117 of 120 people found the following review helpful
School is a place where young people are fed all sorts of meaningless information and forced to give it back on equally meaningless tests. This book aims to change that.
The authors show how parents can help their children can get a real education by helping the child find something about which they are interested, and proceed from there. The process includes five phases:
OPPORTUNITY-Don't just expose your kids to life's possibilities (arts, science, history, community, etc.) without overdoing it, the parent should also stay passionate and involved in learning. The enthusiasm will be contagious.
TIMING-If your child is not progressing according to some school bureaucrat's schedule, don't panic. Not every child learns at the same speed. Early bloomers may need extra stimulation to keep them interested. Late bloomers may simply need time and extra help.
INTEREST-Honor your child's passions, even if it something of which you disapprove. Children are her to grow into the best person they can be, not what the parent or anyone else thinks they should be. Also know when to back off.
FREEDOM-Give the child the chance to take on projects and solve problems. Make it clear that promises are expected to be kept, and also make clear the consequnces for broken promises.
SUPPORT-Be there for your kids. Supporting children does not equal martyrdom. Check to see how much support they need or want. Make sure their goals stay theirs. Well-being is most important.
I learned a lot from this book. It easily reaches the level of Highly Recommended, especially for any parent whose child is having problems in school.
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2001
While the book is about HOW your child(ren) can begin to love life and learning, whether enrolled in school or not, loving learning is presented in a much larger context: transforming your family relationships so that they themselves are based on love, trust, responsibility, and the love of learning. The authors lay out the characteristics of a child who is uninspired in or has been "turned off" by school. Because loving to learn develops in a family context, adult readers are asked to consider their own experiences as children when their own expressions of creativity were thwarted or interrupted. They are even encouraged to resume their own love-of-learning project. In five chapters, adults are quietly introduced to what it takes to support their childrens' innate curiosity and love of learning. The book does not preach, cajole, or seek to proselytize. Instead, it "merely" lays out some options for the characteristics of family life in which it is asserted that children learn and grow and love it. The book is beautifully written and some of the vignettes of real families taking a stand for their childrens' love of life and learning are inspirational. Finally, the authors say something important about the "standards" movement sweeping the country's schools: the tests which are implementing that movement have little or nothing to do with your kid's education. Of course, they, the authors, have a special definition of education and ask the reader to consider the schools' definitions. The pages of the book are poorly formatted, a matter I hope the publisher will correct in subsequent editions.
47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2002
"This book helped me relax and do less about my kid--less worrying, less trying to cram information into him when he wasn't responding as I wanted him to. Using the approaches recommended by Llewellyn and Silver, I now have fun observing my little boy, guiding him gently, and enjoying his forays into the world as he explores and learns on his own."
50 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2006
Like someone else said, I read this because we homeschool. I had heard what a great book this was but when I got it I was honestly a little disappointed. I'm sure if my kids were still in public school it would have been more useful but it just wasn't any help to us as homeschoolers/unschoolers.
I'd still recommend it to people who are disenchanted with the public school system but I know now not to recommend it so much to my fellow homeschoolers.
95 of 114 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2002
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
For most of us who grew up inside a public educational institution, it is difficult to imagine alternatives. Indeed, it may difficult to imagine anything at all. After twelve (in my case 19) years of absract inundation, most of us have lost the trees in a forest of abstractions. We inhabit a vacuous matrix of unispired, cynical defeatism, where teachers can't level with us as human beings and test questions bear no resemblance to reality. Until graduation day, that is. Then the world opens up before us, free for the plunder of active, self-interested engagement. What if we had never left that world from start? What if from birth to grave our lives were naturally interesting and piquant? What if we didn't educate ourselves for the test, but instead focused on the context of our life and followed our natural curiosities? Einstein (a college drop-out) certainly thought this was the right approach to education: "It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet strangle the holy curiosity of inquiry." This book a refreshing, imaginative, and likewise extremely practical guide to context-driven education. All my life I had been vexed with the notion that contemporary education is utterly wrongheaded and thwarting, but until now I had never had the language or facts to back up my intuitive, gut feeling. Whether you are thinking of making the great experimental leap and homeschooling your kids, or whether you simply want to better understand how to get the most out of your local educational institution, this book is essential. Although you cannot relive the wasted years, it will send you in the right direction for future learning, and help you give your children an education that will truly unlock their deepest potential. Isn't that what education is supposed to be about: unlocking our native potential and stimulating genuine growth? With this book the relationship between information and the world becomes transparent again, as it should have been from the very beginning.
30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2002
I found this book to be a pretty good read. I was looking for something to reaffirm our decision to homeschool, and it didn't do tha for me as much as I would have liked, but it was really interesting, and although it doesn discuss the bad aspects of going to school, it isn't down on school at all-- just helps people recognize where problems might lie and helps to address those issues.
I think this is a great book for all parents, those homeschooling and those traditionally schooling-- any parent that is interested in helping thier child learn to love to to learn will find this book to be full of good information.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2007
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book provides a good, practical view of children's education and learning, regardless of where this takes place. The authors prompt readers to think about their values regarding education, along with their history, biases, and goals. They are balanced in not advocating for traditional schooling or homeschooling, while speaking plainly about each. They give examples from families who have chosen each option, or have gone back and forth between the two to meet kids' needs at different ages. So good to read something that is not trying to push a particular program or agenda.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2005
I am new to the homeschool idea, and my daugther is 15 and hates high school. I found so many useful ideas in this book that I recommend it to anyone considering homeschooling and obtaining a better education for their kids in general.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Great for those parents like myself who really believe in unschooling but are not brave enough or do not have the support to go all the way. This helps me find a middle ground from which we(our family) can move in any direction ( to school or not to school) while keeping the joy of learning alive for our children.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2010
I would highly recommend this book to any parent, educator, or young person. The book is about showing parents a new perspective on education. The opening poses questions about our current, traditional approach to education. Some of the points they ask the reader to consider are whether school is helping develop your child's creativity, whether school is producing unwanted stress, and whether school is inspiring your child. (If you haven't seen The Breakfast Club, it's a must-see movie that ties in with this book).
This book is mostly about a new paradigm about how to think about education. It prompts you to look at your child's inherent talents and gifts, and facilitate opportunities to capitalize on them. It is written both for families who are schooling or homeschooling.
One middle chapter is about validating and honoring your child's interests and talents. The authors describe ways to help your child identify and develop their uniqueness/ passion in life. The authors detail how to create a lifelong love of learning at home by tailoring their education to their individual natures.
I'm keeping my description to broad strokes and abstractions, but the book is full of concrete examples of real families who have offered their children opportunities, invited their children to make commitments to projects voluntarily, and solve problems as they arise with support.