishing (first published July 17th 1992)
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The Colfax's story is one of perseverance. It is well worth the read. I found this book to be both encouraging and Inspiring.
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I enjoyed the Colfax's first book and had equal expectations for this tome, but was disappointed. This book covered their homesteading years extensively, but didn't really offer any additional insight as to educational philosophy or methodology - probably because they don't have one. Something didn't quite jive with their account of being fired and suing for tenure, but that was just my gut instinct. I was also more than a little bothered by the attitude the parents held that they were 'too good ...more
I really liked this book. It's about a family of six (four boys, two adopted, two bio) who decided to literally live off the land. The parents gave up their job, bought some land, and carved out a life for themselves by building their own home (which took many years) and adding livestock and gardens to support themselves. They had no electricity and no running water for years! The most fascinating part for me was that they homeschooled in a very, very non-traditional way and three of the four bo ...more
Kelly Houston
Easy, entertaining read.
Wonderful book that tells such a fascinating true story of a family in northern California that checks out of academia after much pain and blacklisting due to political activism both on campus and off. They bought raw acreage and carved out a homestead, raised their bio and adopted kids, and inadvertently became homeschoolers back when it was unheard of. Loved their writing style, their passion for social justice, and the life they chose in the late 1970's and early 1980's.
This is the true story of a family that left academia and began a homestead in northern California, with a pit-stop in Africa. They build their own home, raise livestock, and start a guest house. It's a really intriguing tale of life in the 1970s and 80s, the philosophy behind homesteading and homeschooling, and it's just plain interesting to read.
Polly Jirkovsky
A memoir of living on the land in the 1970s and homeschooling, really unschooling, four kids. The descriptions of the Colfax's life on the land were brutal, it's amazing they managed as long as they did in a half-finished house with no electricity. No wonder the kids couldn't wait to go to college.
I read Hard Times in Paradise years ago at the beginning of our homeschooling journey and just fell in love with the Colfax's story. Made me think more than once about moving to a remote area of the N. CA coast. My favorite homeschooling book!
I read this for the homestead information, but was also pleasantly surprised to read about their homeschooling. It sounds just like the Thomas Jefferson Education which I am very intrigued by. This was a very good, and intriguing book.
erin ball
This family is so interesting. Their kids (2 bio, 2 adopted) were what we might call "unschooled", and then (3 of the 4) graduated Harvard.
I loved this book because these people did something I wish I could do. Live in the mountains and survive and build a house. Plus they homeschool.
The true story of a crazy family who decided to 'get back to the land' in the 1970's. That they survived the experience is a miracle!
I wish I could give this 6 stars. Loved it!
Loved it and the Colfax family.
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Aug 31, 2015
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