Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Books: "How Children Fail", John Holt

Title: How Children Fail

Author: John Holt

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0140135561 (buy on Amazon)

I haven't finished this yet, but so far it's eye-opening. Like What Mothers Do, it articulates stuff I already felt to be true, and it does it clearly. A lot of my difficulties as an adult are easy to see in terms of methods of learning and being taught and surviving school, and I am - again - massively, immensely, technicolouredly grateful to my mother for managing to encourage independent, questioning thought anyway, in spite of, well, everything she had going against her.

This book is going to be a useful reread even before Linnea is school-age, because I'm going to need to be reminded of it for myself as well as for dealing with her and with other people's opinions of how we're raising her.

(She seems socially fairly well adapted, so far, though she does have a faulty ranking system - breastmilk is better than bananas, and better than banana muffins, but not as good as Maya Gold chocolate, damn her.)

Books: "Teach your own", John Holt

Title: Teach your own

Author: John Holt

Publisher: Lighthouse Books

ISBN: 0907637000 (buy on Amazon)

Interesting nodding-head-in-agreement read, but practical-advice-based and very focussed on America before I was born, so not a whole heap of use really. But it's nice to read books that have me nodding agreement all the way through. Except possibly for the "leaving your school-age child home alone all day regularly" which sits all wrong with me - but then, that was an emergency measure, so not a regular recommendation.

Not, I would say, an essential re-read.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Books: School is not compulsory

Title: School is not compulsory (The essential introduction to home-based education)

Editor: Education Otherwise

Publisher: Education Otherwise

ISBN: 0952170337 (buy on Amazon)

A useful guide from the UK's primary home education organisation, lots of useful tips about the law etc rather than suggestions for actually doing it (though some of those too). Definitely useful to get again when Linnea is "school age" - ie the first school start date after her fifth birthday, which I think is 01 September 2009. She'll be 5 years and 4 months then, so they'll start teaching her to count to ten and learn her ABCs. I can't see that, somehow. It seems very unlikely.

New word: Pwing (swing) and now she pronounces horse correctly, H and all (English R, but never mind). She's working on teeth, mouth, and flower, too, but not there yet. And she has a word for breastmilk - Thass. I have no idea where it came from - perhaps "Oh, that's what you want, is it?!"

(Home education: get up, tidy house, wash dishes, cook dinner - you've done "domestic science" and probably maths. Go shopping - maths and reading comprehension and all sorts. These books are really changing the way I look at my day. It's very funny to suddenly think "... and that's geography!" when I've looked up a train timetable or something.)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Books: Free Range Education

Title: Free Range Education (How home education works)

Edited by: Terry Dowty

Publisher: Hawthorn Press

ISBN: 1903458072 (buy on Amazon)

I don't often mention books here but I really want to remember which HE books I read and which I like. This is a good selection of essays and articles by parents and children doing home education in various ways and under various circumstances; it has really brought home to me that doing what's most appropriate for one's own family is actually OK, no really it is, and I think I'll want to pick it up again later to reread for reassurance.

It does also have some practical information, such as how to fight the LEA if necessary and what groups you can join to meet other HE families, but I suspect I'll be able to pick that kind of info up anyway.

[Originally on LJ]

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