Friday, February 10, 2012

Write These Laws On Your Children

Homeschoolers are an under-represented group in modern media. A wonderful post about the fiction side of things may be found here, but the nonfiction book that inspired this post was Write these Laws on Your Children: Inside the World of Conservative Christian Homeschoolers.
The author, who spent ten years employed in the public school system, attempts to provide a fair, balanced look inside the Christian homeschooling community. He acknowledges that there are many reasons for homeschooling, but chooses to focus on Christians as the most united segment of the the community.
I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by his evenhanded, noninflammatory tone. Instead of just studying statistics, he visited six different families from around the country, two visits per family and explored how they taught their children. He also stopped by various homeschooling organizations and explored them.
As a formerly homeschooled student, I had personal investment in this topic. While some of the families presented less-than-steller portraits, others were examples that I would stand behind. While I might have appreciated more examples from other families, I thought the results were fair for the information presented. He also acknowledges that some of the flaws presented by opponents of homeschooling are also present in public school or have their own tradeoffs.
The author's conclusion also gave me pause. He recommended basic literacy testing of homeschooled students, while acknowledging the resistance homeschoolers have to such an idea. While I can understand his concern for students who might slip through the cracks otherwise, I would like to ask him what he would do if the results showed a failing student? Would the student be placed in public school? Would the government force the parent to use certian methods?
Overall, though, a balanced portrayal.

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