Monday, February 08, 2010

What I am reading

I have always loved to read and lately I have been dismayed at the very few books I've muddled through this past year. I've read a book here or there, but nothing constant. I must confess is I usually get sucked into watching some dumb show on TV and then I'm too tired to move, let alone become interested in a book.

I am determined to read more and to cut back on the mindless TV shows I find myself watching most nights.

I have a stack of really appealing books in my house right now and I am anxious to read them. First up is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Yes, again. I received a beautiful edition of the book for Christmas to replace my tattered paperback copy and I have enjoyed the pretty appearance of the cover almost as much as the familiar story on its pages.

I am also reading a book recommended called The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling by Rachel Gathercole.

So far it's more describing things I am well aware of (i.e. the different ways home-schoolers teach their children, the deluge of social activities available to home-schoolers, etc.) than telling me anything new but I still always enjoy reading books about home-schooling. Usually I find at least a few helpful hints when I read such a book.

One thing I read that sort of surprised me was that, according to Gathercole's research, the number of people choosing to home-school is growing at a rate of ten-twenty percent per year. I have long realized it's a much more popular option now than when I was a child, but wow; that is significant growth.

I will also be spending time this week reading through my copy of The Well-Trained Mind since I am hoping to start making some tentative plans about different texts that I would like to buy for next year.


dad said...

Great. Parents who care can put the public schools out of business. About time.

sixty-five said...

Not sure about that. Well, actually I AM pretty sure!Many "parents who care" don't have the time or resources or talent for home schooling. I was always annoyed when contemporaries of my own kids were removed from the public schools and sent to snooty private ones, making it more challenging for the public school to continue to offer the quality programs (AP sciences, etc) that the students deserved. I'd love to see a hybrid system evolve, whereby parents could utilize the public schools for some things, the joint resoures of talented, committed parents for others, and make more use of non-traditional facilities (museums, colleges, libraries, nature centers, etc - even businesses). Education should be everyone's business.

Cate said...

Oh Pru, Dad's just trying to get a rise out of you. Or anyone reading his comment. He's quite successful at doing that on a daily basis w/a large variety of people.

dad said...

Successful again. Goal attained.

Cate said...

Dad was being cheeky, but what does excite me about the 10-12 percent number is that it indicates, to me, that parents are paying more attention to their kids' schooling choices. The right answer won't always be home-schooling (or maybe even most of the time) but that number indicates to me that parents are evaluating the public and private schools available to them and evaluating whether their kids are a good fit in classroom setting at all, and I think we'd all agree that kind of analysis can only benefit society because it shows parents are actively involved in their kids' education.

As for education being society's business, I think we're probably reaching a philosophical divide. I see it as parents' business and the responsibility of a child's education rests on the parents' shoulders. Often this means a public education, and often it does not. When it does, neighborhood schools should be run and funded by communities and not constrained by ineffective Washington bureaucrats. Think how much our local schools could do with all the money that's housing all these "experts" in Washington that push paper around all day. Until society gets serious about bringing responsibility and money back to parents to effectively give parents choices in how to educate their kids, I think we will probably always disagree on this point.

And now, weren't we talking about books anyway? ;)

sixty-five said...

I didn't come here to argue! It's an endlessly fascinating subject - something better to discuss in person!