Monday, September 15, 2008

Home Schooling: A family's journey by Gregory and Martine Millman

I received a preview copy of this book to read. I admit to starting to read it with extreme skepticism as I have found that most of the homeschooling books I've read to date to be particularly uninspiring.

This book turned out to be a very pleasant and welcome surprise. The Millman's thoughtful approach to life shines through strongly on every page. While I disagree quite vehemently on a few points, unschooling being one of them and travel another, I appreciated the look into another family's decision process that lead them to homeschool their six children.

The book has something in it for everyone. The beginning or aspiring homeschooler will find chapters on the Millman's own journey towards homeschooling. They cleverly compare choosing educational methods/institutions to choosing stock investments.

They then go on to talk specifically about how they homeschooled their children. Parents whose children have wildly differing learning styles will take heart when they read this section as the Millmans talk about how they used different techniques with different children. One issue they talk about that struck a strong chord with me was that our school systems today expect too much writing, too soon from our children. I've been thinking this for a while and have been loathe to start the kids writing as much as their peers. The Millmans have given me confidence to go with my gut.

Even though this is a book about unschoolers, those of us who prefer a more hierarchical approach to education will still find many gems in this book.

Of particular import, is the section on college admissions. The Millmans have gone through the college applications process with three daughters and all daughters were accepted into very prestigious universities. I am by nature a long range planner so I enjoyed this look into the college application process. Probably the most important facts I took away from this were that homeschoolers must start planning their application process much earlier than traditionally schooled kids and that they need to do an enormous amount of research before they apply to colleges.

I was so impressed by this book that I went out and bought 3 copies that I gave to acquaintances who are considering homeschooling. If you can only recommend one book on homeschooling to someone, this is the book you should recommend.


Lostcheerio said...

I like them already, given that they didn't wear white shirts and khaki pants on their beach picture. :D

Cerwydwyn said...

What are their views on travel? You mentioned that you don't agree with them but I'm too sorry to read the book to find out for myself =)

Shez said...

they trashed WDW and organized vacations saying their way of just driving with no planning and seeing what happened was best. That this was the way you learned about things and not the other way.

I don't think it is an all or nothing situation. Right now I find it easier to go to WDW because of the dining. When I travel to foreign climes I like to have some free exploration time and also some time with a tour guide as I always learn so much from them.

amanda bel said...

I think you will have a wonderful time a Disney World! We went a few years ago, and we can't wait to go again! There are so many opportunities for learning, the Animal Kingdom was much to do and see! We enjoyed the educational exhibits just as much as the rides and silly stuff!