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Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  379 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
An honest, perceptive discussion of children, education, and our common life as a nation by the bestselling author of Snow Falling on Cedars. A high school English teacher, Guterson and his wife educate their own children at home. "A literate primer for anyone who wants to know more about alternatives to the schools" (Kirkus Reviews). Index.
ebook, 264 pages
Published September 16th 1993 by Mariner Books (first published 1992)
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May 28, 2011 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author of this book (most famously known for his novel Snow Falling on Cedars) was a high school English teacher in Washington state. He and his wife homeschooled their three children, which gives the author a unique perspective on the differences between formal school (in this case, public school) and homeschooling. For the most part, I agree with many of the author's conclusions: there is something tremendously industrial about how we educate our young people, which may have made sense for ...more
May 01, 2015 Poiema rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teacher-books
I picked this up at the library on a whim, back in the 90's. We had a family in our church that was homeschooling, which I thought was a little weird. I knew there would be more and more we'd encounter in the course of our ministry who'd be choosing this option, and as a pastor's wife, I wanted to understand the philosophy behind the choice. W-e-l-l, this book shook me to the core. It challenged me to consider my own philosophy of education. My firstborn was only 2 at the time, but this book was ...more
I couldn't put this book down! I read it over the course of two evenings. However, it was not what I expected at all by the title. Chad and I are in the researching and pondering stage of formally homeschooling our children. I thought it was a book about all the reasons it is great to home school. It is....kind of.

It is written by a Public High School English teacher, who home schools his children. He has perspectives from both worlds. His insights into public education ring true to my experienc
Mar 02, 2010 Gloria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While this book is somewhat outdated (published in 1992), it was a pleasant change of pace to read a homeschooling book put out by someone other than "typical" caricatured "religious right" homeschoolers we see.

I'm reading Guterson's book of short stories and noticed he'd written a book on homeschooling. I thought "Huh...?" Writer, public high school English teacher AND homeschooler? So, I bit.

Again, much of the information is a little outdated, and homeschooling seems more widely accepted now
Austen to Zafón
Guterson (best known for his historical novel, "Snow Falling On Cedars") is a public high school teacher who, with his wife, taught his own kids at home. His book isn't about how to homeschool; rather, it's a look at the reasons, both historical and practical, to do so. While he addresses some common concerns like "What about socialization?" (although that's a rather dated question now), he focuses more on what homeschooling means for us as a society and how we got to this place where so many pe ...more
Jul 12, 2015 Chrisl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1990s, dew001-499
The County Commissioners had a justified policy of appointing a member of the home school community the the library board of trustees. Obtaining inter-library loans for the older kids was an enjoyable aspect of my job. This book provides quite useful perspective.
Feb 29, 2012 Maggie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book may be 20 years old, but it's the most refreshing & inspiring message on homeschooling that I've read to date. Every other book I've tried to read, I couldn't finish.
David Guterson has thought much harder about his reasons for homeschooling than I have. Or at least he has researched it more. I have given it a great deal of emotional thought, but not taken to the books in the same way that he has. Some of the issues he raises are completely unimportant to me;like the idea that taking my children out of public school is somehow undemocratic. This is not his own opinion, rather an accusation he has run into from critics.

Something i did feel helpful was his han
A homeschooling book written by a public school educator. He teaches high school English at Bainbridge High and homeschools his children. A friend recommended this one.

I loved what he had to say in the introduction. What he came to in the conclusion seemed like it was written by a different man entirely.

I like that he didn't have too many prescriptions about doing (home)school. I resonate with his experience as a classroom teacher (though I'm befuddled by his unexplained, passionless decision t
May 28, 2016 Doni rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you can get past the terrible writing, this book is worth the read. The author is in the unusual position of being both a public school teacher and a homeschool teacher. This is not a guide on how to homeschool. It is not even a description of homeschooling. It is somewhat of a defense of homeschooling. Homeschoolers tend to score as well or better than their school counterparts on standardized tests. Homeschoolers are in a better position to individualize programs of study to each individual ...more
Annagrace K.
I really enjoyed this book. I didn't always find it the easiest book to read (the author's style is pretty dense sometimes) but I think it offers a great overview of educational philosophies and our American school structure. I really appreciated reading a book on educating at home that is NOT from a religious or isolationist viewpoint (so refreshing!) and that is grounded in love for community and supportive of the institutions that have made us great. In other words, this is not a book of fear ...more
Feb 21, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: homeschooling
why? indeed, a must-read during the dull February homeschool burn-out time of the school year! intelligently written by a public high school English teacher/homeschooling father. a bit dated, but the good points still apply.
Jul 11, 2008 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Family Matters' offers a cogent look at the practice of homeschooling and, more broadly, the crucial role of parents and families in the education of young Americans. While David Guterson educates his three boys at home, he is not intent on championing homeschooling here so much as explaining the underlying rationale for it. Guterson himself teaches English at a public high school and acknowledges that homeschooling is not for everybody. But, he says, there are strong academic, social, and poli ...more
Jen Madsen
I ultimately chose public schooling for my children--then later placed them in a charter school before becoming a public school teacher myself. You may say I'm a bit conflicted when it comes to the politics of education. Or, to spin it in another direction--I'm very broadminded. This book on homeschooling gives the simplest, most human argument for homeschooling I found. Guterson's reasons are not fear-based but spring from the natural relationship between a parent and child. Thinking about it n ...more
Mar 22, 2016 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
Excellent book.
Jun 04, 2008 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: homeschoolers and educators
Shelves: my-books-read
I loved reading this book. It was packed with the history on the homeschooling movement, history of legal cases and information on methods, education philosophers and the authors own personal experiences as a school teacher and homeschooler to his three children. Although I didn't agree with every thing he said he did bring up some though provoking points. I learned a lot from reading this book, especially the history of education. I would buy this book to keep on hand and use as a reference.
Jul 07, 2009 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: homeschooling
I picked this book up at Healthy Kids. This author is a high school english teacher, but also homeschools his own kids together with his wife. After reading it I feel more intrigued and I want to ask people I know why they homeschool. Like everything in life, there are pros and cons to both. I don't know if I could do it or not, but I know Julia would get a better education at home. You just can top one-on-one instruction. I just wonder about all the rest she'd miss out on. =)
Julie Clark
Jan 06, 2010 Julie Clark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: homeschool
I randomly picked this book up off of the library shelf on my way out of the homeschool section one day. I am so glad that I did. What a thoughtful way with words this man has. The author was a public school teacher who chose (along with his wife) to homeschool his children. THIS REVIEW on Amazon does a fabulous job of summing up this book. I have purchased a copy of this one to keep. He articulates the case for homeschooling in a way I have not read anywhere else.
Mar 10, 2009 Tori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: homeschooling
Guterson makes a compelling case for homeschooling. As a teacher, himself, his Gatto-speak resonates deeply with me and probably with anyone who has lived inside the institution. His style is much more academic than Gatto, but he touches on many similar points. Why do we separate ourselves from our children? How are we to learn from them if we shut them away as we do our old people? Very interesting book.
Jan 14, 2015 Tracy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
I thought this book was well written. I appreciated it especially because Guterson's style of reasoning through the pros and cons of homeschooling are similar to my own. I didn't rate the book higher because as a Christian I felt the book missed the mark as to why we as parents pour ourselves into our children and why we believe parents are the best teachers.
It's interesting, in a way, but I wouldn't really recommend it unless you want an exhaustive review of education in general, homeschool specifically, legal principles, etc, etc, ad nauseum sometimes. It is interesting if you want a lot of theory, but not very practical for "how to do it." So
The Complete Guide to Homeschooling by the Perrys, instead!!
Oct 27, 2008 Candy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book written by the author of Snow Falling on Cedars. He is a high school English teacher and he and his wife homeschool their children. Some great ideas about community learning and ways to give support and resources to moms of underprivileged preschoolers, rather than ripping those kids out of their homes at earlier and earlier ages.
Sep 29, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an introspective look at parenting and education- not necessarily homeschooling. It is written by a HS teacher who also homeschools his four children. It is an inspiring and interesting read and recommended for anyone considering homeschooling or who is just interested in the history of American education.
Jan 01, 2013 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was interested in this because I'm curious to hear why people believe homeschooling is a good idea, since I don't, particularly. It turned out to be a very evenhanded, apolitical discussion of the subject. Still don't agree, but I have a better understanding of at least one family's reasons.
May 18, 2013 JP rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Guterson adds meaningful perspective to the homeschool concept. A teacher himself, he understands both perspectives. His analysis is meaningful and very understandable. He emphasizes several key contextual points, especially that, despite the aspiration, public education is in no way democratic.
Nov 07, 2007 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people thinking about homeschooling, people interested in the public school/homeschool debate
Shelves: homeschooling
I enjoyed this book immensely, as it's a look at a public school teacher who homeschools his own kids. He makes the case for homeschooling even while making the case for being a good public school teacher. I liked David Guterson's writing long before he became a big-name novelist!
Jan Zeiger
Dec 26, 2010 Jan Zeiger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is written by a public school teacher who chose to homeschool his own children. Before reading this book, I was considering home-based education for my son. This book helped me see other benefits to homeschooling that I was not aware of at the time.
Michael Fitzgerald
A lot of history that helps to make the case, but it avoids some of the larger issues.
This was one of the first books I read on homeschooling and it was fabulous. Written by a public school teacher who chose to concurrently homeschool his children - very logical and straightforeward.
Jan 16, 2011 Aubrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun book, He is a well known author (Snow falling on Cedars) and a high school English teacher, this book explains why he and his wife chose to Homeschool. Well written and informative.
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David Guterson is an American novelist, short story writer, poet, journalist, and essayist.

He is best known as the author of the novel Snow Falling on Cedars (1994), which won the 1995 PEN/Faulkner Award. To date it has sold nearly four million copies. It was adapted for a 1999 film of the same title, directed by Scott Hicks and starring Ethan Hawke. The film received an Academy Award nomination f
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