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Books I Am Somewhere In The Middle Of Reading

January 11, 2010

The Case Against Homework- Sarah Bennet & Nancy Kalish

Totally bummed me out, yet excited me at the same time that I have already made the choice to ensure my kid is free of the issues and insanities that homework brings with it.  This book actually gives a play-0by-play of how to tackle the homework problem in your own school district.  I stopped reading there because it doesn’t apply to me,  and because I have a zillion other books to read.

The Last Child in the Woods- Richard Louv

I am just past the middle of this book, and it seems like every time I read some of it again, it freaks me out and angers me.   Further proof that society its self is destroying us as a people one little person at a time.   I had a MESSED UP childhood, and an emotionally abusive  first marriage, but have managed to somehow drag myself through it all, improving myself along the way.  I know now I can credit the sandstone quarry I spent years 5-14 almost LIVING in.  Thank goodness for that.


I just googled this to ensure proper spelling of the author’s name(too much work to go grab the book and look LOL), and I’m thrilled to see that it does indeed still operate!  Wow!  Summerhill is so shocking and so surprising that it almost seems like it has to be bunk.  It’s amazing!  I always hope to gain a little parenting knowledge from everything I read, and this book provides no shortage of that.  Most of it, though, seems quite obvious–don’t nag your kids about dumb things and they won’t become neurotic.  Too bad that almost 100 years later we still haven’t caught onto that as a society… I also have Neill’s autobiography, “Neill Neill Orange Peel”, and another book of his, “Freedom– Not License!”.  I’ll be dabbling in those soon since I’m almost done with Summerhill.  I like his straightforward no crap attitude, so I got other books of his.  Hopefully they provide as much advice and info as Summerhill.

Bev Bos’s Don’t Move The Muffin Tins and Before The Basics-Creating Conversations With Children

I’m SO glad I picked up these books, especially the Muffin Tins.  All the points it makes are SO OBVIOUS, yet I had no clue whatsoever.  Don’t show your kids what/how to do things with art supplies.  Give it to them and LET them BE.  Don’t provide an example of what they’re supposed to make or draw, otherwise they will feel TOTALLY inferior.  DUH?!  I’m thankful to that book for keeping me from making my kid feel like he might suck at art.  As far as Conversations, I can’t wait for Ian to start talking more so that he can actually respond to all the silent hypotheticals I’ve been asking him.

How Children Fail-John Holt

I searched many used book stores for ANY Holt book, and finally got one.  I’m not too far into this, but it is all as good as I had heard, read and was promised.  This particular book is sort of a journal of classes he sat in on and taught.  Again, I already feel relieved that my kid will be FREE of the stymies of a classroom.  I have no one to thank but myself for reading all these books BEFORE education begins, to save myself any guilt feelings.  I can become neurotic about anything, given enough time.  Standard education would really have killed me, had I not read things like this first.   Hooray for pre-emptive strikes!

Trust The Children-Anna Kealoha

This was actually one of the very first books I got ON homeschooling(another Goodwill score, as many of these are believe it or not).  I love all the theories in it, and I love the specific games and tactics mentioned.  I love it!  $1 well spent!!

Science Of Education And The Psychology Of The Child-Jean Piaget

I am not too far into this book.  I have to wait until it is like totally quiet so I can really concentrate to read it.  There’s a lot of terminology, things I’m not familiar with.  I think I read a sentence 4 or 5 times before I finally comprehend it.  I always heard Piaget was great reading, I just didn’t know I’d have to have a PhD as a prerequisite.

Pocket Full Of Pinecones-Karen Andreola

This book is different than what I thought it was when I bought it(lesson learned).  It is a fictional tale based on the homeschooling experiences of a current family, but it’s set in the early 1900s.  I bought this during a period when I was rather taken with Charlotte Mason and her teachings(now if I could just find curriculum sans the religion).   I have since gotten over that, but I really like the idea of nature study as a regular event.

Handbook Of Nature Study-Anna Botsford Comstock

Again with the Charlotte Mason stuff 🙂  This book is actually INCREDIBLE.  Ian enjoys flipping through it even now.  In the beginning of the book, the author apologizes for the size of the book(almost 900 pages), and then goes on to say that there is no more in that book than the average 12 year old should know about his surroundings.  I am WAAAY behind.  I’ve been 12 almost 3 times over, and I probably know a third of the things in the book.  Fortunately, as they say, teaching is learning.

Keeping A  Nature Journal-Clare Walker Leslie & Charles E. Roth

If I learn to draw from this book, it will be a miracle.  Hopefully Ian does.  He doesn’t already know he can’t like I do  LOL  😀

Teaching Montessori In The Home: Pre-school years-Elizabeth  Hainstock

I was on a Montessori kick when I learned there were some around here, that is, until I learned of unschooling.  The theories behind Montessori still interest me, but not enough to pay $900/yr for Ian to be exposed.  Still, there are some fun activities in this book, especially for ‘concrete’ learning, like numbers and letters.

Homeschooling: The Early Years: Your complete guide to successfully homeschooling the 3- to 8- year old child-Linda Dobson

There are a lot of different stories in here about a lot of different families with a lot of different examples of ways they teach.  I love reading stories about things that worked for people, and what they learned about their kid from trying this or that.  It amazes me.  My favorites were how many kids learned to read just by being read to for hours every single day.  imagine it– no  books on phonics?!!?!

Well, I think that’s most of what I peek into now and again.  I’ve actually got a box next to a chair in the living room, and I pick out whatever looks good on a particular night.  I also stop for a while in many books until Ian gets to a point that it’s more age-appropriate.  I doubt I will retain much of this up until Ian would be ready to benefit from it.  So I’ll just dig it back out when it’s time.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2010 8:55 pm

    how many books do you go thrhoug a year? out all those plus any others you may have read. what would be the three books you recommend to read first.


  2. January 12, 2010 4:37 pm

    How many books do I go through in a year? Well, it depends. I read the entire Dr. Sears parenting library just during pregnancy, so that was like, 17 books, maybe, in 9 months? Reading for me leads to more reading. I learn about one thing in a book then go buy a book about that thing, and so on and so on. I’ve probably purchased 400 books just in the past 12 months or so, 1/3 for me and 2/3 for Ian’s ‘library’. 75% of my books are Goodwill/Easter Seals Sale/Garage sale finds(those places also lead me to get more books, books I’ve never heard of that look interesting, or an idea that I’d like to read about), and I’d say 90% of Ian’s future books are from those same places.

    3 books I’d recommend reading first… Pertaining to home schooling or just child rearing in general? In general, I recommend Dr. Sears attachment books first, because I think the best way to start out as a good parent, home schooling or not, is to be strongly attached. But just for homeschooling, I’d probably actually recommend The Last Child In The Woods by Richard Louv, because it gives a lot of info on exactly what tv and computers and a lack of outside time is doing to kids. It caused me to IMMEDIATELY change several of the things that were happening under our roof. It’s quite an eye-opener.

    The other 2 books I would recommend both in 2nd place, as they sort of correlate. Homeschooling-the Early Years starts out as a book of polls and statistics. The author polls many homeschooling families on different aspects of their schooling, ie; curriculum or going blind, set time or whenever, rules, regulations, or learn in your jammies with your hair unkempt, special room for learning or wherever, etc. Most of the families seemed VERY relaxed in their homeschooling style, and according to their polls, the rules and regulations and use of curriculum lessened with time. That, to me, proved that if your kid’s desire to learn isn’t squelched, mashed and killed by the public school system, that they WILL learn on their own, with little to no help from anyone. That wasn’t really stated in the book, but it was what I gleaned from it.

    Trust The Children gives a list with descriptions of many methods of learning. Some of them(those similar to methods used in public school) make it pretty obvious to see why kids don’t learn like they can/should in public school. That is the book from which I first heard of un-schooling. After the descriptions of many learning types, the book has hundreds of examples of learning “tools”; word games, music games, art projects, really a little bit of everything. From that book you can do as I did, and find things that interest you and go read about them as far as methods go, or you can read through the hundreds of examples of learning ‘games’, and bookmark a few for the future. Oh yeah–I did that too 🙂

    Summerhill might be a good third, but Neill can be quite a pompous, opinionated old fart and its sort of a ‘his way or the highway’ attitude. But then that attitude got me to acquire 2 more of his books, so… If you like him, you like him I guess. If you don’t , he’s probably an annoying, pompous old fart.

    Hopefully this was at least a little helpful 🙂 Thanks for reading 🙂

  3. January 12, 2010 4:38 pm

    Holy cow that’s almost as long as the original post!!!

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