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Books about Education

Educating Children at Home

Alan Thomas - 2000

Alan Thomas wanted to research individualized teaching and the learning which takes place through social conversation with an adult. The only place to do this was in home educated families because it simply does not happen in schools. The resulting research, with 100 families first in Australia and then Britain, should convince any parent considering HE that it's not a mad idea and reassure those already doing it that they are in fact providing an education even if it sometimes seems like there's nothing happening and their child can't possibly be learning. Quotes from the various families cover just about any situation you can think of and you're almost certain to find something you can relate to. Buy or borrow this book if you're having a bit of a wobble and want some professional support. - firebird

Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

John Taylor Gatto - 2nd Rev Edition 2002

Don't be put off by Gatto being American and this book being about the US school system because as far as I can see it all applies equally here. I'd love someone to do the same kind of in depth research into the history of the British system because I bet they'd find the same unpleasant truths. Gatto argues convincingly that the true purpose of the modern school system is not to help children to achieve their potential but rather to train them to be good little workers and good little consumers who never question authority and never have an original thought. You can get a taste of his arguments here. - firebird

Other Factual Books

Minimus Pupil's Book: Starting out in Latin

Barbara Bell (Author), Helen Forte (Illustrator) - 1999

The Minimus series is based on real historical characters who lived at the Roman fort of Vindolanda near Hadrian's Wall.

"I think it's a funny book and I like it and I don't know what to say. It's a book about a mouse called Minimus. I did learn a lot of Latin from it. Some of the main characters were called Flavius, Minimus and Lepidina" - Owen

Minimus Secundus Pupil's Book: Moving on in Latin

Barbara Bell (Author), Helen Forte (Illustrator) - 2004

The second, and sadly to date last Minimus book. There is a web site to go with the books with lots of free activities and information and even a Minimus for Homeschoolers page.

Life in Cold Blood

Sir David Attenborough - 2007

I got this book to go with the TV series on DVD as part of our current amphibians project. Lots of fascinating stuff that they didn't have time for in the TV Series. Like the axolotl which in the wild retains the gills from it's larval form and stays aquatic because it's thyroid gland doesn't develop properly. If you keep one in a tank and add a little thyroxine it loses its external gills, climbs out of the water and assumes a terrestrial life. How cool is that? The book is full of gorgeous colour photos of course including a close up of maybe the cutest reptile in the world, the pygmy chameleon. - firebird

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