The only way this could have been better is if it had centered the narrative of Nicole and not her brother and father, to whom the author pays an awfuThe only way this could have been better is if it had centered the narrative of Nicole and not her brother and father, to whom the author pays an awful lot of attention. I understand why — both Nicole's brother and father have an interesting journey as family members of a transgender teen — but the most interesting story, Nicole's, sometimes seems like it's being viewed from outside, whereas we get a lot of access to her father and brother's thinking. We also get closer to Nicole's mother than we do to Nicole, herself. But the overall novel is a gripping read, and the story inspiring. Go Nicole!...more
I was left feeling kind of weirded out by some of this book's hyperbolic claims and the at times intense anti-government vibes (which often seemed toI was left feeling kind of weirded out by some of this book's hyperbolic claims and the at times intense anti-government vibes (which often seemed to be combined with a kind of ignorance of the needs of, say, single poor working parents). It feels very Libertarian and Christian and privileged in its overall tone, and not self-conscious enough of that fact. As I read I felt a bit concerned that some folks reading this book will be enabled in sheltering their children and giving them a skewed view of the world that may not serve them well in the future. The word "natural" is used a lot in unsuitably vague ways. Also, it felt a bit painfully out of date in respect to general understanding of the internet (AOL was referenced several times; one essay referred to "cyber cafes" and I was suddenly transported to 1999).
However, I appreciated the inclusion of accounts by homeschoolers themselves of the benefits of their education, and the Q&A format covered a lot of ground. I understand that the intention was to provide a variety of perspectives, which is valuable even if our family's particular values don't align with some of those included herein. The resources section is fun.
My big takeaways from this one: Homeschoolers are different, but it's okay (and even really great) to be different. And: Recordkeeping can be fun and can provide a nice way for families themselves to see a child's progress over time.
This is a very useful resource but should be read critically and carefully....more
Christian bias but aware of it, and very useful for this secular family. Contains a good overview of many major issues like recordkeeping, testing, prChristian bias but aware of it, and very useful for this secular family. Contains a good overview of many major issues like recordkeeping, testing, preventing burnout, financial concerns, work/education/housework balance, curricula and their alternatives (like unschooling). The sections arranged by age are particularly helpful....more
This is a somewhat dense-feeling book lightened somewhat by the hand-drawn psycho-motor development timeline in the beginning, and a small section ofThis is a somewhat dense-feeling book lightened somewhat by the hand-drawn psycho-motor development timeline in the beginning, and a small section of black and white photos partway through. Montessori-style education seems to require or at least strongly encourage a simplicity and spare-ness of the home that we just can't manage in our household; also it has a certain rigidity surrounding bedtime (no co-sleeping here) and weaning. But there are many useful ideas here that help get at why kids act the way they do, and how best to communicate with them and help them find their own way, given a better understanding of their development and tools we can use to help them learn while playing. The authors do an excellent job of explaining Montessori philosophy in a way that parents like myself can access, and they obviously have a lot of respect for children and their capacities. I think many parents, even those who are unschooling like us, or who are sending their kids to traditional school, could benefit from reading what this book has to offer....more