August 2010

The lessons of a fifth-grade sabbatical

By Laurie Brodie
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Love in a Time of Homeschooling is the story of one mom’s ambitious decision to give her 10-year-old daughter a school sabbatical during fifth grade. Author Laura Brodie decided to banish boring worksheets and tedious hours of homework for a year of homeschooling focused on her child’s passions, lots of writing, field trips to museums and parks and French lessons with Dad.

Despite Brodie's dreams of schooling utopia, conflict was inevitable. Mom turns into a drill sergeant (and earns the nickname “the Volcano”) while Julia develops a gift for whining. The more teachable moments Mom crams in, the more her free-spirited daughter rolls her eyes.

Brodie doesn't give herself an A on her homeschool experiment, but her lyrical and poignant take on her head-in-the-clouds daughter and their clashes is both tender and brutally honest. You can't help but admire how she takes on the enormous task of helping her daughter recapture her love of learning.

If you've considered homeschooling, Brodie's frank account of the highs and lows gives you a realistic picture rather than simple rosy assurances of success. And if homeschooling is not for you, Brodie’s book still offers valuable insights. She shows that it's every parent's responsibility to take a closer took at their child's curriculum, understand how their child learns best and add valuable learning opportunities outside of the classroom.

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