In this article I am going to review a lovely book about the highs and lows of a mother, Lois Letchford who home-schooled her son, Nicholas, who was essentially written off as being unable to learn by his teachers in school. Reversed, by Lois Letchford will be for you if you are looking for inspiration for the support of your child.
Sometime last year…
There I was going through my Twitter feed and I noticed that I had a message from Lois Letchford asking me if I would consider reviewing her book ‘Reversed’.
I have to admit the thought of reading a book fills me with dread as I am such a slow reader and whilst I said yes and she sent me a copy, it was going to be a while before I really got down to reading it.
So, I should add here that when I review books I don’t do this as a paid partnership (what’s the point it is going to take me an age to read it!) and I tend to dip into books. So I started with this in mind and thought I would see how I would get on.
This book is mostly about Lois’ son Nicholas who really struggled to live within a school environment. The book itself talks about some of the attitudes that teachers who worked with Nicholas had and what struck me hard was the lack of belief and hope in his potential by his teachers and this was right at the start of his academic life aged five.
As a parent, I immediately felt drawn into this book as it touched on how I felt about my own child’s experience.
I really enjoyed how this book detailed all the things that were tried to help Nicholas to learn that simply didn’t work. Those strategies were almost pushed onto him and as a result caused anxiety.
There was a lovely moment in the book where Nicholas was being encouraged to learn through putting items into a box which had me roaring with laughter as it involved a bottle of ‘elephant pee’. I could picture the fun that was had in his learning process.
I also loved the moment where he had learnt all about Ptolemy’s map which very much seemed to unlock the learning process for Nicholas.
Nicholas also developed a art for building things out of K’NEX kits.
What delighted me in reading this book was how it seemed courageous that Lois would decide to home school Nicholas and almost give up on traditional teaching techniques and replace them for simply listening to Nicholas and following how he wanted to learn.
By giving Nicholas the space to explore and articulate his learning in his own way this seemed to stimulate an even deeper hunger to learn more.
Sometimes as adults we do need to step back and ask our kids what they need. This seemed to be the key strategy that Lois used to unlock learning for Nicholas.
I don’t want to give much away apart from to say that Nicholas now has a PhD from Oxford University. He has successfully demonstrated his capacity to learn and if Lois had just taken teachers comments at face value, then the potential of Nicholas would not have been unlocked.
This story is another great example of how a parent chose to help their child learn in a different way to the norm. It reminds me of the article I wrote about Bambi Gardiner and how she supported the learning of her daugher, Sophie, by just doing things differently but getting great results.
For me this book put me on a roller coaster of emotion. I found myself feeling angry about some of the negative attitudes Nicholas experienced and almost cheering out loud, fist-pumping the air for all of Nicholas’ learning victories.
It is rare that I read a book and gain a feeling of elation, so I am grateful for how Lois wrote up her memoirs about teaching Nicholas as I wholeheartedly recommend it to you. Reversed by Lois Letchford is available on Amazon.