Love in a Time of Homeschooling
A Mother and Daughter's Uncommon Year
By Laura Brodie
(Harper, Hardcover, 9780061706462, 272pp.)
Publication Date: April 2010
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"I had always thought of homeschooling as a drastic measure. . . . But when my daughter decided that she would rather hide in a closet than complete her homework, I knew that it was time for me to become a schoolteacher, if only for a little while."
After years of watching her eldest daughter, Julia, struggle in a highly regimented public school system, Laura Brodie determined to teach her ten-year-old at home for a year. Although friends were skeptical and her husband predicted disaster"You can't be serious"Brodie had visions of one ideal year of learning. The monotony of fill-in-the-blank history and math worksheets would be replaced with studying dinosaurs and Mayan hieroglyphics, conversational French, violin lessons, and field trips to art museums, science fairs, bookstores, and concerts.
But can one year of homeschooling make a difference? And what happens to the love between mother and daughter when fractions and spelling enter the relationship?
Love in a Time of Homeschooling is a funny and inspiring story of human foibles and human potential, in which love, anger, and hope mingle with reading, math, and American history. As today's parents ponder their children's educations, wondering how to respond to everything from homework overload to bullying to the boredom of excessive test preparations, homeschooling has become a popular alternative embraced by millions. Short-term homeschooling is the latest trend in this growing movement.
Brodie gave her daughter a sabbatical to explore, learn, create, and growa year of independent research and writing to rejuvenate Julia's love of learning. The experiment brought out the best and worst in the pair, but they worked through their frustrations to forge an invaluable bond. Theirs is a wonderful story no parent should miss.
Laura Brodie is the author of Breaking Out: VMI and the Coming of Women and the novel The Widow's Season. She lives in Lexington, Virginia, with her husband and three daughters, and teaches English at Washington and Lee University.
“The only thing worse than sending your child off on a bus each morning might be keeping that child at home. But Brodie manages the feat with wit, wisdom, love, and some hard knocks along the way. Her story gives hope that there is more to life than long division.”
-Cameron Stracher, author of Dinner with Dad
“Laura Brodie shines a spotlight on love as an essential ingredient [in homeschooling], creating a well-earned space on all homeschoolers’ bookshelves and, optimistically, on the bookshelves of all parents.”
-Linda Dobson, author of The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas
“Engaging, unpredictable. . . . No rosy manifesto to homeschooling, nor a condemnation, but a real-life encounter, full of stormy battles, power struggles and, most of all, passion. There are moments of pedagogic beauty. . . . Graceful and charming.”
“As a parent involved in homeschooling, I highly recommend this book. It’s timely, beautifully written, and must reading for anyone who has ever wondered what homeschooling is all about-and it would make a great gift for all your friends who think they know!”
-James Grippando, author of Money to Burn
“Love in a Time of Homeschooling, a touching glimpse into a mother-daughter relationship, will inspire you to foster a love of learning no matter what your schooling choice may be.”
-Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
“Funny, heart-cracking and ultimately profoundly educational. I recommend this book to all parents and educators who have ever thought-I wish things could be different.”
-Mary Pipher, author of Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World
“In a world where homeschooling is so often misunderstood, discounted, and even ridiculed, Laura Brodie offers a clear-eyed view and makes a valuable contribution to the literature on the subject. This is necessary reading for anyone with an interest not just in homeschooling but in education generally.”
-David Guterson, author of The Other and Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense