Love in a Time of Homeschooling by Laura Brodie – Book Review

Love in a Time of Homeschooling by Laura Brodie

When Laura Brodie’s daughter Julia ran away one day, it was the last straw with her and public school. Julia didn’t run away without reason, you see, she ran away to avoid her homework. Her 4th grade homework. Her 10 minutes worth of 4th grade homework. And she hid for an hour before Laura found her. Laura had always known that Julia wasn’t thriving in a conventional classroom, but that was the point at which Laura knew she had to do something different.

Eventually, she decided that the something she needed to do was homeschooling. Brodie was a somewhat reluctant homeschooler. She planned to do it for only a year, to give Julia a break from school. She also wasn’t planning to homeschool her two younger daughters, one of whom was thriving in the classroom, the other of which needed the experience of being away from her mother.  “Love in a Time of Homeschooling” details Laura and Julia’s year together, beginning with Laura’s decision to homeschool her for a year. It was a learning curve for both of them, and not always as successful as Laura might have hoped.

My favorite thing about “Love in a Time of Homeschooling” is that Brodie was totally and completely honest about her experience. There was no sugar coating, either of Julia’s temperament or of the homeschooling experience. Frankly, Julia seems like an exceptionally difficult child. This is not to say that Laura vilifies her daughter, but she does not idealize her either. Not only is Julia incredibly stubborn, but she also lives in her own little world and doesn’t have much desire to spend time with human beings. Although she appreciated not being in the classroom, taking only a year off of public school meant that Laura and Julia had to roughly follow the state learning guidelines, so that Julia would be able to return the following year without being any farther behind.

Since homeschooling is something I’ve vaguely thought about for awhile – particularly with the state of education these days with budget cuts everywhere – I found this book really fascinating. Brodie didn’t only describe what she did, but also a variety of other homeschooling models, but without turning “Love in a Time of Homeschooling” into a dry textbook of homeschooling. I also appreciated the great list of resources she put in the back of the book, definitely helpful as a starting point if I ever do decide to go the homeschooling route.

If you homeschool or have ever considered it, or if you are simply interested in education, or memoirs dealing with family dynamics, I would highly recommend “Love in a Time of Homeschooling.”

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