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Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, and Reconnecting with the Natural World Paperback – September 9, 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"In this fine and eloquent and moving book, Ben Hewitt takes a principled stand for the unconventional childhood, for the intellectual and emotional and soulful nurture of nature."—Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle

“Ben Hewitt walks you along the lanes of his small family farm right into the heart of parenting. He does not judge the new normal of life’s fever-pitch pace but fills you with the courage to follow your hopes, which may well transform your family.”—Kim John Payne, MEd, author of Simplicity Parenting, Beyond Winning, and The Soul of Discipline

“This fine book may make you wish you’d grown up in a very different way.”—Bill McKibben, author of Wandering Home

“What kind of parent doesn't send his kids to school? The kind that thinks maybe kids learn best when ‘learning cannot be helped’—when kids are so excited about the world that they master the skills they need to explore it, the same way they mastered crawling, walking and speaking.” —Lenore Skenazy, author of the book and blog, Free-Range Kids

“Hewitt provides a beautifully written handbook for those of you considering unschooling. And if you're already unschooling, buy ten copies to hand out to friends and family who ask you how it works.”—Penelope Trunk, blogger, entrepreneur, and home-schooling advocate

“This is a beautifully written, honest, introspective, soul-revealing, and soul-stirring account of one family’s choice to live close to nature and to allow their children to learn naturally, without school, in a self-directed manner.  The book’s biggest message, I think, is that we do have choices; we can chart our own lives, we don't have to follow the crowd if we don’t want to.”—Peter Gray, Research Professor at Boston College and author of Free to Learn

"This book fills me with both sadness and joy. My sadness is for the millions of children locked in schools, looking out the windows as the precious days of childhood pass them by. My joy comes from knowing this eloquent book will inspire many to choose a different path.”—Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics and The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible 
 
"Ben Hewitt’s thoughtful and elegant prose cuts through the noise of modern life to reveal the incredible public value and personal satisfaction of being rooted in one’s environment, nurturing meaningful relationships among family and friends, and learning with and from children. You don’t have to live in a cabin in Vermont like the Hewitts to benefit from the book; you can enjoy their story and embrace their spirit to take control of your life and learning to achieve your own unique ambitions.”—Patrick Farenga, publisher of The Legacy of John Holt
 
"An inspiring read that reminds us the world can offer more to our children than classrooms and cubicles; and they, in turn, can contribute more than test scores and paychecks."—Shannon Hayes, author of Radical Homemaking

"Everyone with a relationship to children should read this book... for the sake of tomorrow's generation.” —Joel Salatin, farmer, Polyface Farm, and author of Folks, This Ain’t Normal
 

About the Author

BEN HEWITT is the author of Saved, The Town That Food Saved, Making Supper Safe, and articles for magazines such as Bicycling, Discover, Gourmet, Men's Journal, National Geographic Adventure, Outside, the New York Times Magazine, Yankee, Taproot, and many others. He and his family live in a self-built, solar-powered house in Cabot, Vermont, and operate a forty-acre livestock, vegetable, and berry farm.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Roost Books (September 9, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611801699
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611801699
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well. I have just written and deleted about 6 opening sentences that fell short of what I want to convey. Simplicity then.

This book is so good. I read it in 1 day. I am at the brink of what to do regarding homeschooling/unschooling, veering strongly towards unschooling. This book sealed the deal for me. And yet that's not the point of it. It is one of the most balanced books I have read on the topic. I felt like I spent a few days in the life of, saw this way of life played out, and saw the beauty of it all. This style of education is RICH and FULL with limitless possibilities and numerous experiences. This book gave me full confidence that what I already knew instinctively- is the choice I should follow.

It is not just about schooling though. I identified with many of the author's thoughts on living off the land, even if you are not personally living off the land, loving the land around you. His musings on parenthood were excellent and relevant. I appreciated the transparency and truth of how much work and responsibility is involved. The most overwhelming theme to me was contentment and peace in living a life true to yourself and your values.

When I first started reading it I was slightly worried as it was very flavored with prose. I love prose, but I thought it might be hard to get through given the topic. Wrong. I was brought to tears numerous times because of the writing, but also because of where I am in this journey. It is brilliant in that you get one chapter of beauty and reflection, and one chapter of info and story, and he alternates between the two every other chapter. The chapters of reflection have beautiful art above the title, are brief, and add value. The layout is beautiful and flows well.
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Format: Paperback
Lace up your boots, grab a stick, and come explore the New England woods with author Ben Hewitt and his sons, Fin and Rye. Amongst the tall trees, small animals, and rich earth, you'll find the children's schoolhouse. But it's not an actual building, it's a natural workshop encompassing the surrounding area where the boys plunge, examine, dig, construct - and most importantly - explore the physical world around them. Through their daily journeys, the students have learned the lessons that THEY need to learn; their curriculum being entirely self-devised. From their own efforts, the boys have succeeded in being schooled by being unschooled.

Hewitt poetically describes the transformation in an engaging story that transports you deep into the forest to a place where you may not want to leave. You'll realize you've been here before, a long time ago, when you'll recall the beauty and wonder of your own childhood mind. But Hewitt's boys can revel in their curosity here, unchecked by teacher or parent. Through their discoveries in the forest, they've found their own path and are designing their own trail. With confidence and vigor they forge ahead, while the reader is left to pause and ponder.

By the end of this colorful tribute to childhood and to his sons, Hewitt will leave you NOT where you began. It will be up to you whether you decide to go or stay. Whichever course you choose, you will revisit your own journey and find the crystals of knowledge you left there long ago. And you will find the truth that you knew the answers all along.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having read all of Hewitt's books and as a regular reader of his blog, I thought I knew what to expect when my pre-ordered copy of "Homegrown" arrived. As wonderfully inspiring and beautifully written as I knew it would be, it surpasses my expectations. Part of the appeal Hewitt's stories have for me is the similarities of his sons to my own two boys (though mine are younger - only 2 and 3 years old.) I have almost started to think of the Hewitt boys as my own boys' older counterparts and this book gives me a glimpse into what may lie ahead for us. I particularly like the final essay in which Hewitt ponders his family's future and offers gentle suggestions for embracing a life as part of the natural world and finding your place in it. Of course, everyone's story is different and Hewitt very clearly makes it known that his family's choices are not right for everyone. I think his level of humility and kindness is rare in someone so clearly passionate about a subject. It would be so easy to become preachy even when advice and comments are well-intentioned but Hewitt never comes close to even a hint of condescension in his writing. His style is picturesque but accessible as if the reader is having a conversation with a good friend who happens to be a great story teller. While homeschooling, and even unschooling, are not as unusual an educational choice as they once were (here in NC, the number of homeschooled children just recently surpassed the number of children who attend private schools), there is still a lot of questions and uncertainty about this lifestyle choice among the general population. I recommend this book unreservedly to anyone interested in homeschooling, unschooling, crafting a life in harmony with nature, and those who just want to create a more beautiful world for their children to grow into - whatever that means to them.
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