Quinn Cummings, former child star (i.e., The Goodbye Girl, Family) is an author and a mother. Her cleverly-written, humorous, meaningful and must-read book, The Year of Learning Dangerously, is a memoir of her adventures at trying to find the perfect educational solution for her daughter Alice.
Like millions of American parents (and the number is continually growing), Quinn is concerned about Alice’s school experience because she begins to see how Alice is struggling with mathematics. Quinn decides to get to the root of the problem (no pun intended) and realizes that there are reasons why Alice, and other children, struggle over a variety of subjects in the institutional-school setting. It is at this point that Quinn seriously begins to consider homeschooling.
Quinn, however, is not sure where to start and therefore goes through a growing and adjustment period, as does Alice, while seeking options. She learns of the history of homeschooling as well as the various styles through books, the internet, and other like-minded individuals. But she goes further by actually travelling, sometimes to great distances, to attend conferences and meet people. Quinn illustrates, with amusing clarity, dry wit, and interesting examples, what she witnesses at these conferences. She writes of the people involved and offers solid assessments of the pros and cons of each conference. At day’s end, Quinn opts to not really bond with any particular group but instead takes away snippets of useful information from each one. Quinn will make the choice of how to continue Alice’s educational experience, and this, ultimately, is the beauty of having the choice.
As all parents know, each child is unique with their own special gifts. Quinn capitalizes on this by offering her research and opinions based on her, and Alice’s, year of learning dangerously. Through this book, parents will realize that they should never just settle on one homeschooling/alternative educational style without learning and researching all possibilities.
Parents who read this book will save themselves much time and indecision by experiencing Quinn’s adventures and misadventures. More than anything, this wonderfully-written book gives parents some great ideas on what to expect and what can be found in the world of homeschooling, but more importantly, to not be apprehensive about their decision to seek alternative education for their children, and to always, always, keep a sense of humor.
The Year of Learning Dangerously, written by Quinn Cummings, was published in 2012 by the Penquin Group, New York.