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Love in a Time of Homeschooling: A Mother and Daughter's Uncommon Year    by Laura Brodie order for
Love in a Time of Homeschooling
by Laura Brodie
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

For anyone who has considered homeschooing their child or children, or is fascinated by the subject, Love in a Time of Homeschooling is an enlightening memoir about one family's experience with school at home. Homeschooling has evolved from a fringe movement to more of a mainstream option. It used to be the choice of the two extremes - the far liberal end of the spectrum of people who didn't want to join in with government establishment, and the far conservative religious end who wanted to shelter children from the dangers of mainstream society. Now, more and more people are choosing to homeschool as a legitimate option, with many (almost overwhelmingly so) choices of how to go about it and of curriculum.

Laura Brodie's eldest daughter Julia was not a good fit with the public school system. Her personality did not fit in well with the regimented homework and structure of the schedule. When Julia was ten years old, Laura and her husband decided she would take a year off from public school and her mother (with occasional help from her father) would homeschool her. Laura did a great deal of research into homeschool options and had grand plans about what she and Julia were going to accomplish over the course of the year. What actually happened was nothing like Laura's plans, but the end result was more rewarding than they could have imagined at the beginning.

One of the most fascinating things about their year long odyssey was how much Laura learned about herself and her relationship with her daughter. Besides being about school, this book is about parent-child relationships. It will make the reader stop and think about their relationship with their own child and how that could be strengthened. I'm not saying that Laura and Julia's homeschool year was full of intimate teachable moments and strong bonding. At times, their bond was beyond tumultuous and very full of strife. Yet the togetherness they experienced couldn't help but teach them about each other.

From time to time, I have considered the idea of homeschooling. This book did not convince me that it is a great idea and everyone should jump on board with it. But it does show that homeschooling could be an option for anyone, regardless of belief system. And it can be a short-term option as well - possibly for a year off for an extended family trip, or to give a child breathing space for exploration before a big school transition. This book opens the mind up to possibilities. Love in a Time of Homeschooling is a well-paced book that will entertain as well as enlighten. Those readers who appreciate memoirs will enjoy this family story.

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