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Intellectually provocative reportage from the home-education front.

An impressive brief for home-schooling, with caveats.

Part memoir, part primer, this begins by recalling the events that precipitated the decision to home-school. Penn-Nabrit graduated from Wellesley and Ohio State University Law School, her husband from Dartmouth, so both felt qualified to evaluate the education their three sons were receiving at an expensive all-male private school in Columbus, Ohio. They felt the administration was not sufficiently committed to diversity and did not try very hard to find qualified black male teachers, role models the boys needed. Nor did they appreciate being told that their desire to have their sons attend Ivy League colleges was “unrealistic.” Matters came to a head when the headmaster objected to the Penn-Nabrits organizing a picnic without his permission for other black parents and accused them of being tardy with their tuition payments; twins Charles and Damon, age 11, and Evan, 9, were expelled. Devout Pentecostal Christians, the author and her husband wanted their sons to have a holistic education that embraced faith, community, the arts, and sports, as well as the regular curriculum; they decided to home-school. They found graduate students and other qualified professionals to teach subjects like mathematics, science, and foreign languages. Since they ran their own business (a management consultant firm), they could take the boys on business trips that exposed them to new ideas, and they made sure their sons attended the ballet and concerts, volunteered, and participated in sports at their local recreation center. It wasn’t all smooth sailing: the boys missed the social life of a regular school and accepted the changes reluctantly. Each chapter describing a portion of the program and the kids’ progress includes an afterword evaluating the results and offering advice to other parents. The twins were accepted at Princeton, and Evan at Amherst, but adjusting to college was not easy, admits Penn-Nabrit, who offers a frank assessment of what went wrong as well as right.

Intellectually provocative reportage from the home-education front.

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2003

ISBN: 0-375-50774-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2002

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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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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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1992

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