Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, and Reconnecting with the Natural World

Ben Hewitt. Shambhala/Roost (Penguin Random, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-61180-169-9
In invigorating prose, small-scale Vermont farmer Hewitt ($aved) presents his family’s parenting philosophy: more than anything, he and his wife want their two sons to have a “connection to place” and to understand how they fit in the larger world and ecosystem. To that end, Fin and Rye do not attend school, nor do they follow a homeschooling curriculum. Rather, they learn through “unschooling,” a holistic process in which children pursue their passions and interests rather than a prescribed curriculum. The kids trap animals, read books, do chores, and ask lots of questions. But this book is about more than unschooling. There are musings on raising a windmill with a friend’s help, home birth and midwifery, and debt, which no surprise, Hewitt is against. In the final analysis, parenting is Hewitt’s vehicle for exploring a larger hypothesis: the more one sets aside societal pressures to become rich and accomplished, the freer one will be. Hewitt’s meditations are sure to find a cult following among readers who yearn for simplicity. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/07/2014
Release date: 09/09/2014
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