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Posts Tagged ‘John Holt’

This post reviews Philip Brand, The Neighbor’s Kid: A Cross-Country Journey in Search of What Education Means to Americans (Capital Research Center, 2010).

Brand, a young staffer at the Capital Research Center, a conservative non-profit best known for its opposition to labor unions and environmentalists, here recounts his experiences during the 2008-2009 school year when he and his brother took a road trip that led them across the entire United States four times.  In route he visited dozens of different kinds of schools, including several homeschools. (more…)

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Just a quick note that today on the anniversary of John Holt’s death, Pat Farenga and associates have updated and improved their longstanding website chronicling Holt’s unschooling work.  You can find the site’s homepage here.

In addition to many other wonderful historical resources, the site has every back issue of every year of Growing Without Schooling, the first national newsletter about homeschooling and the most important historical resource extant for the early years of the homeschooling movement.  If you’ve never read through any of it I highly recommend doing so–Holt’s writing is lively and compelling, and many of the issues with which he was wrestling in the late 1970s continue to have resonance today.  Issue 1 begins in August of 1977, and the final issue takes you to December of 2001.  Most remarkably, it’s all free, just as Holt would have wanted it to be.

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This post reviews Timothy B. Waddell, “Bringing it all Back Home: Establishing a Coherent Constitutional Framework for the Re-Regulation of Homeschooling” in Vanderbilt Law Review, 63, 541-598. [Available fulltext here]

Waddell, a recent graduate from Vanderbilt Law School and now a clerk for the U.S. District Court of Alabama, here presents a constitutional argument for increased regulation of homeschooling and much else besides. (more…)

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This post reviews Rachel E. Coleman, “Ideologues: Pedagogues, Pragmatics: A Case Study of the Homeschool Community in Delaware County, Indiana” (M.A. Thesis: Ball State University, 2010).

Rachel Coleman, a reader of this blog, graciously sent me a copy of her Master’s Thesis she just defended this month at Ball State University.  It’s wonderful.  In this post I’ll summarize it and stress its main contributions to our knowledge about homeschooling. (more…)

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Yesterday homeschooling activist lawyer Chris Klicka died after a 15 year battle with multiple sclerosis.  Klicka was hired by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) in 1985 before it had really gotten off of the ground, and he helped grow it into the powerhouse advocacy organization that it is today.  In my book on homeschooling history Klicka gets extensive treatment because of his central role at HSLDA.

Klicka also wrote one of the first histories of the homeschooling movement, Home School Heroes: The Struggle & Triumph of Home Schooling in America.  Though it has its flaws, it contains some great first-person accounts of pivotal moments in the legal history of homeschooling and some revealing insider information about HSLDA.

As you can see from the in memoriam page posted by HSLDA, Klicka was a pious Christian and a devoted family man.  He leaves behind his wife Tracy (read her journal describing Chris’ last days here) and their seven children, all of whom were homeschooled.  Though many people with whom I spoke in the course of my research do not share all of Klicka’s political or theological opinions, he was universally regarded as a generous and compassionate human being.

Klicka’s death is a real loss for the movement and a milestone in the history of homeschooling.  I tend to interpret the history of the homeschooling movement thus far as having had three phases.  Phase one was the era of Holt and the Moores.  Phase three is the recent trend toward a more mainstream and hybridized movement.  It would not be an overstatement to call phase two, when HSLDA was the dominant force in American homeschooling, the era of Chris Klicka.

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This post reviews John Taylor Gatto, Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling (New Society Publishers, 2009).

John Taylor Gatto is a legendary figure in the world of homeschooling.  My bookon homeschool history describes how by the late 1980s secular and conservative Protestant homeschoolers increasingly became estranged.  The large Christian conventions and publications stopped inviting as speakers leaders who did not share their worldview.  Gatto is a standout exception to this generalization.  His stature is great both among conservative homeschoolers like those affiliated with HSLDA and among more liberal homeschoolers like those affiliated with Home Education Magazine, and he regularly keynotes conferences and conventions of all parties.

This, his latest book, is something of a grab-bag of classic Gatto themes.  My review here will not systematically work through his chapters but will use it as an excuse to make some comments on Gatto and his meaning for the homeschooling movement.  (more…)

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Just in time for Christmas, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has finally released its latest figures on homeschooling – the gift at the top of any homeschool researcher’s list!  This is a big deal.  If you’ve read much homeschooling literature you’ve seen NCES’ 2003 data used over and over, because it’s the best we’ve got for estimating the national population of homeschoolers.  In 2003 NCES estimated that 1.1 million children were being homeschooled (2.2% of school-age children).  The new estimate for 2007 is 1.5 million (2.9%).  This is a 36% increase in four years.  (more…)

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