Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling by Quinn Cummings

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

Think homeschooling is only for a handful of eccentrics on either end of the political spectrum? Think again. Today in America, two million primary- and secondary-school students are homeschooled. Growing at a rate of 10 percent annually, homeschooling represents the most dramatic change in American education since the invention of the mimeograph—and the story has only just begun.
In The Year of Learning Dangerously, popular blogger, author, and former child actor Quinn Cummings recounts her family’s decision to wade into the unfamiliar waters of homeschooling—despite a chronic lack of discipline, some major gaps in academic knowledge, and a serious case of math aversion. (That description refers to Quinn.)
Trying out the latest trends, attending key conferences (incognito, of course), and recounting the highlights and lowlights along the way, Quinn takes her daughter’s education into her own hands, for better and for worse. Part memoir, part social commentary, and part how-not-to guide, The Year of Learning Dangerously will make you laugh and make you think. And it may or may not have a quiz at the end. OK, there isn’t a quiz. Probably.

My thoughts:
When my oldest two children were younger I went through a time when I wanted to homeschool.  I loved the idea of it and of being able to keep them with me.  Planning field trips and learning at their pace, being able to use their interests to make learning personal and meaningful, but my husband wasn't in favor of the idea and then we had two more children and now I think it would be really hard to be working with all four of them on my own for all their educational needs.  One of the things that really struck me when I started this is how different it must be to just have one child.

Cummings does a great job of making her book entertaining while relating her year homeschooling her daughter and the research she did into the different groups who are homeschooling in America.  The history of homeschooling and even how it is handled in different countries.  I am not sure I would have wanted to disguise myself in order to attend conferences for fundamentalist groups of homeschoolers, but she made it fun and entertaining while still managing to teach something along the way.  If all history books and lessons could be done in such an entertaining fashion I think students of all ages would learn more!

I found myself loving this book.  I picked it up off the shelf at the library when the title jumped out at me.  Sometimes I find the best books that way.  I may or may not have seen a review of it in a magazine, but it just looked like a book I wanted to read.  I found it interesting how she dealt with teaching subjects that she herself wasn't the best at (which had been one of my concerns when I was thinking about homeschooling myself six years ago).  It will be interesting to see if she writes any more books on this subject.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399537608
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/7/2012
  • Pages: 240

Meet the Author

Quinn Cummings is an Oscar-nominated actress (The Goodbye Girl, Family), and the critically acclaimed author of the memoir Notes from the Underwire. She writes the popular blog The QC Report, and her work has appeared in Good Housekeeping, Los Angeles Magazine, and Newsweek. She lives in Los Angeles with her partner and daughter.


  1. thanks jill, i will have to pick this one up! :)


  2. This sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for your thoughts and the review. Hope you have a wonderful holiday week! :O)


    P.S.-I have 4 giveaways going on at my site this week if you're interested in stopping over.