An “Un” Book Report

A long time ago in a post very, very far away, I declared that I would read Homeschool: An American History by Milton Gaither. Well, I have finally read it, and here is my unschooler’s un-book report. Imagine this on a piece of loose-leaf paper with a red ballpoint-pen margin drawn down the right side of the page. The nuns always required that! But then, to make it an un-book report, imagine the red line being all wavy. (The nuns would demand it be made with a ruler.)

TITLE: Homeschool: An American History

AUTHOR: Milton Gaither

MAIN CHARACTERS: American parents, from the 1700s through to the present, who educated their children at home, for whatever reason they had at the time.

PLOT: This book describes how home education began, expanded, contracted, and changed over time. It reads somewhat like a textbook or thesis.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK: I wouldn’t call it a “fun read,” but I learned a lot from reading it. Here are some examples of what I learned,or what I already knew but never really thought much about:

  • The invention of the electric light affected home education. Before that, reading was often done communally; that is, one person read by the dim, often single, lamp in the room, while the rest of the family listened. What was read was often educational and of a religious nature. The light bulb allowed for individual reading and a decline in the amount of educational reading done at home. (See page 65.)
  • Many of the children from poor families who were kept home from school in the 1910s and 1920s to help raise the younger children or to work on the family farm later felt that they had missed an important chapter of life by not attending school. (p. 81)
  • In the mid-1960s, John Holt, who then advocated free schools, was considered mainstream, in that his articles appeared in publications such as Life and Redbook. In the 1970s, Holt protested the Vietnam War and refused to pay taxes. He also began doubting that any type of school was good for children. (p. 124)

MY FAVORITE PART OF THIS BOOK: I liked this quote, because I think it does a good job of summing up the current state of home education:

Home education is now being done by so many different kinds of people for so many different reasons that it no longer makes much sense to speak of it as a movement or even a set of movements. For an increasing number of Americans, it’s just one option among many to consider, for a few months or for a lifetime.

–Milton Gaither (p. 223)

Well, did I get an A? Actually, since this is an un-book report, I wrote it for self-satisfaction, and I feel satisfied.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Thanks for reading my book! Glad you learned something from it. I learned a lot writing it.

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