FAMILY MATTERS

WHY HOMESCHOOLING MAKES SENSE

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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Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

COLUMBINE

Comprehensive, myth-busting examination of the Colorado high-school massacre.

“We remember Columbine as a pair of outcast Goths from the Trench Coat Mafia snapping and tearing through their high school hunting down jocks to settle a long-running feud. Almost none of that happened,” writes Cullen, a Denver-based journalist who has spent the past ten years investigating the 1999 attack. In fact, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold conceived of their act not as a targeted school shooting but as an elaborate three-part act of terrorism. First, propane bombs planted in the cafeteria would erupt during lunchtime, indiscriminately slaughtering hundreds of students. The killers, positioned outside the school’s main entrance, would then mow down fleeing survivors. Finally, after the media and rescue workers had arrived, timed bombs in the killers’ cars would explode, wiping out hundreds more. It was only when the bombs in the cafeteria failed to detonate that the killers entered the high school with sawed-off shotguns blazing. Drawing on a wealth of journals, videotapes, police reports and personal interviews, Cullen sketches multifaceted portraits of the killers and the surviving community. He portrays Harris as a calculating, egocentric psychopath, someone who labeled his journal “The Book of God” and harbored fantasies of exterminating the entire human race. In contrast, Klebold was a suicidal depressive, prone to fits of rage and extreme self-loathing. Together they forged a combustible and unequal alliance, with Harris channeling Klebold’s frustration and anger into his sadistic plans. The unnerving narrative is too often undermined by the author’s distracting tendency to weave the killers’ expressions into his sentences—for example, “The boys were shooting off their pipe bombs by then, and, man, were those things badass.” Cullen is better at depicting the attack’s aftermath. Poignant sections devoted to the survivors probe the myriad ways that individuals cope with grief and struggle to interpret and make sense of tragedy.

Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

Pub Date: April 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-54693-5

Page Count: 406

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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THE ABOLITION OF MAN

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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