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Have you ever noticed how many of the kids in classic books were "homeschooled"?


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Maybe not exactly the way we think of it, but I'm reading "Ballet Shoes" right now - a favorite from when I was a kid, and the three girls in it are being homeschooled. Two "lady doctors" - the doctorate kind, not MDs - who board at their house have taken over their education.

 

So many other books I've read to the kids are like this, too. There's either an eccentric parent, or uncle or guardian who feels they can do better than the regular school.

 

I'm beginning to wonder if I was unwittingly "programmed" to homeschool.

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Yes,

 

like "Understood Betsy", and "Eight cousins" - I think that is the title, by Alcott? and then a sequel about the cousin Rose...can't remember the title.

 

my earliest notice of a sort of "homeschooling" was Jane Eyre, I noticed when she was living with her cousins that they established a sort of schedule and were very busy educating themselves, I really admired that.

 

Grace Livingston Hill's "The Prodigal girl" also has a homeschooling situation- that one is fun, set in the flapper days with badly behaving girls.

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Yes,

 

like "Understood Betsy", and "Eight cousins" - I think that is the title, by Alcott? and then a sequel about the cousin Rose...can't remember the title.

 

my earliest notice of a sort of "homeschooling" was Jane Eyre, I noticed when she was living with her cousins that they established a sort of schedule and were very busy educating themselves, I really admired that.

 

Grace Livingston Hill's "The Prodigal girl" also has a homeschooling situation- that one is fun, set in the flapper days with badly behaving girls.

 

In Understood Betsy, Betsy went to school. Before she went to live with the Putney cousins, she was in a 3A class, which you understand is better than 3B :-) Once she was at the Putneys, it was a one-room school, where she was different grade levels in everything and was so confused.

 

The others were all tutored at home, or self-educated. (I don't think there's any mention of the 3 older March girls attending school, and Amy was brought home to be tutored by Jo and the others when she was 8ish.) I think this points out the fact that people are perfectly capable of becoming quite well educated at home without "grade levels" or standardized testing or even--dare I say it--*compulsory* school laws and government intervention.

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But, what I remember about a lot of books from when I was a kid was a recurring theme of kids being deprived of going to school when they desperately wanted to go; either because they were girls and only the boys would be educated, or because they were needed on the farm or to take care of grandparents or younger siblings, or because their parents thought that a few years of school was more than enough.

 

I do remember a case for what was almost an unschooling situation though--"Maida's Little School," in which a small group of unrelated children ended up being tempted to learn by the presence of teachers who lived in the mansion but were subtle about drawing them into learning. IIRC, they didn't realize that this was 'school' until the end of the book, and then they planned an elaborate thank you trick that they played on the teachers.

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Linnets and Valerians by Elizabeth Goudge has children who are learning from an eccentric uncle who teaches them history through wonderful stories. Some of her other books have homeschooled children too.

 

Of course many older books had children who were taught by governesses and tutors in their home at least until they were older and were sent to boarding school for boys or finishing school for girls.

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Wolves of Willoughby Chase, the cousin comes to live with her aunt and uncle and cousin and the aunt and uncle are called away and they hire a governess to come look after the girls. Turns out the governess is after the family fortune and is very mean. We really like this one.

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My mother (born 1924) had a French governess. Her family was middle class, but not wealthy: father was a civil engineer and grandmother ran a hotel.

 

In the 1920s/30s wages were still low, not many careers were seen as respectable for women, many women were unmarried due to the loss of men in the Great War.....

 

Laura

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Guest Virginia Dawn
Maybe not exactly the way we think of it, but I'm reading "Ballet Shoes" right now - a favorite from when I was a kid, and the three girls in it are being homeschooled. Two "lady doctors" - the doctorate kind, not MDs - who board at their house have taken over their education.

 

So many other books I've read to the kids are like this, too. There's either an eccentric parent, or uncle or guardian who feels they can do better than the regular school.

 

I'm beginning to wonder if I was unwittingly "programmed" to homeschool.

 

Ballet Shoes is an absolute favorite of mine too. I used to pretend I was one of the girls in the story.

 

I just finished reading Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte. Agnes and her siblings were taught at home by her parents, her father was a clergyman. At 16 she hired herself out as a governess. She advertised herself as offering French, German, and Latin studies.

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