cover image Rethinking School: How to Take Charge of Your Child’s Education

Rethinking School: How to Take Charge of Your Child’s Education

Susan Wise Bauer. Norton, $25.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-393-28596-3

Homeschooling advocate Bauer (The Well-Educated Mind) aims to help parents whose children fit imperfectly into what she deems the “artificial” one-size-fits-all American school system in this highly opinionated but eminently practical book. Bauer makes a passionate case for why the K–12 system desperately needs to be rethought, and for why our criteria for judging educational success must change. These arguments serve as springboards for Bauer to discuss her suggestions of how parents should make the educational system work for them. Bauer describes guiding families to use the options available to their kids within the educational system, such as pursuing single-subject acceleration, opting out of stressful processes such as state testing, and working with teachers to find alternative arrangements for kids during class time, such as independent study. She also details hybrid home-school approaches such as after-school programs, independent study during class time, and gap years. Finally, Bauer pushes parents toward “having the courage to step out” with a homeschooling quick guide, and with discussions of—though not unqualified support for—even more radical approaches such as apprenticeships and “unschooling.” Bauer’s guide to the various options available to struggling kids, inside and outside the educational system, will be both comforting and instructive to their parents. (Jan.)