Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Review of For The Sake Of Our Children

“How did we ever decide to deliver our children to strangers with questionable skills during the best hours of the day? In the same way, we agreed to have the birthing process taken away from us by the medical profession. In the same way, we agreed to have our dying taken away by this same profession and the directors of funeral “homes.” In the same way, we agreed to be satisfied consumers of processed food that has been so far removed from its original state that it is unrecognizable, consumers of biased information, misleading and enticing advertising for things like disposable gadgets. In the same way, we have agreed to accept the authority of the State-Mommy-who-watches-over-us.”

For The Sake of Our Children by Léandre Bergeron, translated by Pamela Levac

This is a book about unschooling. But this is not a book *just* about unschooling. It’s a book about attachment parenting, respectful parenting. About sustainable living and farming. It even has a good sized fistful of politics thrown in! In short, this is a book about one man’s life, led trusting and respecting both his daughters and the world around him.

Léandre Bergeron comes from an interesting background: born in Manitoba, educated at a Catholic school in the hopes that he’d one day become a missionary priest, and eventually becoming a teacher, his rebellious nature led him to put all that behind him and move with his wife to rural Quebec. It’s there, on their homestead, that his three daughters were born, and there that the story truly begins.

Léandre shares, in the pages of a journal he kept for a year, his daily life spent with his three teenage daughters, the flowing rhythms of their days that move with the seasons. He shares memories of the past, stories of raising his daughters from the time they were babies, stories of their business (a health food store), the circle of life on their farm... He also shares his very strong opinions on childrearing, education and schooling, and the processed lives so many people live in this modern world. His words are insightful, his writing poetic and flowing, and thus this book was a joy to read. I found it interesting that in most books on unschooling, I find myself nodding in agreement with pretty much everything, whereas in this book, my opinions where more mixed. Much of the stuff he has to say I agree with fully. But there was a fair bit that made me pause, and seriously consider my stance on the matter. Not for anything huge, just at small points throughout the book. This, I believe, instead of taking away from the experience, actually added something to my reading of this book.

I did find myself wanting to hear more about the *entire* family, mom included, because she was mentioned only briefly throughout the book. However, most of what I’ve read on unschooling seems to be like that, only usually it’s entirely from the mother’s perspective. Just one parent’s interactions with their children, not how their family works as a whole, so that isn’t really unique to this book. That said, I found it a very pleasant change to read a book, talking about hands on attachment parenting and unschooling, not just the theory, written by a father. That subject seems to be covered almost exclusively by mothers! I also really liked that this book was about a family in my home province (and current residence!) of Quebec. The translation was great, as you’d never know that it was originally written in another language from reading it, yet at the same time the book felt very *Quebecois*!

Definitely a good read, and a good addition to any book collection on attachment parenting, sustainable living, unschooling, or homeschooling.



  1. That's true! Unschooling stories usually come from moms. What about the dads and the kids? They say many good things. So I'm glad this book show a dad's perspective.

    Good review! I should read it.

  2. A very perceptive review, Idzie. Thank you.

  3. I've been wanting to read this book, thanks for the review!

  4. Hi Idzie
    Excellent review!

    You have inspired me to buy it for many reasons other than my being a homeschooling dad. Indeed why do we send ourr children off to the care of strange professionals? Please keep up the good work I look for you most days ;>)))

  5. @Terry: Yeah, I always do find it so strange that so many people consent to sending their children off with strangers without a second thought! And thank you very much, I'm so glad you like my blog! :-D

  6. i have LOVED this book which i read in french (comme des invitées de marque is the title).
    this guy is so inspiring.
    thanks for sharing your review with us.
    video on him