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Book Review – Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything

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Book Review – Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything

By Beth Balmanno

How homeschooling changes everything…

A child’s desire to learn is a light that shines from some inner part of his or her being. As adults, we are guardians of that light.” – Laura Grace Weldon

Children have a special gift. It isn’t found wrapped in shiny paper or tucked under a holiday tree. It isn’t something found on the shelves of the nearest big box store or in an online shopping cart, waiting to be purchased. Children – all children – have the gift of curiosity: of wanting to learn, to seek out information, to experiment and grow and gather knowledge. Laura Grace Weldon’s book, Free Range Learning, explores this universal truth. Through impeccable research and reassuring anecdotes from parents across the globe, Weldon presents a convincing case to trust our children and, just as importantly, to embrace and support a more relaxed learning environment for them.

Just as children come in all different shapes and sizes, so too do their gifts and talents. This is an essential piece in the education puzzle, a piece FreeRangeLearning Homeschoolingthat is so often missing in an institutional school environment. In school, all children are taught the same subjects at the same time, regardless of a child’s readiness or interest in those particular areas. Gifts and talents are boxed up and stowed away in favor of a rigid academic structure that adhere to an arbitrary educational scope and sequence, leaving little room for children to journey to their full potential. Weldon writes, “A learning situation that nurtures each child’s unique abilities must leave ample space for these gifts to unfold. This takes time and learning. The alternative [formal education] deprives not only the child, it also deprives the world of what that child might become (pg. 20).”

How Homeschooling Changes Everything

Through the pages of this book, Weldon encourages parents to embrace the concept of “free range learning.” Chapters in Part 1 of the book address specific needs and concerns, from nurturing children as learners to supporting play time to the importance of connecting with others. Each chapter is filled with personal stories from homeschoolers around the world, as well as Weldon’s own gentle guidance and advice. Part Two delves deep into the nuts and bolts of subject-specific homeschooling – free-range style, of course. There are chapters devoted to Science & Nature, History & Current Events and other traditional subjects, each overflowing with creative ways to incorporate these subjects into everyday life. In addition, chapters relating to Travel Homeschooling and Volunteerism provide unique ideas and opportunities for children and families to explore on their path to discovering the potential of their inherent gifts and talents.

Homeschooling Or Not

Children are indeed born with a gift. As a parent, treat yourself to the gift of Laura Grace Weldon’s Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything. Nestled in the pages of this book is the most precious gift a parent – homeschooling or not – can give to their children this holiday season: trusting them to learn.

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