Wednesday, October 15, 2003

What Your First Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good First Grade Education (The Core Knowledge Series) by E. D. Hirsch (Editor)

The purpose behind this series is commendable. It's to give children the educational background necessary to get along in the world.

My children LOVE it when I read stories to them out of these books.

I also find the history, science, and math sections to be good guidelines for what my children should be learning. It's not a complete curriculum, but it's a good start.

Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves but Can't Read, Write, or Add by Charles J. Sykes

This book is one of the best things I have ever read as a parent. It explains WHY the educational systems we have today are failing, and WHAT parents can do about it.

I read this book through several times, and it is just so packed full of information! I come from a family of public school teachers, and I am a homeschooler, partly because of what I have heard from the p.s. teachers in my family. There are problems inherent in the public school systems, and in this book, many of them are delineated.

Sykes briefly touches on the impact of psychological and psychiatric programs in the schools, but I think he fails to realize that they are actually BEHIND many of the other problems. This is why I give this book 4 stars instead of 5.

Combined with The Leipzig Connection, I think this book could make a huge difference for many children -- if only their parents and educators would read them.