Posts Tagged ‘Robert Putnam’


Michael W. Apple, “Gender, Religion, and the Work of Homeschooling” in Zehavit Gross, Lynn Davies, and Al-Khansaa Diab, eds., Gender, Religion and Education in a Chaotic Postmodern World (Springer, 2013). Abstract Here.


Apple, an education professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is one of the nation’s best-known education scholars and a long-time observer and critic of conservative educational efforts.  Readers of his 2006 book Educating the Right Way will find the contents of this new chapter very familiar.

Apple begins with a basic orientation to the homeschooling movement, noting its left-wing origins but stressing its dramatic growth among conservative Christians in the 1980s and 90s.  His preferred term for these conservative Christian movement activists is “authoritarian populists,” a phrase that acknowledges both the grass-roots nature of the movement and its long-term goal of restoring the vision of Godly and Patriarchal authority it embodies in the home to the broader American culture. (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 Paul Theobald, Education Now: How Rethinking America’s Past Can Change Its Future (Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2009).  [An article that summarizes many of the points made in the book is available here]

Theobald, Woods-Beals Chair of Urban and Rural Education at Buffalo State College and author of two other books on rural education and community revival, here presents a wide-ranging revisionist account of the economic, political, and educational history of Europe and the United States in an effort to suggest reforms that begin in schools and ultimately will transform the U.S. into a more populist and economically stable place.  In this review I’ll summarize his main argument and then explain what it means for homeschooling.  (more…)

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This post reviews Gregory and Martine Millman, Homeschooling: A Family’s Journey(New York: Penguin, 2008).

Gregory Millman, economics journalist and author of several books on monetary policy, and his wife Martine Millman here produce a beautiful book that is part memoir, part how-to guide, and part research review on select homeschooling topics.  For this review I will stress the research component of the book.  (more…)

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