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Archive for February, 2012

Mary Clearman Blew is an English professor at the University of Idaho.  She has written a lot of books and stories, most of them autobiographical.  This latest collection is a series of autobiographical tales, most of whose chapters had appeared in print elsewhere as independent essays.

I review it because in addition to being eminently readable it includes a few juicy sections on life as a “home schooler” of sorts in rural Montana during the 1940s.  (more…)

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A few months ago a reader of this blog recommended to me Meg Moseley’s When Sparrows Fall.  It’s the first Christian romance novel–the first romance novel of any kind really–that I’ve read.  I loved it. (more…)

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David Almond is a British author of Children’s books, perhaps best known for Skellig, his first children’s novel, published in 1998.  Skellig was the first children’s book I read that included a deliberately homeschooled character.  Her name was Mina.  Well, some 12 years later Almond has returned to the world he created in Skellig and offered us a prequel titled My Name Is MinaMina is written as the journal of the titular character, and it tells in great detail the story of why and how she came to be homeschooled.

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About 2 and a half years ago I posted all the available data provided by the various states that keep records on homeschooling enrollment figures (I recognize that some homeschoolers don’t like the term “enrollment,” but for the states that’s what this is).  I explained then that this information is notoriously unreliable for at least three reasons:  1. data collection is haphazard, varying widely by state, by district within a state, and from year-to-year, 2. the figures provided by some states don’t account for homeschoolers who may choose to do so by, say, registering as private schools, and 3. some homeschoolers simply refuse to register with the state and hence are not included in these tallies.

Despite these shortcomings I was interested at the time in this statewide data because of a discrepancy I was noting between my own subjective impressions of a slowing down of homeschooling growth here in Pennsylvania even as the National Center for Education Statistics had just come out with their latest estimates showing a dramatic increase in homeschooling nationwide since 2003.

My first effort to generalize from this state data led me to conclude that as of 2007, eight states were seeing growth, six were basically flat, and three were seeing declines.  I also noted that for the most part the states that were seeing growth were “Red,” or Republican-leaning states, and those that were either holding steady or declining were mostly “Blue,” or Democrat-leaning.

Well, now that two more years have passed, what has happened?  (more…)

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