69 pages 2 hours read

Gordon Korman


Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2007

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Summary and Study Guide


Gordon Korman’s middle-grade novel, Schooled, was published in 2007. The narrative is told from multiple perspectives, with the title of the chapter indicating the perspective from which it is told. Schooled starts out with 13-year-old Capricorn Anderson getting arrested for driving his grandmother, Rain, to the hospital after she falls out of a tree, breaking her hip. Capricorn and Rain live alone on Garland Farm, a former commune that seems perpetually trapped in 1967. Homeschooled by Rain, Capricorn has had very few opportunities to interact with others.

During Rain’s recovery period, Capricorn moves in with Mrs. Donnelly, a social worker, and her daughter, Sophie. He also attends school for the first time. While academically ahead of the game, Capricorn is completely unaware of the social norms that govern a school. It is not long before his wild appearance and “missteps” attract the attention of Zach Powers and other bullies.

Unfortunately for the bullies, harassing someone who does not understand that he is being harassed lacks entertainment value. Unable to get a rise out of Capricorn, the bullies intensify their efforts, but with no success. But while the bullies have very little effect on Capricorn, Capricorn starts to have a very strong effect on both the bullies, along with the other members of the student body.

When Zach Powers nominates Capricorn to be eighth-grade president, he does it as a prank. Everyone knows that the eighth graders choose the “biggest loser” to serve as the president, so that the students can watch as he or she is continually tormented. But Capricorn takes his responsibilities as eighth-grade president seriously, and his earnestness, as well as his calm demeanor, eventually win people over.

Meanwhile, Capricorn is trying to learn how to operate in mainstream society, with occasional success. While at first he is resistant to leaving the farm, Capricorn eventually gets to a place where he is no longer content with living in isolation. Since the plan is to return to his previous life once Rain gets better, Capricorn has to figure out how he is going to incorporate his new experiences with his life on Garland Farm. It is a question that causes an eventual strain in his relationship with Rain.