I was sitting beside my husband on the couch while I cracked open the pages of the Susan Bauer’s newest book. I was excited to read this since I already enjoy her other publications about homeschooling, I didn’t even read the back cover of the book. Selfishly, I expected this to be a big pep rally for homeschooling. I found out, though, that she had a different idea in mind.
Written in a straight-forward way, Rethinking School is a book that arms parents with the knowledge of how to stay in control of their child’s schooling, no matter the type of classroom, learning style, or education environment your child is placed in. Bauer begins with a quick history of the American public school educational system and how we’ve gotten where we are today (Are you surprised there is a little history lesson when Bauer is around? I wasn’t). She also debunks some myths about school in general.
Since my husband, someone who spent his entire educational career with an IEP, was sitting next to me, I re-read parts of chapter four aloud to him. Bauer covers differences, disabilities, and disorders and it brought tears to our eyes. More things I wish we, as parents, had known back then.
In her section about taking control, Bauer guides the reader suggestions on how to take back the reins of education for our kids. And, when you are dealing with other educators, administrators and other individuals in general, things can get tricky. This is the part I loved the most. After listing several ideas, Bauer suggests doing our research on the testing, levels of achievement, or whatever topic we want to shift a bit. I love that her encouragement is to go into a meeting well prepped, but, not with an attitude that you plan on educating the educator about the topic. Rather, go prepared so that you can be able to be an asset to the conversation, a well-informed parent. I am sure a lot of educators hear that a meeting is desired and begin to brace themselves for the tornado of frustrations and finger-shaking that is likely to ensue. However, Bauer’s suggestions guide a parent to set a tone of humility and team-work.
Part five of Bauer’s book guides parents on whether or not homeschooling could be an option for them. She quickly reviews some homeschool styles, covers how to investigate homeschooling, alternative schooling ideas and out-of-the-box ideas.
If there were such a thing as a “you’ve just had a baby and you need a few books on how to raise this kid kind of books”, I would add this to the set. Bauer gives an expansive, yet not overwhelming, amount of information about the educational options we have available to us as parents. Rethinking School is clear and helpful. Also, most local public libraries have it in their collections or would likely be eager to add it.
Have you read Rethinking School? What are your takeaways?
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Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.lindsaybanton.com.