Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Homeschool Liberation League


Interesting book: great title,deep characters, extremely interesting topic. 
What do you do if your kid is bored out of their mind at school?  What if
that child seems to be self-motivated at home
learning about plants and animals all on their own?  Homeschooling, unschooling, or regular schooling-which path do you choose? 
 This book eventually makes the case that there are many
different answers to that question.

     Kaity, after a summer trip to Wilderness Camp, turns herself into" Katya" and decides to take herself out of school- on her very first day back!  She leaves, walks out, on a day when many students are excited to see their friends, show off new school wardrobes and be a part of something but not Katya.  She heads back home where she hides out in her treehouse for most of the day.   Katya puts together a massive binder of researched information about schools and homeschooling as well as her reasons for wanting this so much and shares it with her parents-begging to be allowed to stay home and learn what she wants to learn.  After meeting with the principal, the parents become frustrated with the school system as well so they decide to give it a try.

 Along the way Katya meets Milo, a H.S. neighbor and young violin prodigy.  Milo doesn't want to be homeschooled any more because his dad is overbearing about the whole practicing, studying thing. 
Several middle school and high school students who homeschool hate it...
they fight to go to school while Katya fights for one year of freedom. 

There is very real conflicting feelings in the story.  It is tough to wonder, with one decision, am I going to ruin my child's life?  I liked the emotion the book brought out in me yet I didn't love the book.  Katya was screechy and drove me a little crazy but I also think that is how a middle school girl might be.  I think I was like that-everything very dramatic!!  I think I would like to read another Lucy Frank book to do a little compare and contrast.  I don't homeschoo lmy own children and I do teach in the public school system but I am a fan of homeschooling as a good friend taught me homeschooling fits a variety of purposes.  My previous idea was more along the lines of parents trying hard to shelter their children from the reality of the world-don't read "To Kill a Mockingbird" or "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" -you know. 

My favorite quote:
 "I thought you loved school," I lied.  "You're Francesca Halloran, star of everything.  Teachers love  you, kids love you.  Everyone wants to be you.  You always have that sparkly, sprightly, spunky, everything is so fun and easy and interesting, I-live-for-school...You always know what you're doing-"
Her look reminded me of Milo.  "Did you hear anything I said before?  That doesn't mean I like it.  I'm just good at it.  It's a game, Katya.  So I play to win, okay?  I'm so good at playing it, most of the time I don't even know it is a game." Her eyes shone with feeling.  "But you said no, I'm not playing.  I can't do it.  I really admire that." p. 187
     One of the themes I loved in the book was the idea of being true to yourself and both Katya, Milo and Francesca learn to stand up for what it is they really want. Just as it would be in real life, the hardest part was convincing parents that their children were mature enough to know themselves! 
  I discussed the book this afternoon with my friend (yes, the homeschooling mama) and she thinks it would make a great reading choice for the parents of her H.S. group!  It will be interesting to hear what they think!

Recommended-Middle Grade Fiction
3.5 /5 peaceful stars
Other Reviews:
and Jessica at Kiss the Book
***Library Book Project***


Anonymous said...

Thanks for putting this book on my radar. I think it sounds like something I would like to try. I did homeschool my daughter for her 7th and 8th grade years. It was an good experience and one that I never planned for. We both benefitted I think.

Jenners said...

I just could not imagine homeschooling my child.