Posts Tagged ‘Randall Curren’


Alan Thomas and Harriet Pattison, “Informal Home Education: Philosophical Aspirations Put Into Practice” in Studies in Philosophy and Education 32(2): 141-154 (2013) [Available Here]

British researchers Thomas and Pattison are frequent collaborators, most significantly on the 2008 revision of Thomas’ book How Children Learn at Home.  In this article they draw on some of their earlier empirical research to make several normative claims about informal home-based learning.


Thomas and Pattison begin by noting that all children start out as informal, or what they call “osmotic” learners, mastering such complex tasks as learning to understand and speak language and to interpret social cues without any sort of formal, structured curriculum.  Many children go on to learn to read this way as well. (more…)

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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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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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It’s always a welcome development when a notable journal decides to devote an entire issue to homeschooling.  This has been done only a very few times.  Back in 2000 the prestigious Peabody Journal of Education devoted Volume 75, Issue 1/2 to homeschooling, (more…)

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