Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Former Plainfielders Author Book

When their oldest daughter was in second grade, Greg and Martine Millman made a decision to begin homeschooling. Their new book, on sale tomorrow, is a "journalistic memoir" of educating all six of their children at home and puts homeschooling in the context of the nation's political, economic and social systems, Greg Millman told Plaintalker.

The author of several books on financial markets and international financial events, Millman found the new book a lot harder than writing about other people.

"When I sat down to write my own story, suddenly it was an entirely different experience," he said.

He and his wife drew on their own memories of the venture and even had the children read drafts to get the story right. The book was "at least three years" in the making, he said. The family's goal is to describe what homeschooling really is, "to open a window," he said.

The Millmans came to Plainfield in 1986 and lived here until 2000, when the need for a more spacious home resulted in a move to Green Brook.

"We wanted to stay in Plainfield," Millman said, but the family found home prices "out of our reach" and taxes were too high.

In 1993, when the Millmans began homeschooling, the movement was small. The Millmans helped found co-ops and networks for homeschoolers in the area.

"It became evident that more people were getting involved in this," he said.

Currently, Millman cited statistics that place homeschooling at 2.2 percent of educational systems, but he said it continues to grow "by high single- or double-digit rates."

Of the six Millman children, three are now in good colleges and the younger ones, ages 10, 13 and 17, continue to be homeschooled. As part of his research, Millman interviewed college admissions officers to learn how they make decisions. By looking into trends while explaining homeschooling, Millman said, he was able to explain "things that affect all children."

Millman traced American notions of education back to the early days of public schools and discusses uses such as social control and assimilation that were prominent. But he says, "Homeschooling is a system. People built it themselves."

While avoiding the bureaucracy and other issues in public schools, homeschooling does not mean families are in isolation as they educate their children, he said. Homeschoolers form teams by interests such as debating or robotics, he noted.

To learn more about the book, click here. It is available from Amazon. The Millmans will be holding a book signing Oct. 4 at Borders Books in Watchung. To learn more about writer and our former neighbor Gregory Millman, click here. Congratulations to the entire Millman family!

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

An interesting book and story. The question I had was, they found property taxes too high in Plainfield, so they moved to Green Brook for relief? From Union to Somerset County (first of all), to a town that feeds one of the wealthiest regional school districts in the state? I don't know the numbers, but it seems far-fetched to think Green Brook's taxes would be lower ...

10:55 AM  

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