In Praise of Slowness Reappraised

A week or two ago I said that Carl Honore's book In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed was a take it or leave it book and that most of the advice amounts to a secularized version of Eastern practices.

Time for a reappraisal.

I don't take back anything I wrote before, but I should add to, because I hadn't read the whole book yet. I finished it this week and some of those other chapters do have a few take aways.

In particular, I'd recommend the chapter on children, "Raising an Unhurried Child." Honore talks about falling into the trap of telling one-minute bed time stories and reports on several different ways people are trying to slow down in parenting (one of which is homeschooling). Definitely some food for thought here, especially for parents who tend to overdo it with multiple extracurricular activities for each child.

This book is still not on my favorite books of the year list, but I'm glad I read it.


kt said...

Interesting post. I was curious whether you were saying that homeschooling parents should "slow down" in the way that they homeschool or that homeschooling is a means of achieving unhurried parenting?

Brian G. Hedges said...

Honore was reporting on homeschooling as one of several means of achieving unhurried parenting. I thought that was interesting, since I was homeschooled and we are now homeschooling Stephen - so that's why I mentioned it.

However, I certainly think there are many other factors besides that contribute to hurried parenting - one of the main ones that Honore mentions - the "mother of all extracurricular activities" is TV.

One more comment: it is interesting to compare Honore's emphasis on slowing down in the pace of children's lives (in education, among other things) with Thomas Friedman's thoughts on education in The World is Flat. Friedman believes that most American schools and kids are not keeping up well at all with the educational programs in other countries and that we will pay a steep price if this doesn't change. So, while Honore says "slow down," Friedman is saying, "buckle down." Both have valid points to consider.

kt said...

Did Honore offer an explanation for why he thinks homeschooling helps achieve unhurried parenting?

Brian G. Hedges said...

He acknowledges that parents choose to home educate for a variety of reasons, often moral or religious. But he also points out that some parents are home educating in order to "free children from the tyranny of the timetable, to let them learn and live at their own pace" and that "Home education is often bound up with the whole family embracing a more Slow approach to life." This is followed by a specific case study and Honore's further reflections.

cgl said...

That's interesting. From observations I have made I can understand how it would slow down the child's life but it seems often times it hurries and stresses the mother but not always.

lisatatj said...

I think that it does complicates the mother's life--but not anymore than the complications of getting up early in the morning, getting everyone ready for school and than rushing off to work. Getting home to supper, cleaning, homework, etc... I think that the unhurried aspect of homeschooling is a huge positive. I think that the mother's life is complicated either way, so why not choose the one with the most positive benefits :)

--all this said, We haven't experienced both worlds and we may send our kids to public school someday, but for now, this is a positive way that I look at it.