A wide-ranging look at the benefits of parents educating their children at home. Guterson (The Country Ahead of Us, the Country Behind, 1989) teaches English in a Washington State high school, but he and his wife school their own three boys at home. The boys are among an estimated 300,000 or more children nationwide who learn the three Rs—plus science, geography, philosophy, literature, and more—at the dining-room table instead of at a school desk. The boys also roam far afield, visiting workplaces, museums, libraries, and nature centers; joining peers in Little League and swimming lessons or for art, music or drama; spending time with other adults in the community, including a home for the elderly. It's the flexibility to make use of the rich resources of the community that Guterson counts as a plus for homeschooling. But more important, he asserts, is the opportunity to guide children in learning at their individual paces, impossible even in so-called child-centered public schools with their crowded classrooms and mandated curricula. Here are thoughtful and well-documented answers to most of the questions asked about homeschooling. Is it legal? Yes. Some states, in fact, give strong moral and even financial support to homeschoolers. Do the children learn? Overall, they do as well or better on standard tests as children schooled in classrooms—no matter what the educational level of the parents. Are they socialized? This question, says Guterson, has many layers but, yes, homeschooled children have friends and playmates; yes, they learn- -perhaps better than peers who are isolated in classrooms—what society expects of them. Homeschooling is not for everyone, but Guterson sees it as a growing and worthy alternative in an educational system badly in need of fundamental restructuring. A literate primer for anyone who wants to know more about alternatives to the schools.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-15-193097-X

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1992

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American schools at every level, from kindergarten to postgraduate programs, have substituted ideological indoctrination for education, charges conservative think-tanker Sowell (Senior Fellow/Hoover Institution; Preferential Polices, 1990, etc.) in this aggressive attack on the contemporary educational establishment. Sowell's quarrel with "values clarification" programs (like sex education, death-sensitizing, and antiwar "brainwashing") isn't that he disagrees with their positions but, rather, that they divert time and resources from the kind of training in intellectual analysis that makes students capable of reasoning for themselves. Contending that the values clarification programs inspired by his archvillain, psychotherapist Carl Rogers, actually inculcate values confusion, Sowell argues that the universal demand for relevance and sensitivity to the whole student has led public schools to abdicate their responsibility to such educational ideals as experience and maturity. On the subject of higher education, Sowell moves to more familiar ground, ascribing the declining quality of classroom instruction to the insatiable appetite of tangentially related research budgets and bloated athletic programs (to which an entire chapter, largely irrelevant to the book's broader argument, is devoted). The evidence offered for these propositions isn't likely to change many minds, since it's so inveterately anecdotal (for example, a call for more stringent curriculum requirements is bolstered by the news that Brooke Shields graduated from Princeton without taking any courses in economics, math, biology, chemistry, history, sociology, or government) and injudiciously applied (Sowell's dismissal of student evaluations as responsible data in judging a professor's classroom performance immediately follows his use of comments from student evaluations to document the general inadequacy of college teaching). All in all, the details of Sowell's indictment—that not only can't Johnny think, but "Johnny doesn't know what thinking is"—are more entertaining than persuasive or new.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 1993

ISBN: 0-02-930330-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1992

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The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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