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The Millman family made the decision to homeschool when their daughters were young.  To date, they have homeschooled their three older daughters all the way through to college, and are still homeschooling their three younger sons.  As with all of the books I review, I just don’t have the time to do this one justice.  However, here are a few quotes that stuck with me:

One of the most portentous decisions we made on the road to homeschooling was the decision that our children should have a very costly “luxury”: a full-time mom.  It seemed to us that a two-income lifestyle, then the norm among families in our age and education bracket, would require our children to make a sacrifice we didn’t want to demand of them–namely, the sacrifice of a mother at home.  p. 20

I love the idea that I am a “luxury” to my children, and I’m so thankful that I enjoyed that “luxury” when I was a child.

One of the greatest advantages of homeschooling is that it allows a parent to develop a curriculum tailored to the child instead of tailoring the child to the curriculum.  p. 48

I was a teacher for 8 years before I quit to raise my children.  I believe that there is a general body of knowledge and set of skills that children should learn.  But I also know well the limitations of the classroom setting.  How awesome and amazing would it be to teach your child what he needs and wants to learn, instead of teaching him what he needs to know to do well on a standardized test!

We don’t yet know what form our children’s education will take.  The Millman’s book was the first of many that I hope to read about homeschooling, and their story was an inspiration and encouragement to me.

This was a fantastic book.  Yolanda, her brother Andrew and her mother move from inner-city Chicago to Michigan.  There, Yolanda must re-establish her reputation as a tough, not to be messed with girl.  She also has to look out for her little brother Andrew, who communicates to the world with his harmonica.  But when Yolanda is busy with a new friend and Andrew is harmed, she know that it is up to her to make things right again.

There are some fantastic themes developed in this book: Friendship, family, loyalty, honesty, communication, love.  Through it all, Yolanda is convinced that her brother is a genius, and she will stop at nothing to prove it to the world.  This would be a great read-aloud in a fourth or fifth grade classroom.

Another school year in the teaching career of Torey Hayden. This time, Hayden’s biggest challenge is a silent girl named Venus. Venus is a 6 year old girl, who refuses to speak, or even move or participate in any way. When provoked, Venus flies into a horrible rage. Torey also has 4 other severely disturbed children in her class full-time, in addition to numerous students who drop in for resource help.Beautiful Child

While the book focuses on Venus and her struggles, Hayden also discusses her difficulties in working with her teacher’s aide, and in creating a sense of class unity amongst a class of kids who don’t want to be at school. Once again, I come away from this book inspired by Hayden’s dedication to her job.

The Tiger's Child : The Story of a Gifted, Troubled Child and the Teacher Who Refused to Give Up on HerThis is the sequel to One Child. While working on the manuscript for One Child, Hayden decided that she needed to show it to Sheila before it was published. It took some time, but she managed to track Sheila down. Sheila was now a teenager, who had completely forgotten almost everything about the time that she had spent in Hayden’s class. Hayden and Sheila renew their relationship, and Sheila begins to remember her past.

This book wasn’t as satisfying to read as some of Hayden’s other books. I think it’s because you see that even thought Hayden pours herself into helping her students, she really can’t fix everything. While her other books are realistic, they generally do end on an upbeat note. As a reader, you imagine that now that Hayden has had a breakthrough with a child, the child will go on improving and eventually lead a normal, happy life. Of course, although we like to believe this, it’s not always true.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6)I must admit that before reading the 6th book, I was ready for the Harry Potter series to be done. While I’ve faithfully read the entire series, books 2-5 just didn’t draw me in the way the first book did. I feel much differently now that I’ve read the 6th book. This book was exciting, it answered many questions, tied many more plot details together, was fast-paced, and ended far too quickly. I can hardly wait for the 7th book to come out, although I feel that to truly enjoy it, I should re-read books 1-6 first.

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