Rhonda Cratty’s self-published Learning at home, (the author opted not to capitalize all words in titles), is chock-full of educational ideas and activities for parents, (and other adults) to do with their children.
In the acknowledgement, we gather that Cratty is or was an educator, though she didn’t include her credentials or experience. Even so, it’s apparent this book was written by a person with a formal education in and practical experience with childhood learning.
The 93-page eBook (126-page paperback) is organized into four chapters for each month. Chapter titles, while descriptive, aren’t particularly imaginative or inviting, as in “Encouraging Critical Thinking with reading and conversations” and “Home Activities to encourage a positive attitude toward mathematics.” Topics often tie into events and holidays, such as Poetry Month (April), Hobby Month (January), Columbus Day and so on. Had I been exposed to the concept of circumference when shopping for pumpkins, I would have a sunnier view of math today, I bet.
The author cautions against using “drill and kill” methods most of us experienced at some point in our educations. “If something is fun, children will turn to it even if it is difficult at first. Think of it like riding a bike.” Cratty’s book helps parents turn that statement from being yet another bromide into reality. With the book as a coach, parents can make adding and subtracting, and following directions (to cite two examples) fun for their children.
The author’s authentic care comes through…“Perfectionism gets in the way,” “Honor your child’s writing,” “Avoid yelling directions from another room.” In fact, being authentic is something Cratty mentions more than once.
This great resource for parents is in dire need of professional editing. (If you’re thinking of self publishing, hire an editor with a track record!) Readers who aren’t distracted by incorrect antecedent/pronoun pairings and fragments posing as sentences will be rewarded with a treasure trove of wise advice, practical tips, useful lists, engaging educational activities, pedagogic facts and even a few recipes.
One wonders why the author didn’t insert illustrations in spaces left unused due to the way the lists are formatted – and there are many lists.
Learning at home is a book that can be used by caring parents more than four times a month. Homeschoolers, teachers, grandparents and other adults of all socio-economic levels, who know that education is a priceless key to future contentment, will want to investigate the book’s offerings.
This resource will likely be passed from generation to generation by parents who cherish memories of their parents taking time to love them, take an interest in them, engage with them and encourage them while Learning at home.
Ken’s War by B.K. Fowler: Army brat Ken finds himself in Japan when his hot-headed dad is deployed to a remote post there. Culture clash is one of the many sucker punches that knocks Ken’s world upside down in this coming-of-age novel for teens and young adults.
“Ken’s War is vibrant with authority … Fowler’s elegantly written novel risks exploring the full range of teenage behavior and emotion.” Nancy Springer, award- winning author of YA books.
Print and e-books at http://www.fireandiceya.com/authors/bkfowler/kenswar.html and other book sellers. Ken’s War is published by Melange Books. ISBN 1612358993
Contact Fowler at https://www.facebook.com/kenswar for review copies, writers’ workshops, presentations to your group and more.