Are you ready to have your educational paradigm shattered, your preconceived ideas regarding what learning is and isn't shot to smithereens? If not, you might want to avoid Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery, because this one is guaranteed to force every reader to think.
If, on the other hand, your heartfelt desire is to help your children become who they are supposed to be, rather than who tradition says they must be. If you are in search of a balanced understanding of what makes for an education, this is a book you'll want to sit down with, spend time reading, and probably mull over for hours and days on end. The publisher's catchline is "Books for Informed Dissent" and this book in particular does everything it can to inform you and give you reason not to take the education-as-usual path.
Do I agree with everything the author has to say in these pages? No. If I were likely to agree with every single thing any author said I'd probably not be an eclectic homeschooler. As is true with everything else I read, I take what works for me, what feels right, and apply it to my life; the rest I leave behind. There is so much here that even if you decided you could not agree with most of what the author has to say you would still have gained from listening to his thoughts.
But I'm putting the cart before the horse, so to speak - better to get on with telling about the book itself. One of the first things you'll encounter here is a must-read introduction. It is appropriately entitled "Warning: This Book Could Change Your Life" and is by Joyce Reed, who at the time of its writing was an Associate Dean at Brown University. Who she is might be impressive, but what she has to say is even more impressive. After reading the introduction I felt that it alone was worth my having picked up the book.
After this introduction, and a brief note from the author, comes essay after essay. You may be a little put off by the first essay, "Original Seeking and the Voyage of Self-Discovery", because it does make for stiff reading at times, but I advise you to read it anyway so that you will understand the author's paradigm - where he's "coming from". The rest of the essays are meaty, but edible, if that makes sense. You'll want to spend time ruminating on each, but won't choke on technical jargon or educationese. The topics covered run the gamut; whatever your concern, he's bound to address it at some point.
One of the really nice things about the structure of this book is that the essays are written as independent entities. There's no reason to read from cover to cover if you don't want to. Instead, you may feel free to wander at will through essays with titles like "Hebetudinous", "Dodge Ball", "Geese", "ADTD (No, It's Not a Typo)" and, surprise surprise, "The Success of Public Education". Half of the fun, when encountering a new message, is trying to decide ahead of time what the topic might be.
For those who have read this whole review, wondering. The answer is yes, the author is an unschooler. As I said in the beginning, if your mind is firmly set in the mold that insists that unschooling can't be right and you have no desire to consider thinking differently, steer clear of this one. If, however, you are willing to explore, to find out what it is about unschooling that appeals to so many, then reach out your hand and take it. It will be a move you won't regret.