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Love in a Time of Homeschooling: A Mother and Daughter's Uncommon Year Hardcover – April 6, 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Told by elementary school teachers that her daughter, Julia, "needs to spend more time in our world," author Brodie (Breaking Out, The Widow's Season) decided that her daughter's unique intellectual needs would best be served by a year of home-schooling: "The more I looked into it, the more I discovered that short-term homeschooling is a growing trend in America, for a vast array of reasons." Chronicling the entirety of her homeschooling experience, from the decision-making process to Julia's successful re-entry into 6th grade, Brodie takes pains to show how difficult homeschooling can be: "How foolish I had been, to have believed that Julia's complaints over the past two years... stemmed from an institutional cause" (as it turns out, Julia simply doesn't like to be told what to do). Having been frustrated by other homeschooling books' Pollyanna attitude toward the parent-child relationship, Brodie's contribution to the field is full of honest revelations that make it vital for anyone considering homeschooling; happily, her gift for good storytelling and keen observation (of herself and others) make this an absorbing read for everyone else.


“Engaging, unpredictable. . . . No rosy manifesto to homeschooling, nor a condemnation, but a real-life encounter, full of stormy battles, power struggles and, most of all, passion. There are moments of pedagogic beauty. . . . Graceful and charming.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“In a world where homeschooling is so often misunderstood, discounted, and even ridiculed, Laura Brodie offers a clear-eyed view and makes a valuable contribution to the literature on the subject. This is necessary reading for anyone with an interest not just in homeschooling but in education generally.” (David Guterson, author of The Other and Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense)

“Funny, heart-cracking and ultimately profoundly educational. I recommend this book to all parents and educators who have ever thought-I wish things could be different.” (Mary Pipher, author of Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World)

“Laura Brodie shines a spotlight on love as an essential ingredient [in homeschooling], creating a well-earned space on all homeschoolers’ bookshelves and, optimistically, on the bookshelves of all parents.” (Linda Dobson, author of The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas)

“Love in a Time of Homeschooling, a touching glimpse into a mother-daughter relationship, will inspire you to foster a love of learning no matter what your schooling choice may be.” (Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder)

“The only thing worse than sending your child off on a bus each morning might be keeping that child at home. But Brodie manages the feat with wit, wisdom, love, and some hard knocks along the way. Her story gives hope that there is more to life than long division.” (Cameron Stracher, author of Dinner with Dad)

“As a parent involved in homeschooling, I highly recommend this book. It’s timely, beautifully written, and must reading for anyone who has ever wondered what homeschooling is all about-and it would make a great gift for all your friends who think they know!” (James Grippando, author of Money to Burn)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061706469
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061706462
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,665,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When I saw this book on our local library shelf, I was intruigued by it. As a homeschooler starting my third year, it was nice to see a book in the new release section that chronicled a "year and the life" of a mother and daughter homeschooling. However, as I found myself waiting for a very long time for the author to get to the actual story of their year. The first 100 pages are filled with statements about how different the author, Laura Brodie, is from the "traditional" or "typical" homeschoolers. She often mentions that she was not a religious fanatic or political zealot -- as if all homeschoolers need to fall into one of these 2 catagories. I kept thinking the author was going to explain how she gained a new respect for or persceptive of homeschoolers. However, she often mentioned how she read many homeschooling books and read about HSLDA -- but she didn't feel like she needed to follow any of the "norms" of homeschoolers. This is a beauty of homeschooling -- you can customize it to meet your child's needs. However, I didn't feel like this was the point she was getting at, I felt like she felt like she was better than everyone else. I just felt through reading the book that she was almost trying to apologize to her readers for making this important decision for her daughter and tried to justify herself against homeschooling critics. I just wish she had taken a more embracing approach to the homeschooling issue. I wish she left me feeling like she was on my side instead of being judgemental towards all homeschoolers that weren't her.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Laura Brodie did an experimental year of homeschooling with her daughter, and she wants to make sure her readers understand that homeschooling should be regulated more because other people who aren't as well-educated and self-aware as she might not do as good a job as she did. You know, during the one year during which she amassed all her experience with homeschooling - which limited her from learning about some of the most effective resources (which, it's hard for new folks to understand - frequently don't look anything like SCHOOL materials), understanding how to network with homeschoolers (especially in finding non-evangelicals), getting clear comprehension of the history and culture(s) of homeschooling, etc.

She is somehow grateful for this year of sabbatical from the stiflingness of school she can offer to her own daughter while making darn sure she doesn't embrace the total idea of unfettered homeschooling - and especially not for others.

She encounters bumps in the road, which we all do, but she fails to truly comprehend how many homeschoolers work these out over a couple years of homeschooling, and how she might have too. Her very idea of homeschooling for only a year essentially provides the escape route that allows her to avoid the real work of understanding and helping a child who seems to her to be lazy or unfocused. It allows her to avoid working things out with her daughter - she can go right back to sending her to school. It allows her to avoid the real discoveries about the homeschooling community and how it works. I read her book shaking my head at missed opportunity.
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Format: Hardcover
As a memoir, I enjoyed reading "Love in a Time of Homeschooling". Ms. Brodie is an excellent story-teller and her writing vividly brings to life her and her daughter Julia's "sabbatical" to try homeschooling during Julia's fifth-grade year. As someone who has been homeschooling for 5 years, however, I was dismayed by the misleading impression that someone unfamiliar with home education might get after reading Ms. Brodie's memoir.

As far as I could tell from the book, the Brodies did not get involved in a homeschool support group, learning co-op, sports/music/theater/debate/etc. program, or any of the various classes offered to homeschoolers. I wonder if they might have continued homeschooling after the one year had they availed themselves of some of the wonderful group opportunities out there for homeschoolers these days. Homeschooled children don't have to be as socially isolated as Julia Brodie apparently was. I don't think it's healthy for homeschooling parents and children to spend all day every day with only each other. The good news is that these days they don't have to be- and I sincerely hope readers of Ms. Brodie's memoir will realize that.

It was also clear to me that Ms. Brodie ought to have better researched the curricular materials she used- her year might have gone much smoother had she chosen the delightful "Life of Fred" series for math rather than the dreary, overly repetitive Saxon. Additionally, Ms. Brodie made the mistake of deciding to follow the state curricular standards at home. She ought to have ignored the SOL's completely except in math. Just because some committee of bureaucrats in Richmond have dictated that public school students should study X, does NOT mean that she needed to cram it into her daughter's schedule.
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