Book review: Cheaper By the Dozen

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Author:Frank B. Gilbreth
Reading Level (Conceptual):Children 8 and up
Reading Level (Vocabulary):Children 8 and up
Year of publication:1948

Skipping grades in school was part of Dad's master plan. There was no need, he said, for his children to be held back by a school system geared for children of simply average parents.

Dad made periodic surprise visits to our schools to find out if and when we were ready to skip. Because of his home-training program -- spelling games, geography quizzes, and the arithmetic and languages -- we sometimes were prepared to skip.

... The standard reward for skipping was a new bicycle.
My 12 year old loved almost everything about this true story about how a couple of pioneering efficiency experts raised their 12 children. Except the ending.

Although I tried to warn her about the ending by pointing out some of the foreshadowing and emphasizing that this is a true story, she was pretty much devastated by it.

Homeschooling parents and those seeking ideas for enriching their children's learning opportunities will re-read this humorous collection of family anecdotes, written by two of the children themselves, often. Mr. and Mrs. Gilbreth, efficiency experts that they were, strove to ensure that even times of "unavoidable delay", such as when their children used the bathroom, were used for learning. For example, the father painted the constellations on the bathroom ceilings, hid messages in Morse Code throughout their vacation home, insisted that the children listen to phonograph records in French and German for the entire time they spent in bathrooms, etc., etc.

The story of the mother of the twelve children, Lillian Moller Gilbreth, is told in the biography, Making Time: Lillian Moller Gilbreth -- A Life Beyond "Cheaper by the Dozen".

-- Emily Berk

If you found this review helpful and/or interesting, consider supporting our book habit: Buy this book!: Cheaper By the Dozen

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