It’s OK to Go Up the Slide: Renegade Rules for Raising Confident and Creative Kids

Heather Shumaker. Tarcher, $15.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-399-17200-7
Journalist Shumaker takes up where she left off with It’s OK Not to Share, this time addressing “tricky topics” relating to school-age kids. Shumaker advocates taking a close look at the expectations attached to such practices as kindergarten (it’s not mandatory under U.S. law), recess (it should never be used as punishment), and homework, urging parents to bend (and possibly break) the rules according to what works best for their particular family. Shumaker, for instance, has banned homework for her two elementary-aged sons, based on research showing it doesn’t benefit children. She also weighs in on parents “signing off” on school papers, asserting that this practice degrades trust and places parents in the role of cop. Should teachers prove resistant to her suggestions, she suggests modeling “respectful disagreement” and provides a collection of sample letters and scripts parents can use. Interspersing her own experiences with advice from experts, Shumaker also presents a convincing case for letting kids take reasonable risks in order to build confidence and independence. Though “going up the slide” (i.e., bucking the system) may be more difficult in some school districts than others, Shumaker does a thorough job of arming parents with the facts they’ll need to begin their ascent. Agent: Joëlle Delbourgo, Joëlle Delbourgo Associates. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/21/2015
Release date: 03/08/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
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