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Archive for March, 2010

This post reviews Wendy Mass’ children’s book Every Soul A Star (New York: Little, Brown, and Co., 2009).

Wendy Mass is a popular author of a fast growing catalogue of children’s books (nine so far).  Every Soul a Star joins a growing list of recent children’s books that include homeschooled characters.  I read it this week-end, which was not easy to do because two of my daughters kept stealing it from me to read it themselves.  For this post I’ll begin by talking about how Mass uses homeschooling and then turn the post over to two guest bloggers, my daughters Rachel (age 13) and Susanna (age 8).  (more…)

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This post briefly reviews Monica Martinez, “The Learning Economy” in Phi Delta Kappan 91, no. 6 (March 2010): 74-75.  [Available here]

Martinez, president of New Tech Network, a subsidiary of the KnowledgeWorks Foundation, a private company whose aim is “to transform education in the US from a world of schooling to a world of learning,” here provides a brief but interesting way of thinking about the increasing variety of educational options parents are using.  (more…)

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This post reviews Teri Dobbins Baxter, “Private Oppression: How Laws that Protect Privacy Can Lead to Oppression” in Kansas Law Review 58, no. 2 (January 2010): 415-471   [Available for purchase here]

Baxter, Professor of Law at St. Louis University, here seeks to get leverage on how to best handle the FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) issue that blew up in Texas two years ago.  As I described in a recent post, the FLDS made the news in a big way when their Texas compound was raided in April of 2008 by Texas State authorities, who removed 437 children from the site, prompting the largest child custody battle in U.S. history and enormous media coverage.

After summarizing the raid and its aftermath, Baxter does two things.  First, she surveys the various U.S. Constitutional issues the situation raises.  Second, she delves deeply into most of the important state-level court cases that have limned the extent of parental rights in terms of homeschooling.  Why her focus on homeschooling law?  Read on to find out.  (more…)

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This post reviews T. Jeremy Gunn, Spiritual Weapons: The Cold War and the Forging of an American National Religion, (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2009).

Gunn, director of the ACLU’s Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief (among many other assignments), here constructs a fascinating if flawed argument that the Cold War led to the unique blend of Christianity, militarism, and capitalism that is now the dominant religion in the United States.  First I’ll lay out his argument and then say why I think it’s flawed.  What does all of this have to do with homeschooling?  I think conservative Christian homeschoolers are perhaps the purest expression of the sort of religion Gunn is chronicling here–fiercely committed to the idea that the United States is (or was and should be again) a Christian and capitalist nation, and strongly pro-military.  Why are so many conservative homeschoolers like this?  Here’s Gunn’s explanation:

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This post reviews Adam Laats, “Forging a Fundamentalist ‘One Best System’: Struggles over Curriculum and Educational Philosophy for Christian Day Schools, 1970-1989” in History of Education Quarterly 50, no 1 (February 2010): 55-83. [Read the first page here]

Laats, a professor at the Binghamton University School of Education and respected colleague, here continues a line of research he’s been working on for a good while.  Laats has published several articles about the history of Evangelical Protestants and education, and he has a book coming out soon that explains the long term impact of the Scopes trial on modern America.

The article under review here is a wonderful study of the three most widely used curricula in the world of conservative Protestant schooling from the 1970s to the present, both among Christian day schools and among homeschoolers.  Laats does not stress the homeschooling application, but his history of these curricula applies just as well to homeschoolers as to the Christian day schools for which they were first developed.

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