The Week in Books 2009, No. 3

I wasn’t as impressed with “Your Child’s Growing Mind” as I was with the author’s prior work “Endangered Minds” primarily because the first book covered her research in greater detail, whereas “Your Child’s Growing Mind” assumes the reader knows the background and focuses primarily on what to do about it. In some sense the practical suggestions were helpful, but for the most part I felt like they were implied in the first book even if not as specifically enumerated. Healy directs her suggestions to parents who are having to supplement or undo damage done by school situations, but many of her ideas would be applicable even if you don’t have your child in a traditional school. Healy has a background in public education so she does not knock school environments, rather she acknowledges their limitations and encourages parents to help their children develop anyway.

One section I did get a lot out of was Healy’s descriptions of how baby and toddler brains develop in terms of different types of learning. I had wondered what to do with Hannah regarding reading, because she sounds letters out (with mixed accuracy!) but when I had tried to teach her to sound out three letter words, I felt like she was guessing as much as decoding and I was afraid I was pushing her too much. After reading Healy’s explanations of what is going on in kids’ minds when they learn the steps to reading, I was encouraged to just answer Hannah’s questions and let her figure it out for herself without a curriculum at this stage. I also liked the sections on organized sports and music.

I have to admit I thoroughly disliked “Your Money or Your Life.” I read it because it was mentioned on Simple Mom, and I can see how it promotes simplicity, but too often it went beyond simplicity to just plain simplistic. Overall I thought it was annoying, lacked concrete application, and wasn’t particularly helpful.

And you thought I only wrote positive reviews!

If you’re interested in the whole “getting control of your money so it doesn’t control you” thing, I’d suggest and recommend Dave Ramsey’s books instead.

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