The Year of Learning Dangerously

The Year of Learning Dangerously documents Cummings’ first year of homeschooling her daughter, who was not being serviced properly by the schools in their area. Alice is a highly gifted math-hater and had convinced a series of teachers that she was incapable of learning long division, because she didn’t want to do it. Homeschooling was the solution of last resort, and to a certain extent, the family was pretty much winging it.

Trying to figure out the whys and hows behind homeschooling (an better justify her guilty conscience that her daughter was missing out), the author investigates different homeschooling methodologies, from unschooling to government-sponsored homeschooling to crazy fundamentalist cult homeschooling. She even chaperones a homeschooling prom in Indiana. The parts when she goes undercover are pretty funny, and in the process you get a feel for just how disparate the various groups labeled “homeschooling” actually are.

If you’ve ever had an interesting in homeschooling as an institution, this is a very accessible and humorous treatment of the subject, plus there is a short bibliography at the back for those looking for further reading.