Friday, March 12, 2010

Two Short Reviews

Homeschool Open HouseI finished two books this week, but I had to return them before I had time to write reviews, so I'm afraid these won't be very thorough. The books were Homeschool Open House, by Nancy Lande and Wounded By School, by Kirsten Olson. In Homeschool Open House, Nancy Lande interviewed 55 homeschooling families about how they "do school." Overall I found the book pretty interesting, and I discovered a few ideas that I'd like to try at my house. But the book was very long, and I found myself skimming parts of it. Some families were just so different from my own, I couldn't relate to their lives. But still, a good read. I found books like this especially helpful when I was first starting out as a homeschooler, since I didn't know what sort of shape it would take in my own house and I needed lots of guidance and advice.
Wounded by School: Recapturing the Joy in Learning and Standing Up to Old School Culture
Wounded by School is a school reform book. While homeschooling is mentioned, briefly, the bulk of the book focuses on ways in which public school wounds children, and then suggests possible solutions. I found myself relating to a lot of things in this book, since I feel I'm still recovering from wounds I received from my public education. Everything from the more obvious wounds like teasing, bullying, and feeling invisible, to more subtle wounds such as boredom and the stifling of the joy inherent in learning. Before reading this book, I assumed that I was in a small minority of people who felt "wounded by school," but this book suggests otherwise. The author found many people from all walks of life who have been damaged by school. I admire the author's wish to change that by reforming public education, but I remain skeptical as to whether that is really possible. There are a few schools doing so in radical ways (see in particular,, but to me, the size of the institution, the federally mandated rules and testing, and the red tape make it impossible to reform it on a grand scale.


  1. Thanks for participating in the Saturday Review at Semicolon.

    Since you're a poetry lover, I'd like to invite you (and your readers) to participate in the poetry survey that I'm doing. I'm looking for your ten favorite classic poems. Read more about it here.

  2. Interesting reviews. I like your blog.