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Archive for the ‘Family life’ Category

This post reviews Anthony Barone Kolenc, “When ‘I Do’ Becomes ‘You Won’t!’–Preserving the Right to Home School After Divorce” in Ave Maria Law Review 9, no. 2 (2010-2011): 263-302.

Kolenc is a  lawyer in the U.S. Air Force, adjunct faculty member at Saint Leo University, homeschooling father of five, and author of the monthly column “Legally Speaking” in The Old Schoolhouse magazine.  Here he constructs a legal argument aimed at helping divorced homeschooling parents involved in custody disputes.

Kolenc begins with the Kurowski case, which I discussed here and here.  Here’s the summary I wrote a few months ago of the facts of the case: (more…)

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This post reviews Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2010).

This book has been on my pile for a while and I finally got the chance over the holidays to crack it.  Putnam is widely known as the author of the landmark 2001 book Bowling Alone, which is largely responsible for making the phrase “social capital” as popular as it has become.  This new book, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, is every bit as interesting and based on better data.  It ably synthesizes a vast array of surveys and other sources to provide a reliable and fascinating look at trends in American religion from the 1950s to today.

There’s nothing explicit in it about homeschooling, but chapter five, entitled “Switching, Matching, and Mixing” provides evidence to help elucidate one of the most important questions homeschooling research can ask, and one of the hardest to answer.  The great majority of homeschoolers choose the practice at least in part to stack the deck in favor of their children turning out like themselves, especially in terms of religious belief and moral standards.  Does it work?

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This post reviews Leslie Safran, “Legitimate Peripheral Participation and Home Education” in Teaching and Teacher Education 26, no. 1 (2010): 107-112.

Safran, a British researcher who has written a few other works on homeschooling and in 2008 completed her doctoral dissertation, titled Exploring identity change and communities of practice among long term home educating parents, here introduces an interesting theoretical concept that she thinks helps explain how novice homeschoolers only marginally or temporarily committed to the practice become more engaged and committed practitioners.

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This post reviews Laura Brodie, Love in a Time of Homeschooling: A Mother and Daughter’s Uncommon Year
(New York: HarperCollins, 2010).

Brodie, mother of three, part-time English professor at Washington and Lee, and author of other works of fiction and nonfiction, here offers a memoir of her one-year experiment in homeschooling with her eldest daughter Julia.  Brodie also has a blog on short-term homeschooling that has dealt a lot with school bullying as motivator for homeschooling. (more…)

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This post reviews Brian D. Ray, “Academic Achievement and Demographic Traits of Homeschool Students: A Nationwide Study” in Academic Leadership Live: The Online Journal 8, no. 1 (February 2010).  [Available Here]

This is the latest of a long line of nearly identical studies Ray has been performing for decades now at fairly even intervals.  In two previous posts I reviewed this large body of work, which you can read here and here.  This new study tries very hard to overcome one of the most persistent deficiencies of his previous work (and the 1999 Rudner study)–the near exclusive reliance on HSLDA’s advertisement to recruit subjects, leading to unrepresentative samples.  This time around Ray tried to recruit families from outside of the HSLDA orbit.  Did he succeed?  (more…)

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This post reviews Andrew J. Cherlin, The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today (New York: Knopf, 2009).  [Read an interview with Cherlin here. Publisher’s summary here. Buy it here.]

Cherlin, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins, here presents a masterful synthesis of the historical and sociological scholarship on American and European families to explain why Americans marry more and get divorced more than other industrialized countries.  (more…)

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This post briefly reviews Veronica Chater, Waiting for the Apocalypse: A Memoir of Faith and Family (New York: Norton, 2009).

Chater here pens an amazing memoir of her childhood years as one of (eventually) 11 children in a super conservative Catholic family.  There’s no actual homeschooling in the book (Veronica’s mother threatens her kids with homeschooling to keep them in line) but I mention it on this blog because Chater’s family is precisely the sort of family that a few years later would have taken up homeschooling.  Chater’s parents are devotees of the Fatima revelations and understand all of the changes made to the Catholic Church in the wake of Vatican II to be harbingers of The Great Chastisement foretold by the Virgin to the Fatima youth.  Chater tells of her father’s quest for a true Catholic community, a quest that led him to move his family from California to Portugal, only to be disappointed that the same modernist trends that had been afflicting the American church were present even there.  So the family moved back to the United States and joined various fringe Catholic elements, thinking of themselves as a faithful remnant awaiting the end of days.

Chater’s writing is wonderful.  She brings her crazy family to life with humor and pathos, making this the sort of book one doesn’t put down until the last page has been turned.  The reason I want to include it in this blog, however, is because of what happened to the children of this very conservative, very religious family.  Of the eleven children born to Veronica’s parents, only one remains Catholic as an adult.  Recently I devoted several posts to Kathryn Joyce’s, Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement. One of the points I made about the book is that I don’t think all of the children who grow up quiverfull will ultimately embrace their parents’ convictions. Then last week I noted how Rob Kunzman’s, Write These Laws on Your Children finds that the children of the Christian homeschoolers he interviews are usually quite a bit more tolerant and politically ambivalent than their parents.  Chater’s memoir provides a remarkable case study of how the religious and political views of conservative Christian parents can sometimes alienate their children profoundly.  It’s also delicious reading.

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This post reviews Robert Kunzman, Write These Laws on Your Children: Inside the World of Conservative Christian Homeschooling (Boston: Beacon Press, 2009).

Kunzman [see his wonderful homeschooling research website here], Associate Professor of Education at Indiana University, Bloomington and author of many works on religion, ethics, and education, here gives us one of the most important books on homeschooling ever written.  (more…)

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This post reviews Susan A. Miller,Growing Girls: The Natural Origins of Girls’ Organizations in America (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2007)

Miller, a lecturer in the history department at the University of Pennsylvania, here writes a detailed and fascinating account of organizations created in the early 20th century to help girls maintain continuity with the frontier past even as they prepared them for the modern future–organizations like Camp Fire Girls, Girl Scouts, Girl Pioneers, and many more.  (more…)

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This post is the final installment of my treatment of Kathryn Joyce, Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement.

In my first post I summarized the book’s content.  In my second post I offered a few critiques and generalizations.  Here I’d like to offer some speculations about the movement’s future, drawing on a few personal experiences in the process.  (more…)

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