Think homeschooling is only for a handful of eccentrics on either end of the political spectrum? Think again. Today in America, two million primary- and secondary-school students are homeschooled. Growing at a rate of 10 percent annually, homeschooling represents the most dramatic change in American education since the invention of the mimeograph—and the story has only just begun.
In The Year of Learning Dangerously, popular blogger, author, and former child actor Quinn Cummings recounts her family’s decision to wade into the unfamiliar waters of homeschooling—despite a chronic lack of discipline, some major gaps in academic knowledge, and a serious case of math aversion. (That description refers to Quinn.)
Trying out the latest trends, attending key conferences (incognito, of course), and recounting the highlights and lowlights along the way, Quinn takes her daughter’s education into her own hands, for better and for worse. Part memoir, part social commentary, and part how-not-to guide, The Year of Learning Dangerously will make you laugh and make you think. And it may or may not have a quiz at the end. OK, there isn’t a quiz. Probably.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.63(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Quinn Cummings is an Oscar-nominated actress (The Goodbye Girl, Family), and the critically acclaimed author of the memoir Notes from the Underwire. She writes the popular blog The QC Report, and her work has appeared in Good Housekeeping, Los Angeles Magazine, and Newsweek. She lives in Los Angeles with her partner and daughter.
Table of Contents
School. Daze 3
Magical History Tour 33
Unchartered Territory 49
Joy Story 57
Le Math 87
Veni, Vidi... 101
The Fourth R 107
Rhymes with Orange 113
Go, Team 131
Cabin Fever 137
The Perils of Sensual Reading 147
Oh, What a Night 179
Parent/Teacher Conference 213
Further Reading 227
What People are Saying About This
"In The Year of Learning Dangerously, Quinn Cummings dares to go where few parents have gone before. Her adventures in homeschooling are fascinating, loving and most of all hilarious. This book is a great gift to parents and the people that wonder what make them tick. I loved it."
—Julie Klam, New York Times bestselling author of You Had Me at Woof
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In The Year of Learning Dangerously, Quinn Cummings chronicles her family's decision to take her daughter out of public school and homeschool for a year. It starts off great. Cummings addresses her reasons for choosing to homeschool, as well as some of the concerns parents (and other people) have. I especially appreciated her comebacks to the tired "what about socialization?" questions and comments. There are plenty of witty moments, ones all of us who homeschool can relate to. But shortly after the opening few chapters, I started to have mixed feelings about the book. What bothered me is this: While exploring some of the different homeschooling styles, she seemed to purposefully seek out minority fringe groups rather than looking into what typical homeschoolers do. For example, the entire unschooling chapter was about radical unschoolers… at a convention, no less. Why cover radical unschooling but not unschooling, which is far more common? She also had a tendency to gloss or even skip over points in order to be clever and funny. Her overview of classical education was more of a caricature than reality. She couldn't finish reading The Well Trained Mind to see the big picture? Okay, fair enough; it is a massive text. But why not visit the Well-Trained Mind message forum instead? Or seek out local classical homeschoolers and ask what they do on a normal day? It seemed as if she was looking for the most outrageous examples of homeschooling approaches. What was the overall point of doing so? Shock value? It certainly doesn't seem like she bothered trying for a fair representation of typical homeschoolers. (And the group I'm in is a very eclectic bunch - we have members who are unschoolers, religious, secular, Charlotte Mason, classical, Montessori, child-led, relaxed, and everything in between.) The Year of Learning Dangerously did even out toward the end. The prom and graduation chapters were very sweet, and I hope that C ends up feeling the way those graduates did about their education. I'm glad Cummings mentioned that plenty of us homeschool not for extreme religious reasons or out of fear of the government or society. I liked her optimism in the final chapters, and I'm glad she found a style that works for her family. I would have enjoyed this far more if, for the majority of the book, Cummings had spent less time poking fun at extremist fringe groups and more time observing typical examples of various homeschooling styles. I think she would have gotten a lot more out of the experience, and it would have made for a more timeless, useful book. The fact that this is a memoir, her experience, is probably what saved the read for me.
When my oldest two children were younger I went through a time when I wanted to homeschool. I loved the idea of it and of being able to keep them with me. Planning field trips and learning at their pace, being able to use their interests to make learning personal and meaningful, but my husband wasn't in favor of the idea and then we had two more children and now I think it would be really hard to be working with all four of them on my own for all their educational needs. One of the things that really struck me when I started this is how different it must be to just have one child. Cummings does a great job of making her book entertaining while relating her year homeschooling her daughter and the research she did into the different groups who are homeschooling in America. The history of homeschooling and even how it is handled in different countries. I am not sure I would have wanted to disguise myself in order to attend conferences for fundamentalist groups of homeschoolers, but she made it fun and entertaining while still managing to teach something along the way. If all history books and lessons could be done in such an entertaining fashion I think students of all ages would learn more! I found myself loving this book. I picked it up off the shelf at the library when the title jumped out at me. Sometimes I find the best books that way. I may or may not have seen a review of it in a magazine, but it just looked like a book I wanted to read. I found it interesting how she dealt with teaching subjects that she herself wasn't the best at (which had been one of my concerns when I was thinking about homeschooling myself six years ago). It will be interesting to see if she writes any more books on this subject.
I love everything Quinn Cummings writes even though I don't have kids and will therefore never homeschool anyone. Also, read her hilarious blog.