The Call to Brilliance

15 Mar

My husband and I take education very seriously. Both trained public school teachers we quit the profession because of some undefined discontent with the system and an inability to affect any change. Now in a somewhat rocky financial situation, friends, family, and total strangers keep prodding us to return to public school or even private school. And yet we continue to hold back. We know deep down that there is something inherently wrong with the whole set up, even though we, as yet, lack the experience to voice the problem in any coherent manner. We started home schooling our children. We would surge forward in a flurry of structure and scheduling and curriculum writing only to have to stop and take what seemed like a step backwards. Our experience and training told us that we needed to follow certain guidelines, that we needed to be told what to learn. But it wasn’t working and we could see it. More learning took place when we were out on family trips or hanging out at home just being together. I felt like a bad teacher and a bad mother. Here I was ruining my children’s hope for the future by screwing around with their education. We were slowly inching our way to the concept of “unschooling” but I worried that my oldest child (almost 13) needed more rigid lessons in order to succeed in the world. Part of me knew that those lessons would only poorly develop specific skills that may or may not be used in life; but the other part of me felt compelled to DO something, anything, just to show that we were doing school the “right” way.


Then I found The Call to Brilliance by Resa Steindel Brown. Hope, inspiration, confirmation all flooded into me. To see that someone else is living and has experienced what I have suspected to be possible is truly motivating and inspiring. My theories about education are accurate. My suspicions of the effectiveness of schooling and disappointment in schooling’s poor performance are not rare and isolated moments. It is a failing that is pervasive throughout our society. Ms. Brown shows from her experience not only what is possible, but how it should be.


The Call to Brilliance is not a how-to manual for setting up a school. Nor is it a pedagogical argument on established educational theories. It is a memoir of this mom and the journey she took with her children to becoming complete people – whole in spirit and knowledge. Through the book she goes back and forth from the past to the present talking about her journey and what she has seen her children do. I watched the children, and even the mom, grow. And I grew right along side them. I grew in strength and courage. I am on the right path. I am not alone on this journey. My children will be fine; they don’t need me to micromanage their education. I can trust that my children will find their true path in life if I just let them live their own way. All I need to do is provide encouragement and support when they need it.


“We have become conditioned to this system that we do not question it at all. We willingly submit our children without much reflection or hesitation. Whether they win or lose, we are desensitized. But we can choose a better way. We can choose to have all kids win in their own manner and in their own time frames. All we have to do is take back our power and do it.” (Resa Steindel Brown, The Call to Brilliance)

One Response to “The Call to Brilliance”


  1. Amazing - A Week of Healing and Inspiration « One Crazy Kat - March 15, 2008

    […] amazing book about children and education. The Call to Brilliance by Resa Steindel Brown. I wrote a review for it and posted it on my other blog. My children can succeed. I can succeed. All children can […]

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