In February 2011, when Eagle Rock Patch was a little more than three months old, we featured a “Mom’s Talk” column about homeschooling that elicited a flurry of fascinating comments from readers.
"I'm really interested in homeschooling—or 'unschooling,'" wrote Michelle, an Eagle Rock mom whose inquiry about the pros and cons of this alternative form of education inspired the column, titled “Would Homeschooling Work for an Eagle Rock Family?” (Homeschooling, which had become practically extinct in the 1970s, now has some 2 million practitioners across the nation, according to the National Home Education Research Institute.)
We thought that everyone associated with the column as well as anyone interested in exploring the world of homeschooling, would be interested to know about a forthcoming book on the subject.
Titled The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling, the book’s author is Quinn Cummings, an actress and writer who lives in Silver Lake. Cummings chose to home-school her nine-year-old daughter after she somehow managed to convince her well-meaning elementary school teachers that she was “incapable of mastering long division when, in fact, she simply didn't like long division.”
This past Friday, the Wall Street Journal carried an essay adapted from Cummings' book, scheduled to be published August 7. “Everyone is worried that I keep my child in a crate with three air holes punched in it and won't let her have friends until she gets her AARP card,” writes Cummings in the essay, clarifying that while she does have the long answer for people’s worries, she prefers the shorter one:
“Homo sapiens have walked the Earth for at least 130,000 years and, in this time, they learned to be human from their elders, not from their peers. Mandatory education in the U.S. is less than 150 years old. Learning to be a productive adult human by spending a third of every day with other kids might be a good idea, but it's too soon to tell. I'm still unsure that the people best equipped to teach a 14-year-old boy how to be a man are other 14-year-old boys.”
Finally, click here to read—or re-read—the Mom’s Talk column. Or peruse the following comments from readers to get an idea of homeschooling:
"I loved being homeschooled. I was able to study what I cared about, and when I had to study something that I didn't care for, I was able to do so in the company of my friends in a class environment that one of the group's parents had put together for all of us. I love being able to talk to anyone without being innately biased by mainstream culture with regards to their age, gender, religion, ethnicity, or political beliefs."
"My husband and I considered home schooling, but we soon decided against it. The main reason is that we work from home and we realized that it is very hard to get much done with a couple of kids at the house all day. Although, I strongly believe that no matter what type of school kids attend, the MOST important learning must happen at home. A true love a learning can only be instilled by parents. Even more importantly, lessons about how to be a good citizen, a steward of our world and a morale person are things that make a child thrive. Institutions can't teach those things. So those of you who can make home schooling fly, more power to you."
"I have been interested in homeschooling since before my kids were born as I have an aunt who sent me great examples a few years ahead of me. We came to Eagle Rock from Washington state, and let me tell you L.A., right now, is the place to be home schooling! There is a large diverse community including semi organizations such as FACE-LA, WISH in Pasadena, and two friends and I have just opened a home schooling resource center in Atwater Village called Urban Homeschoolers. We wanted to offer space for classes especially for the older kids. I always hoped my son could follow Zephram and others example and go to community college when he got to be a teen, but as the economy has gotten worse, that option is more difficult. So we are setting it up for ourselves! The homeschooling community is really what makes the whole thing worth more than I can say. We love it."