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Kingdom of Children: Culture and Controversy in the Homeschooling Movement (Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology)
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
In the press and on television, home-schoolers are portrayed mainly as white Americans of strong Christian background, most of whom are right-wing fundamentalists. Stevens's study confirms this generic picture, yet his study helps us go beyond it. . . [T]he intellectual origins of home-schooling are surprisingly nonsectarian. (Howard Gardner New York Review of Books )
Kingdom of Children is about the grown-ups behind the not-so peaceful movement. . . . As Stevens makes clear, those drawn to home schooling tend to be a stronger-willed, contentious lot, and removing them from the public school system doesn't make them less so. (Rebecca Jones American School Board Journal )
For anyone interested in home schooling, this is the book to read. (Choice )
This book is extremely well written and thought provoking.... Kingdom of Children will no doubt play an important role in the much-needed sociological dialogue surrounding home schooling. (Ed Collom American Journal of Sociology )
Top Customer Reviews
As a sociologist, Dr. Stevens is interested in how home schoolers went about constructing an entirely new set of organizational structures. He delves deeply into the differing "schema" of the differing wings of the home school movement, and explores how different paradigms affect developing institutions. He notes the details ("inclusive" home school groups arrange chairs in circles for highly democratic meetings, while "Christian" home school groups routinely sit in pews while their "leaders" address them from pulpits), and then draws broad but credible conclusions from them.
As a home schooler who has been in "leadership" in Christian home schooling since 1986, I was impressed at the depth and thoughtfulness of this book. While I may disagree with him on certain points, this is a book that no thoughtful home schooler will be able to ignore. Although I am deeply committed to a united home school movement, Dr. Stevens has spelled out the specifics of how that movement is divided at present, and the deeper reasons of why it has grown apart. The challenge to home schoolers who want to bridge those divisions is now clear. The solutions are not.
Opponents of home schooling will find little to love in this book.Read more ›
The major criticism I have of Dr. Stevens' work is that he completely missed the third type of homeschoolers: those who homeschool for academic reasons. Folks like me who aren't looking to Mary Pride or John Holt for inspiration but to authors like Susan Wise Bauer and Mortimer J. Adler. Our problem with traditional schools isn't that we think they're "ungodly" or not crunchy enough but rather that they've been "dumbed down" in recent years. We want rigorous math; explicit teaching of phonics, spelling rules, and grammar; classical languages like Latin and/or Greek; studying the history and literature of our Western Civilization heritage; and so on. There are lots of us out there in the homeschool community- why are we nowhere to be seen in Dr. Stevens' book?
The focus of Mitchell's book is the division between home schoolers who view home schooling as a form of Christian education and those who view home schooling as a secular activity. Mitchell's thesis is that this division defines much of the discourse, organization and politics of home schooling. It also reflects concepts of womanhood, childhood and family.
From a sociological perspective, I think that this book's biggest contributions is an implicit critique of some themes in the sociology of education, where schools are seen as propagators of the status quo. Here, we have an example of how an institution, public education, is relaxing its grip and new forms of education are being created. This is not to say that public education is on the path to extinction, but this book shows how viables alternatives to dominant institutions emerge.
To summarize: first in depth sociological work on home schooling, takes home schoolers seriously as people, clear
writing and very little jargon and furthers our understanding of educational institutions and social change. A sure winner!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is required by my course. Not that expensive and amazon provides a reasonable price. You can try to read it for fun,too.Published on September 27, 2013 by Ali
This book is an excellent introduction into home schooling today. As a home school graduate I think he captured much of the spirit of the movement today. Read morePublished on September 26, 2007 by Brutus