Reviews: Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery: A Journey of Original Seeking
Introduction by Joyce Reed, Associate Dean, Brown University
(Common Courage Press, 2003)
"Every once in a while a writer comes along who really knows what writing is about, who understands how to use words and phrases effectively. A writer who knows how to communicate with the reader in a way that not only informs and entertains, but also blatantly restructures the reader's notions about life and how it works and how best to get along within it. A writer who encourages and empowers the reader to consider life-changing ideas, to step away from the confines of group-think, herd mentalities, and other schoolish notions ingrained from a tender age. John Holt was such a writer. David Albert is another.
"Through his books and articles David Albert explores the concepts behind education, parenting, social interaction - all that which makes us who we are. He engages the casual reader by telling charming stories about himself, his kids, his colleagues, the world to which we all relate. But then slowly, and convincingly, he shifts the focus, moves the perspective around to point out little and sometimes disturbing idiosyncrasies. He makes subtle connections most people would miss, but which, when pointed out, help to illustrate why things work the way they do, and what we can do about changing those things which need changing.
"David Albert's writing is dangerously effective: Don't sit down with Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery expecting mere entertainment or elucidation. Instead, one should be prepared to have familiar and comfortable views and assumptions challenged, poked, and dissected, and to have a few sacred cows neatly skewered. I can practically see him grinning wickedly as he writes, and I end up reading his writings with a satisfied smile, ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work. What more could one ask of an author?"-- Helen Hegener, Editor and Publisher, Home Education Magazine"It is always a pleasure to read David Albert's essays. Albert's wit, enthusiasm, and insight challenge and enlighten homeschooling parents; they also help people considering homeschooling to discover the richness of living and learning that exist outside the confines of conventional classrooms."-- Patrick Farenga, Author, Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling, President, Holt Associates"Thank you for publishing this beautiful book! As always, I'm filled with awe and gratitude by David's unique and thought-provoking insights on such vitally important, but often overlooked, issues that are at the very heart of homeschooling and parenting. I hope Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery becomes standard reading for anyone involved with homeschooling."-- Lillian Jones, Editor, www.BestHomeschooling.org, former Book Review Editor, Home Education Magazine"One would think that David Albert's first book about homeschooling, And the Skylark Sings with Me: Adventures in Homeschooling and Community-based Education, could hardly be improved upon, but the deep insights and delightful prose in his new book, Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery, are, if possible, even better. Albert understands the profound privilege and responsibility that homeschooling parents embrace. His thoughts on homeschooling and family are simultaneously pragmatic and philosophical as he encourages us all to seek and to celebrate the magical uniqueness of every child. Homeschooling parents everywhere will embrace Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery for its permission to enjoy homeschooling, to stop apologizing for spending pleasurable time with their children, and to trust the curriculum of love as a compass for life's voyage."-- Lisa Rivero, Author, Creative Homeschooling for Gifted Children: A Resource Guide
"A master wordsmith, David Albert stands unique among writers of homeschool lore. His insights offer us a new paradigm and an energetic approach to helping shape and direct the unique and potential-filled children who have come into our care. Don't expect the usual fare from this book: you won't find it. Building on his prior success with And the Skylark Sings with Me: Adventures in Homeschooling and Community-Based Education, David skillfully weaves wit and wisdom with sound and practical advice to produce a masterpiece of ideas in Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery. Reading this book is like climbing a mountain on a clear day: one's reaction upon seeing the majestic vista is of awe and wonder. In this case, David has done the climbing for us, and has thoughtfully invited us along to share the view. His new book is as much an invitation to enjoy the journey of homeschooling as it is a fascinating and freedom-encouraging field guide to creativity and success in parenting. Even teens will enjoy this book. My daughter's evaluation after reading it was that "David Albert knows how to appreciate children for who they are and what they can become."
"Applying the ideas in Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery challenges and encourages us to adopt a certain fearlessness in our educational adventures. I heartily recommend this book to veteran and novice homeschoolers alike -- and that they share it with their children. David cogently reminds us that "learning must ultimately begin from within rather than from without" -- a comforting concept to virtually all parents, and especially so to those who strive so hard to nurture and educate, and to exemplify peace, optimal development, risk-taking, creativity, and faith to their children. Thanks, David--you've done it again, and my hat's off to you."-- Marjorie Meyer, Founder, School of Abraham,
a Homeschooling Resource for Latter-Day Saints, www.schoolofabraham.com"In Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery, David Albert reaches out to every reader as if he is there with you enjoying a cup of tea or coffee, sharing delightfully with you about learning. Not a methodology, not a structure to incorporate, but a refreshing way of conceiving of things that liberates you to think freely about how you learn WITH your children. This book will help each of us capture that marvelous excitement for learning that we can pass on to children. Or better yet, help us discover that we as adults can capture that marvelous excitement for learning from our kids! This is a must-read book for new homeschoolers and old homeschoolers like myself."-- Sherry Stacy, Olympia Christian Homeschool Support Group
"A unique, wise, witty, literate, useful, philosophical, and thought-provoking journey for homeschooling parents and thoughtful educators. There isn't a comparable work available for those seeking to enrich and expand their homeschooling horizons into a life-altering experience for themselves and their children. Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self Discovery carries the ideas brought forth by John Holt and John Taylor Gatto to another level. It is a wonderful combination of the practical - with ideas you can use - and an example of how to incorporate the aesthetics of family learning into the realm of daily living, with the world as your meeting house.
"David asks the most magnificent questions that will provoke you into turning ideas on their heads - but he doesn't always give you the answers. Instead, you are invited and challenged to find your own. He has the unique ability to find the kernel of truth in a quagmire and let it shine for us. Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery will go right to the top of my list of books to recommend. I consider reading this book a major step forward in my own continuing education. Make no mistake - this is a "must have".-- Jean Reed, Brook Farm Books, and Author, The Home School Source Book"David Albert guides you through the narrow straits of conventional education, through some of his favorite ports, and then to open waters, where the winds of free thought will fill your sails and send you on an affirming and refreshing course to a destination of almost unimaginable beauty."-- Shay Seaborne, Writer; VaEclecticHomeschool Discussion List; Virginia Home Education Association
"David Albert has written a vivid, detailed account of his family's adventures in homeschooling, a story bristling with lessons for parents of children of all ages, and, perhaps paradoxically, powerful lessons for teachers and school people as well. Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery is a gentle but persuasive indictment of the deadening effects most American schools have on children's minds and spirits.
"Albert shows us what a curriculum of love might look like, a course of learning and living based on listening, attending, and wondering together at the world we inherit. His approach resists the toxic habit of labeling children, and assumes that every child is an unruly spark of meaning-making energy on a quest for wholeness and competence, and that an engaged parent or teacher must also be on a quest. At an historical moment when "standards" are considered a necessary reform, Albert shows us how to uphold standards of empathy, generosity, compassion, and courage. David Albert's odyssey - so much more than a journey - is essential reading for thoughtful, caring adults who are trying to make a positive difference in children's lives."-- William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education, and Founder,
Center for Youth and Society, University of Illinois at Chicago"In an old-fashioned, unhurried style, David Albert gives us a gem: a provocative, vigorous, and illuminating encounter with the mad logics of the institutional mind - and some of the antidotes to their effects. This book is a pure delight! You must read it. Albert's intense thoughtfulness about every aspect of waking up to full humanity is a treat you should not miss."-- John Taylor Gatto, Author,
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
and The Underground History of American Education