Hmmm, what to say about David H. Albert’s Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery? Thought-provoking, articulate, bold. Mr. Albert’s book is a call to everyone to question our country’s school system, as well as a challenge to be present in life and to never stop learning no matter how old you are. A wonderful, revolutionary collection of Mr. Albert’s speeches and magazine articles, this book will make you think about how your child is doing in school, not necessarily to wonder what kind of grades they are getting, but rather the manner in which they are being taught. After making you wonder about your child’s school, he makes you wonder how you could support their learning more, and how you yourself need to become an active learner again.
I especially enjoyed the chapter “Flow II – The Teenage Edition,” which addresses particular stages in a child’s academic and social development, and discusses the need for non-family adult mentors in a teen’s world. Another chapter that stuck with me was entitled “Life Companions,” which also addresses a developmental stage in a tween’s life in which they struggle with needing to let go of the activities they feel are babyish and begin or continue those that they perceive are not. Albert gamely suggests not only letting them do so, even if they are giving up something they have long loved and that you would like them to continue such as piano lessons, but throwing a graduation party so that they can feel validated in this need. I personally recall being twelve and having my mantra be, “I don’t play, I do.” Luckily, I was supported in my transition, and was able to find my place in activities I had previously enjoyed, as well as in new pastimes. While I’m not anti-public school, I’ll agree with Mr. Albert in that the current public school system could use a reform, and I found intriguing the chapters in which he goes into detail on how the system is failing today’s children.
The strongest point in his essays is really his out-of-the-box way of thinking about how to support a child’s learning, such as “social” studies while serving meals at a local soup kitchen, and acknowledging how we learn through our different deep thoughts which he calls “conversations with life.” By far, the most important message to be learned from Mr. Albert’s book is that even teachers need to learn with their students, which is a lesson in and of its self to the young learner.
Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery challenges us to throw away much of what the public school system has taught us about learning and living life, and encourages us to be gentle with our kids and follow their lead in where they need their schooling to take them. Though some of the dates/data are a little outdated, I highly recommend it for home schoolers and non-homeschoolers alike as a thought-provoker.
Check out Mr. Albert’s page on the web, and purchase the book, at: www.skylarksings.com.
Disclaimer: I am recieving no compensation for this review. I just enjoyed the book. 🙂