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Linda Dobson

Linda Dobson and family began their homeschooling journey in 1985. They were having so much fun together that she wanted to share news of this educational approach with as many other families as possible. She co-founded a local homeschooling support group that now offers support and learning activities to a growing membership. She helped found and for the first two years served as coordinator of the New York (State) Home Educators’ Network. Upon creation of the National Home Education Network (NHEN) in 1999 she served as its first public relations advisor as a media contact providing reporters, journalists, and researchers with background information and interviews. She was also’s early years’ advisor.

Linda’s articles have appeared in dozens of magazines, including Good Housekeeping, but her favorite stint was as Home Education Magazine news reporter and analyst for almost a decade. She still regularly contributes a commentary column, “Notes from the Road Less Traveled,” and is acting columns editor. She has authored eight books, and contributed essays and forewords to many more. She has enjoyed diversity in writing, from a children’s column for an Atlanta-based alternative newspaper to mail order copy, as well as consulting and market studies for companies such as Barnes& and Grolier’s. Linda is experienced with the media having provided scores of interviews for radio talk shows, feature stories, including German Public Radio, and publications including The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, Reader’s Digest, Better Homes & Gardens, and “Live Online” for the Washington Post.

As she became home education’s most prolific author and vocal spokesperson, Linda emerged as a nationally respected conference keynote speaker. She has traveled the country, staying in touch with parental concerns and educational approaches across the U.S. and Canada. Formerly a short-term academic tutor for children, she also counseled  parents of traditionally schooled children, as she believes that parental involvement is essential to educational success and can occur no matter where a child learns. She was also an online course instructor for Barnes & Noble University.

The Art of Education: Reclaiming Your Family, Community and Self examines where the government school “system” has led us as human beings, and shows how your family can exchange conformity and dependency for personal fulfillment through the natural union of learning and living. A homeschooling mother’s impassioned analysis of schooling with many different solutions to help parents personalize their children’s education.

My review of The Art of Eduction, 15th Anniversary Edition
from Issue 172 of the Parental Intelligence Newsletter, June 2010

Having become familiar with home education (homeschooling) only since the advent of the Internet and all the new and obvious opportunities for learning that the “digital revolution” in general has gifted to us, I would be the first to admit that the decision to remove my son from school was far easier to make in 2002 than it would have been when Linda Dobson’s The Art of Education: Reclaiming Your Family, Community, and Self was first published in 1995 (coincidentally the year my son was born).

So I have to say from the outset that I’m already an admirer of the author as a “pioneer” of the homeschooling movement.

In The Art of Education, Linda has a fascinating story to share from a position of great knowledge, understanding, and personal experience and, incidentally, I’m glad she chose not to rewrite this book to try to accommodate the “digital revolution” because it doesn’t need that to get its message across: all the essential truths are just as true.

As an Australian, I found the detailed history of America’s public school system particularly absorbing and – dare I say it? – highly educational. The author’s comparison of the practices of schooling with what we know about how children naturally educate themselves and her skillful prising apart of the two are illuminating. How many parents have I encountered who think “school” and “education” are two words for the same thing? They’re not and never have been, and Linda Dobson explains, quite brilliantly, why that’s so.

It’s her contention that the institution we call “school” has always by its very nature subverted the true meaning of education and is continuing to sell children and parents alike a false bill of goods. I believe her.

But her book is not a critique in itself of a method of educating children that Win Wenger, acknowledged modern day genius and author of the best selling book, The Einstein Factor, says “has squandered the gifts and potentialities of generations of human beings.” It’s a call to awaken to the inadequacies of that system (and to its increasing irrelevance in a time when all human knowledge can be readily accessed by any self-motivated individual); to break out of the Stockholm Syndrome, as some people have called it; to explore the wisdom of the art of education based on our individual families’ values and priorities.

To reclaim our family, our community and our self. To restore the primacy of the parent in the raising of our children through family-centred learning.

Why we should do so is all here; how we can do so is all here.

In recommending this book to you, I can do no better than to echo Linda Dobson herself: “The art of education as it may be expressed through homeschooling has never been more important or more necessary than it is today. Reading this book could improve your family’s lifestyle forever, and providing your child a real education instead of schooling could enrich his life forever, too.”

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