“Deschooling Society”

I’m currently reading Ivan Illich’s “Deschooling Society” and finding it a wonderful read. It was written in 1971 and so many of the things he wrote about are the same things people are complaining about today only now they are amplified by time. I wonder what he would think about the world today. He died in 2002, so I wonder if he knew about the small but steady growth of the unschooling movement? I’d like to read more about him and his later years after I’m done with this book. For now, I’ll leave you with a quote from the pages I read this morning.

“We permit the state to ascertain the universal educational deficiencies of its citizens and establish one specialized agency to treat them. We thus share in the delusion that we can distinguish between what is necessary education for others and what is not,…”

“Kitchen Table Math”?

I found a great resource for homeschool math yesterday. It’s called, “Dr. Wright’s Kitchen Table Math”. It’s not curriculum. It’s several books about games and things you can do to promote mathematical thinking. It’s stuff that we, as parents that most likely learned math at school, probably wouldn’t even see as “math”. The site also has a resource list of reading books and games. Using something like this could be used as your math resource if you are privately homeschooling. You don’t need to be doing worksheets and abstract math in elementary school. And since there are no other kids your child’s age at your school, unless you have twins, there is no “behind”.

Two New Books

They aren’t really “new” books. I just discovered them and put them on my wish list yesterday!

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

I haven’t read them myself but I will now! The Princess Bride and The Neverending Story movies were a few of my childhood favorites. As to The Last Unicorn, I didn’t even know it was a movie until now, and by Rankin & Bass! I’ll be seeing if that movie is on Netflix for sure!

When my boys were younger and still liked bedtime stories, we read The Princess Bride together. It was wonderful! These two books look like they will have the same value to me. They are great books to read together and talk about, stories that bring us together.

Math Books

I had never considered myself a “math person” and, about ten years ago, I heard someone talk about how ridiculous that sounded, especially since no one is embarrassed to announce that at a party. No one would walk into a group of people chatting about a novel and say “I’ve never considered myself a ‘word’ person.” Just about everyone would feel just a little inferior if they said that, but no one feels that way about math. It’s as if it’s a special club that few elite are members of. They suggested we stop using that phrase and encourage others to do so as well. It screams our willful ignorance on a topic that touches our lives on a daily basis. She said that we were probably taught about numbers before we were ready to learn them and then convinced by the school system that because of that we should consider ourselves “not good at math” and pursue other subjects. I’ve spent the last ten years trying to rediscover math on my own terms. And I’ve fallen in love with the subject! Maybe not to the extent that an expert in the subject would, but I can follow the logic and understand math that occurs all around us every day, much the same way most of us use words to function in the world.

Right now I’m reading an awesome book called, “Euclid’s Window” by Leonard Mlodinow. It’s about the history of math which, amazingly, involves humans that are trying to explain things. It’s such a great read that I find myself reading it first thing in the morning and for a few minutes before I go to bed!

If you are interested in introducing math to your kids (and yourself in the process), try reading some of the books listed on my Math Resource page instead of starting with abstract math like “This is the number 1.” If you’d like to start working with numbers, I highly recommend “Right Start Math.” Hearing the author explain math that way really helped me overcome my fear by showing me that I wasn’t bad at it, I just wasn’t given the right tools. My sons and I played the games in that pack for years and still have the abacus and scale! You may be amazed at how much you love real world math and that excitement will certainly be passed on to your kids!

The Teenage Liberation Handbook

I love this book! It’s one that I wish I had found when I was a teenager. If you have an older child and you’re thinking about homeschooling or have been for years, I highly recommend you read this book and give it to your teens. It can help light a fire in them to pursue their own education and find their way in the world outside the classroom. Beware of the results, though! Their path may not look like the one you would have chosen for them. Embrace that! Be the support they need to be who they choose to be.

From Sue Patterson’s Newsletter (which I highly recommend you sign up for)!

The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education was originally published in 1991 by Grace Llwellyn. Now it’s available to you for free! It’s designed partly for the parents, but mainly for the teen who is thinking that the regular brick-and-mortar school isn’t working out for them. Even though it was written 25 years ago, the points are all still valid. It’s full of practical advice, ideas, and encouragement. ”



Alfie Kohn

Over the last 13 years, I’ve found it much easier to stay on the home education path when I was reading and hearing great thinkers and writers, not only homeschool advocates, but classic literature and history as well. I thought I’d start sharing some of my favorite authors to encourage you on your path!

Today’s “featured author” is Alfie Kohn. I’ll let you discover him yourself instead of preaching his work to you. Go check him out HERE.

Read Alouds

Real aloud time is not just for fiction! Young children love stories and if you give them something to do while you read out loud to them, they’re likely to listen all afternoon. Coloring, playing simple games, legos, or blocks are great ways to keep hands busy while ears listen.

One of the books my sons liked when they were little was “Mathematicians are People, too!” There are loads of stories in these books that bring mathematicians and other scientists to life for kids long before they ever can understand the concepts they invented or discovered. Go check them out!

By the way, I’m not making money on clicks or Amazon sales. I’m just sharing things I’ve found great over the past ten years of home educating my kids!