Book Review: The Brave Learner

Another mom at coop was trying to get a group together to read The Brave Learner by Julie Bogart and discuss it. Why not?

Basic Summary (Courtesy of Amazon):

Parents who are deeply invested in their children’s education can be hard on themselves and their kids. When exhausted parents are living the day-to-day grind, it can seem impossible to muster enough energy to make learning fun or interesting. How do parents nurture a love of learning amid childhood chaos, parental self-doubt, the flu, and state academic standards?

In this book, Julie Bogart distills decades of experience–homeschooling her five now grown children, developing curricula, and training homeschooling families around the world–to show parents how to make education an exciting, even enchanting, experience for their kids, whether they’re in elementary or high school.

Enchantment is about ease, not striving. Bogart shows parents how to make room for surprise, mystery, risk, and adventure in their family’s routine, so they can create an environment that naturally moves learning forward. If a child wants to pick up a new hobby or explore a subject area that the parent knows little about, it’s easy to simply say “no” to end the discussion and the parental discomfort, while dousing their child’s curious spark. Bogart gently invites parents to model brave learning for their kids so they, too, can approach life with curiosity, joy, and the courage to take learning risks.

 

My thoughts:

Yeah. This was a good read. Lots of magical pixie dust. Lots of one size fits all answers.

Lots of things I have already tried with my child and had them not work. Which according to Julie means I didn’t do it right. If I tried her methods and they didn’t have the results she described then my tone was wrong, or my facial expression, or the way I presented it was wrong, or secretly I wanted it to not work and my child picked up on that.

That’s a lot of pressure to put on one human. Seems it might be more kind to admit that not every solution works for every child. If you are setting yourself up as the know all and you have to insist the other person is wrong when your solution doesn’t work, then I have to wonder just how much you really know. And are you really invested in helping parents or shaming them?

Wow, I had no idea all that was in the back of my mind when I sat down to review this book. I started out thinking I liked the book in general but clearly her approach of “dictates from on high” really rubbed me the wrong way.

Which brings me to the conclusion I have now come to after 5 years of homeschooling MY child. Every child is different. In fact, they are different on different days of the week, seasons of the year, and times of their life. No packaged approach will ever fit. I think I might just be done reading how wonderfully someone else’s approach to home schooling their children went because in the end, they didn’t home school my child.