Parenting Books to Peruse and Use

Super nice publishers (smooch) have sent me piles of parenting books this week, and I wish I could read them all. Alas, I cannot. Even with speed reading, I’ve got chicken to cook, swimming suits to clean and Olympic shot putting to watch. So I skimmed my favorites to give you the gist of what’s new. If you’re looking for advice–from reconnecting to homeschooling to saving money on kids activities–here are a few great places to find it:

Fed Up with Frenzy: Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World
by Susan Sachs Lipman (Sourcebooks, $14.99)
The Deal:  Life’s too fast. You spend more time with your iPhone than with your child. You want to reconnect–with a kid (not Facebook, silly).
Who’d Dig This: Moms who secretly wish they could move to a rural town and live on a farm to grow beets and raise llamas. Wait, that’s me. This is a book for anyone who wants to spend more meaningful time with their kids.
What I Liked: The book spends a few pages telling us why we need to be slow down in our fast world. We totally know that, but the reminders are welcome. The rest of this book contains a huge list of fun activities. I’ll definitely keep this one on my shelf for those unbusy Saturdays. I especially loved the chapter on connecting with nature as a family. There’s a great little idea of going on a nature walk with a masking tape bracelet. You put it on with the sticky side out and attach berries, leaves and twigs to your wrists.

The Year of Learning Dangerously
by Quinn Cummings (Perigee, $23.95)
The Deal: Without a teaching clue, one mom sets out to homeschool her kids for a year and write a memoir about it.
Who’d Dig This: Fans of child actress Quinn Cummings who played Lucy in The Goodbye Girl. Also, people who are into witty momoirs about the joys and perils of homeschooling. There’s oodles of great insight into this hot topic.
What I Liked: The amusing chapter about the homeschoolers who are super religious (Cummings is not). And the part where Cummings gets pulled over by a policeman for gliding through a stop sign. The man sees her fifth-grade daughter in the back seat and says, “Why aren’t you in school today?” “I homeschool,” Alice replies. “But what aboutgoing to prom?” the cop asks. Cummings gets these questions a lot.

The Smart Mama’s Guide to Afterschool Activities: Getting Your Money’s Worth from Sports, Lessons, Camp and More
by Rosalyn Hoffman (Penguin, $2.99–really–on Kindle)
The Deal: Parents shouldn’t feel pressure to sign their kids up for everything (a big theme in Fed Up with Frenzy, above), but when you do, make sure you get your money’s worth.
Who’d Dig This: The mom who is a chauffeur, constantly driving her kids from one activity to another and going broke while doing it.
What I Liked: This book constantly says that you should “play before pay.” Playing is free, and it’s our kids’ favorite thing to do anyway. She also has some good tips sprinkled in with the common sense stuff. For example, instead of enrolling your bright second-grader in an expensive math enrichment program, try the Kahn Academy first–it’s free online. Another thing I love about this book–it’s only $2.99. And that’s super smart.

 

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