Faux Book Review

Each month, as part of my 101 in 1001 list, I make the effort to re-read a book I own that I have already read. I originally added this requirement because it was too easy for me to keep books "just in case" I needed to refer to them, or wanted to re-read them, and then never do so. This effort to be conscious of the books I already own has been helpful over the years (I originally did it for 12 months during my first 101 in 1001 list).

This month, I have been re-reading Hold On to Your Kids (Neufeld & Mate). It's oft-recommended, and I've enjoyed it each time I read it. It's a sign of a good book, I feel, when the reader can glean something new from the book each time it's read. Hold On to Your Kids passes that test, for me.

I should also add that while the authors state that homeschooling is not the answer for everyone, and have an attitude of "there's no help for sending your children to school for hours a day, you just have to do it in today's world," it's also a fantastic endorsement of some of the less tangible benefits of homeschooling. Read between the lines. :)

One chapter discusses how to avoid peer attachment, and two sections of that chapter particularly stood out to me upon re-reading.
• "Peers are not the answer to 'eccentricity.'"
• "Peers are no substitutes for siblings."

With regard to the first point, the authors discuss the obsessions in American society with "being 'normal' and fitting in," and how "individuality and eccentricity are out of favor." They go on to discuss the value of adult attachment for children to unfold into their own unique selves, and how peers are quick to discourage individuality. When Rachel on Glee is described as "looking like a homeschooler," I think homeschooling parents and their children should see an inherent compliment. Rachel's self-assured enough to dress as she pleases. The "strangeness" that is attributed to homeschoolers may in fact, according to Gabor and Mate, be an outgrowth of properly functioning adult attachments! That's something to celebrate.

The portion about peers being no substitute for siblings stood out for many reasons. I am an only child. The sibling-substitutes recommended by the authors are cousins; my only cousin is ten years old. On a personal level, I find it intriguing. I never felt the lack of siblings, per se, and I would say I was less peer-oriented than many of my cohort. I will also admit that I find it gratifying when my children "herd" together, lost in their sibling relationships. I didn't feel that sibling relationships presented the same issues as peer attachment, and it's encouraging to read the authors' explication of how sibling attachments are far more healthy and less likely to become primary attachments that supercede the parental/adult attachments.

This is one of those books that's helpful for me to re-read every two years or so. It's a helpful reminder of why we do what we do around these parts.


Daisy said...

Sounds great! I'm putting it on my to-read list. My very long to-read list.

Smrt Mama said...

Well, yes and no, re: "looking like a homeschooler"

Some homeschoolers dress like that because they are confident with who they are and comfortable with their own looks. Other dress like that because their parents haven't bothered to explain that society does make judgments based on appearance. Making an empowered choice to dress or act in defiance of social constructs is admirable. Acting/dressing in opposition to the "norm" because you don't understand what the norm is or what it means to defy it isn't an empowering situation, though.

Kash said...

If a high school age student in any educational situation can't figure it out, though, welllll

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