The Year of Learning Dangerously

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A book review of The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling by Quinn Cummings

A book review of The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling by Quinn Cummings

Stars: ****

Tarcher Perigee (2013)
240 pages

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Summary: Think homeschooling is only for a handful of eccentrics on either end of the political spectrum? Think again. Today in America, two million primary- and secondary-school students are homeschooled. Growing at a rate of 10 percent annually, homeschooling represents the most dramatic change in American education since the invention of the mimeograph—and the story has only just begun.

In The Year of Learning Dangerously, popular blogger, author, and former child actor Quinn Cummings recounts her family’s decision to wade into the unfamiliar waters of homeschooling—despite a chronic lack of discipline, some major gaps in academic knowledge, and a serious case of math aversion. (That description refers to Quinn.)

Trying out the latest trends, attending key conferences (incognito, of course), and recounting the highlights and lowlights along the way, Quinn takes her daughter’s education into her own hands, for better and for worse. Part memoir, part social commentary, and part how-not-to guide, The Year of Learning Dangerously will make you laugh and make you think. And it may or may not have a quiz at the end. OK, there isn’t a quiz. Probably.

The Year of Learning Dangerously

So first things first, this is NOT a how to homeschool book. I picked this up from the library because I’m newly homeschooling (sort of) and love to read about what’s going on in my life. It can be a little educational but it’s mostly a for fun read.

Quinn homeschools for one year and while she does so, she learns about different types of homeschooling extremes such as Fundamentalists, Gothardites and Radical Unschoolers. She learns about these not by reading about them, but by hiding in plain sight. She goes undercover to conferences or orders their homeschooling materials to see what it’s all about.

Quinn also learns where the gaps in her daughter’s education are where her daughter’s interests and passions lie. That I can say is true of homeschooling. When my kids went to school, I had no idea what they were learning or if they were good at it or not. Report cards don’t tell you much. Everyone with a school age child knows when you ask them what they learned they say either I don’t know or stuff.

It was an interesting book which is why it’s 4 stars but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. If you are curious about homeschooling extremes or are considering homeschooling for a short period of time, you may enjoy this book. If you have been homeschooling for years though you won’t get anything out of it.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.