I finished Sherlock Holmes last night and I started reading Dumbing Us Down (getting a head start on my reading for March.)
This book is incredible. I know I use that word a lot, but... If you haven't heard of it yet, if you live on Mars or something (just kidding), this book was written by retired school teacher, John Taylor Gatto, and it is a commentary on what is wrong with the formal school system.
Many homeschooling and unschooling families celebrate this book. And, I must admit that I will buy a copy (this one I am borrowing from a homeschooling friend of mine) and Gatto's words will be read and reread and quoted extensively by this homeschool family, too.
For instance, when another homeschooling friend of mine (on Facebook) found out I was reading it, she commented on my wall and told me when she reads anything Gatto writes, she feels like he is "directly talking to her soul..." To that, I agreed heartily and here's what I said to her. It sums up how I feel about this book so far,
"I felt that way while reading it, too! like Gatto is putting into words what has been in my heart for as long as I can remember. I hated school, deeply, but I also felt terrible about this because everyone told me I was supposed to be good at it. I was supposed to love it. So I tried to be a 'good student.' And, I generally was a good student, usually stayed on the honor roll, etc. but felt like I was was dying inside everyday. Going to school did not equal living for me. I did not even equal learning. It was torture. It was intellectual death. Those are strong words, but it is true... for me."
If you want to get inside a homeschoolers head and find out why we would even consider doing something so counter cultural, you could read this book. Obviously, I didn't read this book before I made the decision to homeschool... but it expresses some of the ideas I had simmering when I decided to homeschool even before I had kids. You'll come away from this book with better understanding of why more and more people are doing this homeschool thing and you may even be so moved you will decide to homeschool your kids, too.
Think 1984... only it's not fiction.
Yep. It's that freaky.
The book is that powerful.