Not everyone will be as interested as I was in Homeschooling in America by Joseph Murphy (Skyhorse Publishing, 2012). It is, as the subtitle suggests, a book that captures and assess the current modern homeschooling movement. The author reviews, analyzes, and categories all the studies and polls taken on homeschooling in America from the early ages of the movement in the 1970s until the most recent polls available.
Murphy begins by exploring the history of public schooling movement in the USA, and then leads in to the emergent homeschooling movement. Subsequent chapters detail who chooses to homeschool, why people choose to homeschool, how people homeschool, what curricula are used, and so forth, with emphasis on the changing and expanding role of homeschooling as an alternative to the mainstream public education in this day.
As is to be expected in a book the summarizes in overview format more than a hundred different polls and surveys, Homeschooling in America is a truly dry book. It is by no means a gripping read. And yet, as a homeschooling mother sincerely interested in understanding the modern development and current status of homeschooling, I was fascinated by it’s subject matter.
Although I personally am religious, I do not consider myself a religious homeschooler. I’ve always wondered why homeschoolers get stereotyped as religious (especially considering that the majority of those I associate with likewise homeschool for a variety of non-religious reasons).
Further, I’ve always taken exception to the memes that portray modern homeschoolers as the equivalent of Thomas Jefferson and Louisa May Alcott, Murphy’s overview of the history of the movement definitely underscored the difference between those home educating today (against the mainstream) with those that home educated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is a movement that is completely different in purpose, form, and method.
So while I cannot honestly recommend Homeschooling in America to the average reader, then, I will say it is truly fascinating for the deeply interested reader. It captures the little data available in a truly awesome way, giving needed life and credibility to an educational movement that is only destined to become greater in the coming years.
If you too are a homeschooler, check out my homeschooling blog at Line upon Line Learning.