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The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  1,232 ratings  ·  320 reviews
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 seri
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Hardcover, 240 pages
Published August 7th 2012 by Perigee Books
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Average rating 3.49  · 
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Jeanette
Feb 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
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
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Mischenko
May 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is a true account of the author’s experience after making the choice to homeschool her daughter. Parts of the book were comical at times, but I found the humor quite rude and distasteful, especially when directed at specific homeschooling groups. This book probably doesn’t offer much for a seasoned homeschooler; however, there were little tidbits along the way that I personally enjoyed. For example, a rebuttal to people who state that if children aren’t in public school they won’t learn how ...more
Pumpkinbear
Oct 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: homeschool-books
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-
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Jeanna
Apr 13, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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Lynda
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Connie  Kuntz
Aug 09, 2012 rated it liked it
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
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Amy
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sociology, parenting
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
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Heather Fineisen
Feb 14, 2017 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.
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
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Leslie
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing (to me) was the many people who criticized Cummings’ choice to homeschool her daughter because “how will your daughter learn to deal with bullies and jerks if she doesn’t attend school ?” Here’s her brilliant response:

“There are bullies at the Girl Scout meeting, in the mall, on the playground, in the neighborhood, and even at family reunions. Children who homeschool do get to negotiate with socially toxic people. What they don’t get to do is grimly endure an entire year sitting two feet
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Monika
Jun 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
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Maurinejt
Sep 19, 2013 rated it liked it
3.5

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
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Katie Tatton
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Christina Gagliano
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Lisa
Feb 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Chelsey McNeil
As a non-Christian, Quinn Cummings did some gutsy things for this book when she infiltrated a Gothard Conference, a conservative homeschool conference, and volunteered to chaperone a homeschool prom in the Midwest. She does notice some funny and inconsistent things about all these cultural phenomena, but she doesn't get the spirit of some of them either.

I read the whole book in a NY Times column kind of way-- she's a good writer and I wanted to hear her out. But there were so many times when he
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Melanie
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
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AnandaTashie
Oct 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fic, 2013
"Maybe we just have to agree that our children deserve the best start we can give them - without having to agree on the precise definition of what "best start" actually means."

This was an entertaining book - funny with moments of poignant introspection. It wasn't *exactly* about a year of homeschooling, though she gave us glimpses of her adventures with her daughter. Most homeschoolers I know do a lot of searching in their first year (and continually?), but that doesn't typically involve going u
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Andrea
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
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Jessica
Nov 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, education
I was about three-quarters of the way through this book before deciding not to waste any more of my time.

This book is probably not what one assumes it to be. It’s more about the author’s inner turmoil throughout this homeschooling experience and little about the actual methodology or curriculum that she employed. The author spent the better half of the school year trying to figure out a style that suited both her and her daughter because she plunged into homeschooling on a whim and with unrealis
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Jill
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wish I could give this book 2.5 stars, because it doesn't quite deserve 3. Quinn Cummings basically shared her own exploration of homeschooling, "researching" many different theories and groups of homeschoolers by visiting conferences and events for different groups. I was put off by how she pretended to belong to different groups, even so much as wearing a wig to visit one particularly conservative Christian group. I felt embarrassed for her behavior, and found myself wishing she would have j ...more
Rose
Great book. Well-written,quick read (after four months in Anna K, I am all about quick reads). Author chronicles first year of home schooling late elementary age daughter. She doesn't come at it from a God-told-me-to-oppress-all-females, which is what I am really looking for (books about home schooling from a practical, non-religious, academic perspective...I feel like we have the God thing covered, and as someone quite familiar with evangelical home schooling, I am not so jazzed with it or its ...more
William Lucas
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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Mel
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
I have a few questions: What was dangerous about the year of their homeschool learning? The actual learning? Infiltrating homeschool conventions while pretending to be part of them? The maniac in the closet? The maniac is really the author, but I digress. How much tax money is California citizens being charged when so many classes are being removed; PE, Art, Music, and needing parent involvement for janitors and fund raising? Sounds like public school is a failing institution.

She quotes The Dep
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Adan Ramie
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was funny and sweet. It was nice to know that I wasn't the only one who wasn't completely confident starting out with homeschooling.
Luann Habecker
Oct 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
Is she for homeschooling or against, as she's not doing homeschooling any favors.

heavy with mockery and a fixation on Christianity (or her version of such) and infiltrating conventions..... yeah

pg 8 I never actually learned how to learn....

pg 21 &25-26 socialization retort

pg 23 Humans have historically learned to be human in a vertical process-in other words, from their elders. Schools seem to work on the assumption that we should learn how to be humans horizontally, from kids our own age becaus
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Sara
Jan 10, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Julie
Jan 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
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Erin
Aug 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
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