Archive for September, 2012

This post briefly reviews Rebecca Stead, Liar & Spy (New York: Wendy Lamb Books, 2012)

Stead, author of the Newberry Award winning When You Reach Me, has recently published her third novel for children.  I’m reviewing it here because, like many other children’s books, it has some homeschooled characters. (more…)

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This post reviews Joseph Murphy, Homeschooling in America: Capturing and Assessing the Movement (Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 2012).

Murphy, Associate Dean at Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University and author of many, many books and articles on a wide range of topics, here provides a remarkable synthesis of nearly the entire corpus of homeschooling research published from the 1980s to the present.


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This is the second of a two-part review of Randall Curren and J. C. Blokhuis, “The Prima Facie Case Against Homeschooling” in Public Affairs Quarterly, 25, no. 1 (January 2011): 1-19.

In my previous post I argued against the historic backstory Curren and Blokhuis provide as the underpinning of their argument.  Today I will look at the argument itself.  In general they make two basic claims.  First, they claim that all children are entitled to equal public protection of their educational interests, which means that all forms of education, including private schooling and homeschooling, must provide equal educative opportunities.  Second, they claim that the nature of knowledge is such that, especially at the secondary level, parents (or any other citizen) can be presumed to lack competence to teach, and that anybody who wants to teach must overcome this presumption of incompetence by proving their merit.

Curren and Blokhuis elaborate on these claims through a three-part argument.  I will first summarize their argument and then offer some critiques. (more…)

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Just a quick note here to alert readers to the new website for ICHER, the International Center for Home Education Research.  It is a brand new organization several homeschool researchers from around the world have been working on for some time now.  The website has a lot of very helpful information, including up-to-date summaries of homeschooling regulations in the United States and many other countries and the most comprehensive bibliography of homeschool research available anywhere, all for free.

It also has a blog.  I’m the moderator of the blog.  As you’ll see, the tone on the ICHER blog is a bit less personal than the one I’ve cultivated here.  But the content is very similar.  In fact I’m beginning the ICHER blog by re-publishing in edited form the most important blog posts on homeschool research I’ve done over the years.  I’m starting back in 2008 and working toward the present, so if you’re relatively new to this blog you might enjoy reading the posts on ICHER to see what you missed.  If you’ve been with me since 2008 you might enjoy, as I have, revisiting some of these earlier posts to refresh yourself on the content.

I plan in the future to continue both this blog and the ICHER blog.  On weeks where I do a review of a serious piece of homeschooling research I’ll likely only briefly mention it here and provide a link to the ICHER blog post.  But when I want to review less scholarly things like children’s books, movies, memoirs, and the like, I’ll continue to write them up here.  I might also on occasion make more personal comments on research here that I wouldn’t make on the more professional blog at ICHER.  Anyway, I encourage anyone who’s enjoyed my posts on this blog to check out the resources available on the new ICHER website, to like the organization on Facebook if you feel so inclined, and to follow it on Twitter at ICHER@ICHERtweet.  Thanks!

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This is the first of a two-part review of Randall Curren and J. C. Blokhuis, “The Prima Facie Case Against Homeschooling” in Public Affairs Quarterly, 25, no. 1 (January 2011): 1-19.

Curren, a distinguished philosopher of education, and Blokhuis, a recent graduate student of Curren’s who is now Assistant Professor of Education at Renison University College in Canada, here build on earlier work, especially Blokhuis’ doctoral dissertation, to argue that in the abstract common schools do a better job of preparing children for public life than do parents.  The term prima facie in the title is crucial for this argument.  It means that they are not claiming that public schools are actually better or that homeschooling parents are actually incompetent to teach.  They’re just saying that in principle a common school with professionally trained teachers at first blush seems like a better set up than homeschooling.   (more…)

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