Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Book Reviews, Part 2

Terri Camp, like many homeschoolers, has taken Yeats' "Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire" as her favourite educational quote, and her book Ignite the Fire expands on that idea. This is the book I mentioned before with the puzzling cover: a Norman Rockwell/Ideals-type picture of a boy forking up pancakes, obviously ready to leave for school (his coat and his books are nearby), and cramming from a vintage-looking History of America. Is the point that the book is so fascinating that he can't put it down? Or is it that homeschoolers can offer their children something more than a hurried cramming of history dates followed by a cold walk or ride to school?

Terri has collected enough positive reviews of this book that to criticize it seems pointless; obviously a lot of people like it! My only real problem with it is that, like many of the books I've seen lately, it might have used a bit tighter editing. Not that it's long--only about a hundred pages. But I got the feeling that a lot of it had been collected along the way--that some of it had been previously written as separate articles. Not that writing a book that way is a new idea, or that it can't work--in fact, Charlotte Mason's books were largely written as separate talks and articles, and Karen Andreola's CM Companion also contains previously published chapters. It's just that these books sometimes feel a bit choppy, a bit repetitive, even a bit hard to follow. So I am going to be forward enough to say that with a bit more editing, it might have been even more useful.

Most useful for: new homeschoolers, and those interested in the homeschool approach that emphasizes an individualized, God-directed education for each child.

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