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The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling Paperback – August 6, 2013
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“Not your typical education book (for starters, it's funny)...Cummings remains inquisitive, thoughtful, and a little unsure of herself in a refreshingly humble way--precisely the qualities a parent should look for in a teacher."
"Light and witty...I can vouch for much of what this endearingly self-deprecating writer has to say."
—Meghan Cox Gurdon, The Wall Street Journal
"The Year of Learning Dangerously recounts Quinn Cummings's hilarious crusade to find the best educational path for her daughter. Reading her outrageously entertaining observations not only makes me want to homeschool my (nonexistent) children, but it also makes me want to be Quinn's best friend. A must-read."
—Jen Lancaster, author of Bitter Is the New Black and Jeneration X
“A hilarious, friendly companion to charm and entertain parents and educators, whether they homeschool or not. Honest and direct, Cummings is willing to tell all of her experiences: not just the happy sunshine moments, but the brutal realities of educating and raising children.” —Lydia Netzer, author of Shine Shine Shine
"If you think homeschooling is crazy, this book might just change your mind. If, after you've read it, you think Quinn Cummings is crazy, you might be correct. Lucky for us, she's the kind of crazy that manages to be insightful and hilarious all at once."
—Alice Bradley, co-author of Let's Panic About Babies!
"In The Year of Learning Dangerously, Quinn Cummings dares to go where few parents have gone before. Her adventures in homeschooling are fascinating, loving and most of all hilarious. This book is a great gift to parents and the people that wonder what make them tick. I loved it."
—Julie Klam, New York Times bestselling author of You Had Me at Woof
About the Author
Quinn Cummings is an Oscar-nominated actress (The Goodbye Girl, Family), and the critically acclaimed author of the memoir Notes from the Underwire. She writes the popular blog The QC Report, and her work has appeared in Good Housekeeping, Los Angeles Magazine, and Newsweek. She lives in Los Angeles with her partner and daughter.
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Top customer reviews
There are many good books on the subject. This one is Great. Because it is so informative in it's information on related history. Because it is so personal on Quinn Cummings' family level, making it so easy to relate to. Because Cummings is fair to all sides that have a say on the subject. Because Cumming' writing is so gosh darn funny.
The last is a main reason why This is an important book. I have read many books on homeschooling over the last few months. All dealt seriously on a serious subject. (The education of our children.) And their tone, without fail, was appropriately serious. Quinn Cummings gives us a laughter break. She writes seriously on homeschooling, but mixes in appropriate humor. And not just a little.
I laughed out loud every few pages and sometimes every few sentences. Cummings is self effacing with a very unique (humorous) perspective on the ordinary. Plus, bonus, she deals with the most important question any homeschooler has to deal with: "What about socialization?"
If you have any interest what-so-ever in the very fast-growing homeschooling movement, well, then, this is a must read. Well, then, this is an important book. Oh, and did I mention funny? Very funny.
This book is much less about her own adventure in homeschooling and much more about her countless hours trolling blogs, running internet searches, and flying all across the country to fulfill her need to find out about other homeschool communities. Most of these communities I should mention are so far right they have fallen off the plank.
She does not address or research her own community - non-religious need homeschoolers, nor does she research the thousands of families doing private home study through an accredited program as we do, military homeschoolers or COOPS. There is no mention of their scheduling, lesson plans, materials, and curriculum but there is mention and credit to the tutors who helped teach her daughter through the first year while the author was writing this book.
While she and her husband should be commended for pulling their daughter out of a system that seemed to be failing the child, her homeschool efforts seem to stop there. What is offered is strange religious followings, a great deal of humor, and one lesson that we all should take away. That lesson is worth five stars all on it's own. At the end of the book (spoiler alert) the author is trying to assess with the child's father whether they should homeschool another year. One of the factors that they note about their daughter in this decision is that she is truly happy. What a novel idea for all of us as parents to take note! Is our child happy? Do they like themselves and are they proud of their accomplishments and are they learning to learn on their own and become a life long learner and not just take a standardized test? And for this the author should get a great round of appluase. She may not have wrote a book really about her own personal homeschool but she did hit the nail on the head for what we parents should be seeking in an education for our children, happiness being at the top of the list.
'As our habits evolve, it won't be home schooling as we've known it, but it won't be brick-and-mortar schooling, either. I call it "roam schooling." Imagine that your high-school junior spends half of every day at the brick-and-mortar school up the street. Two afternoons a week, he logs into an art-history seminar being taught by a grad student in Paris. He takes computer animation classes at the local college, sings in the church choir and dives at the community pool. He studies Web design on YouTube. He and three classmates see a tutor at the public library who preps them for AP Chemistry. He practices Spanish on Skype and takes cooking lessons at a nearby restaurant every Saturday morning. Is this home schooling or regular school? Who cares? He's learning.'
As presaged by the title, her writing is quite irreverent, punchy, and witty yet well researched and highly informative. With her development of the concept of Roam Schooling, she helps me better understand my own family's efforts to integrate the strongest and avoid the weakest aspects of home, online, public, and private schooling for both of our boys. In the end, our educational result looks more like a smorgasbord of all of the options rather than an exclusive commitment to any one of them, with each boy getting a remarkably different balance of all four as has suited their developmental needs and personal interests.
Perhaps now we learn just like we eat, sometimes we cook at home with a treasured family recipe (teaching at home with our own curriculum), sometimes we throw a frozen dinner in the microwave (teaching at home with stock curricular materials), sometimes we gather with others for a potluck (parkdays, field trips, book clubs, and homeschool classes), sometimes we download a unique recipe from our favorite cooking site or order food for delivery (online classes), sometimes we enjoy the economies of scale at an inexpensive cafeteria (public or hybrid public programs), sometimes we dine with those who share our chosen faith (faith based teaching), and sometimes we enjoy the atmosphere and flavors of a distinctive private restaurant (independent private schools). Taste a full array of educational options well spiced with Cummings' humor and enjoy!