7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2000
This book is a summary of research into how 100 home educating families in Britain and Australia did it. How they went about the day-to-day business of educating children outside of school. Useful home education research is rather thin on the ground. What there is tends to concentrate on the fact that home educated families are N grades ahead of their school-going peers in just about every subject in which their parents can hot-house them. For the 'ordinary' home-educator with 'normal' children this can be the wrong sort of message. Dr Thomas came to his research in a roundabout way: he is a professional educationalist and he was interested in the process of interaction between a single teacher and pupil. No school that he could find did this, so he started to talk to home educators. His book is full of anecdotes and interviews and observations about the process of (home) education. Many of them are immensely heartening and validating. He finds, for example, that a disproportionately high number of home educated children are late to read - some leaving it until they are 10, 11, 12 years old. When they do decide that there is value in them thar words, they rapidly become competent, indeed omnivorous, readers. The book is certainly not a dry, academic thesis (although as an academic myself I value the rigour and organisation of Dr Thomas's research skills) but is readable, engaging and inspiring. It will give struggling and sailing home-educators lots of good ideas and will help to strengthen them in their resolve to do what they think is best for their children. It is also interesting for those in the school-based educational system for its insights into individualised instruction. Just the thing to give to your hostile Auntie Mabel ("if those children of yours don't go to school, they'll be social lepers") for Christmas.