Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Homeschool Liberation League by Lucy Frank

homeschool I didn’t expect too much from this book when I started it, but after reading for a while, I realized there was a lot more to it than I thought there would be.  Katya can’t stand the prospect of starting school again.  Mostly she just can’t face another mind-numbing year.  She spent the summer going to a wilderness camp where she learned all kinds of interesting things about nature –how to forage for edible plants, how to identify alien invasive plant species.  She also doesn’t like the person she becomes when she’s at school –she still cringes when she remembers the essay she wrote about their principal, Mr. Westenburg, and his supposed affair with his secretary, Ms. Pinchbeck, which her friend Danny read over the PA.  “At camp there was no need for me to start trouble.  At camp I didn’t worry if I was good enough or too good, not perfect enough or too perfect for anyone to like me.” Katya is so freaked out on the first day of school that she runs away –from school, that is.  She puts together a presentation to convince her parents to homeschool her.  They are completely against the idea, until they go with her to the principal’s office and realize that they don’t like his attitude very much.  Against their better judgment, they decide to give it a try.  There are some interesting side stories and characters, like old Mr. Horton who comes in to Katya’s mother’s salon for pedicures because he’s diabetic and needs her to check his feet for sores.  It turns out that he is an amateur naturalist and he helps Katya rescue a beaver she finds trapped under a log.  There’s even a romantic interest –Milo, a violin prodigy she hears playing in a field near her house one day, who turns out to be homeschooled, too.  Review by Stacy Church

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