Convincing book and/or documentary recommendations for homeschooling or unschooling - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
Thread Tools
#1 of 9 Old 02-18-2013, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
raproo's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 4
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Hi there, I am new to the forums here and new to motherhood with DD being 8wks! I know some of you may think it's waaay early to think about schooling but I like to be ahead of the curve and I have a bit of convincing to do...


Basically assuming DD and I get along well over the next few years and I feel able to connect with her and teach her well, I want to plan on homeschooling or unschooling. I am familliar with John Taylor Gatto through some podcasts and am convinced that given a good relationship with DD and being able to keep her focused or disciplined as needed then homeschooling or unschooling could definitely be for us. 


The problem is DH is does not agree. He believes the "socialization" reasoning for compulsory schooling and his mother was a teacher. She is also against homeschooling, although after talking about her career at length I came to realize she is exactly the type of teacher I don't want my DD to experience! The kind who stereotype, teach/grade, and treat the child based on socio-economic background rather than performance! I'm also not closed to sending her to school if we need to, it's a long way off and too early to decide definitively... however when the time comes I want DH to be as informed as I am and to be able to make the decision with an open mind, not just decide based on what society at large has taught him. He hasn't heard the podcasts I heard and honestly doesn't have time or patience to listen to those as they were about 6-8hrs of JTG talking. He would however read a good book or watch a regular 1.5-2hr documentary....


so the questions are:

1 - What JTG book is best to start with? 

2 - What other books/authors would be a good starting place? 

3 - What documentaries would be a good starting place? 


Thank you for your time and help.

raproo is offline  
#2 of 9 Old 02-18-2013, 03:45 PM
moominmamma's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: In the middle of nowhere, at the centre of everything.
Posts: 5,683
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 64 Post(s)

The single best starting point for skeptical dads is, to my mind, David Guterson's "Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense." Guterson is a dad, first off. And he's a public schoolteacher (or was at the time: now he's a novelist), and he doesn't diss the public school system. He just writes compellingly about why homeschooling makes sense, and systematically shoots down all of the common objections to it. He writes like a friend or a mentor, not an evangelist, so he doesn't come across as a wingnut convert. Also, the book is relatively concise and well-organized, and thus easy to skim. 


I like JTG's books, but I think they're better for people who already have some inkling that there's something not quite right about public schooling. For someone who has never questioned common wisdom, Guterson's book is the less likely to be written off as the ravings of a radical.



raproo likes this.

Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up

moominmamma is online now  
#3 of 9 Old 02-19-2013, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
raproo's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 4
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

thank you very much!

raproo is offline  
#4 of 9 Old 02-19-2013, 11:27 AM
Fortune Teller's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 154
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

Hi raproo!  I think it's awesome that you are already thinking ahead, and keeping an open mind at that!  People tend to have a knee-jerk reaction to homeschooling (as you well know).  However, it is becoming more mainstream, and thankfully there is a lot of supportive research out there to back you up!


One of the books that helped solidify my feelings about homeschooling were The Well-Adjusted Child,   It really takes apart the whole socialization argument.


I also was really moved by John Holt's Teach Your Own, which goes into all the benefits of homeschooling, as well as some good arguments against the public school system.


Really though, what helped me most overcome my own doubts and misconceptions about homeschooling was simply googling and reading articles on modern homeschooling families, and searching for and reading homeschooling blogs.  These 'windows' into the lives and methods of homeschooling families were very enlightening.  Out of all of this reading, (which was very easy to find online), I took away these things-  1.  Socialization is NOT an issue.  2.  All kinds of families are turning to this choice.  It is no longer just the religious or 'off the grid' hippies practicing HS'ing.  Families of every belief, every socioeconomic status, etc etc are HS'ing.  3. There is so much out there in terms of curriculum, materials, support, etc... HS'ing now is easier than ever.  4.  There is no right or wrong way to do it-  The freedom HS'ing provides is endless, and you will always find a support group or 'tribe' that fits in with your style.


The good news for you is that there is no shortage of this supporting information to supply to your husband.  I once saw a thread on here asking for sources of articles that presented research against homeschooling.  Truth is, there really isn't any, because the research hasn't produced it.  


I would also LOVE it if anyone could list some documentaries, either supporting homeschooling, or exposing the flaws of our public school system.  I would be really interested in watching those!

raproo likes this.
Fortune Teller is offline  
#5 of 9 Old 02-19-2013, 05:16 PM
dogmom327's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Sioux Falls, SD
Posts: 5,738
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

If at any point academics and rigor come up with your DH or MIL, the book The Well Trained Mind might be worth looking at. It's the basic model we are using. Note, this is classical homeschooling methodology--pretty much as far as you can get from unschooling. Just another perspective.


Don't worry, you have plenty of time :)

raproo likes this.

Mama to DS (6/07) h20homebirth.gif, DD (6/09) h20homebirth.gif, and DD (07/12) homebirth.jpg..

dogmom327 is offline  
#6 of 9 Old 02-21-2013, 08:58 AM
wookumus's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: OR
Posts: 120
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)

You have probably already read it since you know Gatto but I think a good book that forces people to address the problems of traditional school is Dumbing Us Down.  Quite compelling since he was a highly regarded school teacher for many years and if it doesn't make you question the status quo system, I don't know what would.  It does not, however, address the benefits of homeschooling.  I love the book Freerange Learning by Laura Weldon as well.  Good luck with your uphill battle!

raproo likes this.

Mom to DS 9/18/09 and DS 3/28/13
Laugh it up, fuzzball biggrinbounce.gif 

wookumus is offline  
#7 of 9 Old 02-26-2013, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
raproo's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 4
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

i hadn't received update emails for this thread and i thought no one else had posted here... thank you guys very much for your help!

raproo is offline  
#8 of 9 Old 03-11-2013, 10:49 PM
SundayCrepes's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 4,759
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)

I did not have a "need" to convince my MIL (a retired Catholic Kindergarten teacher) that homeschooling is a good idea. However, these are her grandkids and she was concerned about them and I wanted her to know we aren't ruining their lives. So I looked for a short, simple, but convincing book about homeschooling and I found it: 

"Homeschooling: A Path Rediscovered for Socialization, Education, and Family"


What I like about that book is it doesn't talk down about schools, it doesn't insult people with differing views, it simply builds up homeschooling with special emphasis on socialization. Though I have to say that as I read it I kept thinking, "Why would you choose anything but homeschooling." After my MIL read the book she went from, "I disagree with homeschooling" to "I wish you well."


My personal favorite homeschooling book (that emphasizes unschooling) is "Legendary Learning: The Famous Homeschoolers' Guide to Self-Directed Excellence"


The author discusses the education of people like Thomas Edison, Teddy Roosevelt, the Wright Brothers, Agatha Christie, etc. etc. All were homeschooled and, essentially, unschooled. It is also a reasonably short book with a powerful message.


I don't know of any videos that discuss the benefits of homeschooling, but if you're looking for a great video on parenting I suggest My husband agreed to watch it and we both were incredibly moved.

raproo likes this.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

SundayCrepes is offline  
#9 of 9 Old 03-21-2013, 10:52 PM
Lillian J's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,050
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

The first two that always come to my mind are Guterson's Family Matters and Gatto's Dumbing Us Down - both books are really powerful persuaders.

An all volunteer state organization of homeschoolers I used to work with has an excellent and broad introduction to homeschooling that has been built over quite a few years and includes good articles:
Homeschooling Help - I know you can find some very helpful stuff there.

And part of that is an extensive page of annotated links to favorite 

Books About Learning and Homeschooling  - scroll down that page to a section titled "Why Homeschool? These books can be particularly helpful for dealing with challenging questions from family and friends." You can click on the titles and go to the Amazon page to Search Inside or Look Inside to see what the books are like and which you'd like to read. 


And here's a wonderful video taken at a big state conference in which hundreds of families are having an incredible time together:
Homeschooling - The Movie

But unschooling doesn't involve a need to keep a child focused or disciplined where learning is concerned, and it doesn't tend to involve much in the way of teaching so much as facilitating learning. You don't need to worry about any of that this early, though.


Meanwhile, you might read some of the articles on preschool learning I've linked to in this page about early learning - there are things there by seasoned homeschoolers, and even by teachers and other educators, that can really give you a different perspective on learning with little ones. And underneath the articles are links to websites that have lots of great ideas. 

Have fun - you have lots of time to get your ducks into a row.  - Lillian


Lillian J is offline  

Homeschooling , Education , Unschooling

Quick Reply
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off