A Funny Kind of Education by Ros Mountney – Book Review

Having given ourselves a long Christmas break I had time to reflect and I realised that so much about Sam’s education has been about fitting him into what suited Jack best.  Not that Jack was demanding or difficult particularly (although he has his moments) just because he was the oldest and over time we had developed routines that suited him and as Sam got older he simply adapted and fitted in.  Although being fair to Sam he is a lot more laid back than Jack so it may well have been different if they were the other way around.

Anyway it suddenly struck me that despite 6 years plus of home educating under my belt, actually I am starting afresh.  Jack and Sam are very different people and I have got a chance to totally change the way we do things.  I never really saw myself as a ‘structured home educator’ to be honest when we were starting out all those are years ago, but by the time Jack went to school he had textbooks for everything, but that was that suited him.

Anyway now is a chance for us to reassess and find a new path, one that Sam can lead the way on.  With this in mind I thought it was a good time for me to examine again my ideas and with Christmas vouchers I filled the bookcase and Kindle with books on educational theory.  It has been a long time since I have read anything on the topic, well beside an aborted attempt at the Well-Trained Mind and a really bad anecdotal book by a homeschooled American girl.

Funny Kind of EducationWith a lot of brain draining stuff going on work wise I decided to start light. ‘A Funny Kind of Education’ is not a book about the philosophy of home education or any sort of how to guide,  instead it’s a tale of one family’s experience.

I read many home education articles by Ros Mountney when I was first starting out and I’ve followed her blog on and off for a number of years.  I so much want to say I love this book as Ros comes across as a lovely person, but the truth is I didn’t.  Not sure why, maybe the start and her explanation of why they started and those early days just felt like the same conversation I have had numerous times of the years. Also if I’m honest it may be jealousy, her experience of home educating seems to be how I imagined it working, while in many ways although I enjoy it ours never quite lived up to my expectations, I seem to lack the natural resources, the group resources and the naturally curious children that she had.

Anyway, I think much of that was my personal issues. I like Ros’s writing and I found myself getting into her story as I worked my way through and shed a tear or two halfway through.  I would definitely recommend it to new home educators, particularly any deregistering, as reassurance that others can come through it.  And for non-home educators to learn a bit more about the why and how, not to convert just to encourage understanding.

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