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Education Reporter

Book of the Month

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The Homeschooling Revolution, Isabel Lyman, Ph.D., Bench Press International, 2000, 126 pps., $11.95

In The Homeschooling Revolution, longtime homeschooling advocate Isabel Lyman gives an easy-to-read overview of the movement. She examines what she calls the "stark differences between homeschooling and public schooling" and characterizes homeschooling as a "grassroots movement by maverick parent-educators who are teaching their children how to read and write at kit-chen tables." She credits these parents with making what was considered a countercultural idea acceptable and even celebrated. "Dedicated parents have achieved their goals without much applause and without a dime of government funding," she writes.

Lyman describes public education as a "duress-based system" - a "well-organized monopoly funded by confiscatory taxes." She complains that children attending public schools have little or no control over their time or social contacts, and that they "must submit to a draconian set of standards: state-mandated courses, attendance requirements, and groupings by age." They are unable to escape ideological indoctrination, lazy or poorly trained teachers, or rude or violent classmates.

Lyman cites research that helped popularize the modern homeschooling movement, primarily that of Dr. Raymond Moore and the late John Holt in the 1960s and 70s. "Holt came to view schools as places that produce obedient but dull citizens," she writes.

She also points out that home-schooling has been treated in a surprisingly positive manner in the media, helped no doubt by a handful of celebrity homeschoolers including the pop music group, Hanson, and the former Facts of Life TV star, Lisa Whelchel.

Of course, The Homeschooling Revolution discusses the all-important issue of academics. Lyman demonstrates that, regardless of race or family income, homeschooled children consistently score higher on standardized tests than their public school counterparts.

"The bottom line," she writes, "is this: If children are enrolled in a school (be it public or private), someone besides the people who know them best and love them most are assuming the responsibility for their academic experiences."

The Homeschooling Revolution, 88 Harkness Road, Pelham, MA 01002, 413-253-1277. 
Website: www.homeschoolingrevolution.com, Email: homeschoolrev@aol.com

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