North and South … and a bit of a homeschooling rant

Posted On October 25, 2009

Filed under Book Review

Comments Dropped 2 responses


North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Why I read it:

It was on the reading list for the LDS Mom’s education group that I do.

Funny first impression:

My husband was very curious about the title and assumed it was a Civil War story.  It took me a little while to get far enough in to realize it was about North of England vs South of England. Sooo far off base!  I am very curious now about the various parts of England.  Is this story accurate in that regard?

Best Homeschooling Line:

“I’m all wrong,’ growled Mr. Bell.  “Don’t mind what I say.  I am a hundred years behind the world.  But I should say, that the child was getting a better and simpler, and more natural education stopping at home, and helping her mother, and learning to read a chapter in the New Testament every night by her side, than from all the schooling under the sun.”

This story has NOTHING to do with homeschooling so I was surprised to find such a quotable line.  And then I had to laugh at a followup line two pages later after Mr. Bell learns a little about the mother.  “I own, I am wrong about schooling.  Anything rather than have that child brought up in scuh practical paganism.”

When I first started hsing I had a discussion with a friend about testing.  I do not want to be bogged down with testing requirements as some states require.  She asked didn’t I think it was necessary to ensure hsers are keeping up.  At the time I told her I wasn’t opposed to the concept – I just didn’t want to endure it for ME.  I have since changed my opinion.  I think parents should have full responsibility for their children.  Parents are perfectly capable of not only teaching, but also regulating their own teaching.  I will admit that some (the mother not approved by Mr Bell above for one) will fail.  However, the world is full of mothers failing in lots of many, more dreadful, ways – spiritually, emotionallly, physically, etc.  How far should the government go to ensure parents make all the right decisions?  Isn’t that Satan’s plan?  No, I don’t agree with testing.  I don’t think all parents should homeschool.  But I also don’t think all people should become parents.  But since that is not my place to decide, it does not really matter what I think about their parenting or their teaching.  I am only in charge of my own children.


I was a little disappointed by the ending.  In books I like I am always looking for more – what happened next?  Don’t I get a sequel so I don’t have to imagine it all?  In this book, I felt that way more than in most.  Which is to say, I enjoyed reading it and highly recommend it.  I shall be looking for more books by Elizabeth Gaskell.  Maybe she even wrote about the Civil War.  (just kidding).


2 Responses to “North and South … and a bit of a homeschooling rant”

  1. Sally

    I’ve seen this movie, but never read the book. It’s been a while and I can’t remember the ending!! I may need to go read the book now…

  2. lazyorganizer

    Yes, parents should definitely be allowed to fail at raising their children. If they aren’t then they also won’t be allowed to succeed.