Write These Laws on Your Children: Inside the World of Conservative Christian Homeschooling, by Robert Kunzman (Boston: Beacon Press, 2009, ISBN-13/EAN: 978-0-8070-3291-6) 256 pp. Cloth $27.95.
June/July’s Free Inquiry ran my review of Kathryn Joyce’s Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement (“Fundamentalist Stepford Wives”). Almost simultaneously, the same publisher brought out Write These Laws on Your Children, Indiana University School of Education professor Robert Kunzman’s interesting study of conservative Christian homeschooling. The homeschooling movement, barely on the radar in the mid-1970s, has grown exponentially to encompass as many as two million children, mostly in fundamentalist families.
Kunzman provides in-depth studies of six homeschooling families. As with the Quiverfull families, those studied by Kunzman are similarly disdainful of public schools, often regarding them as “Pharoah’s schools” or hotbeds of “socialism” or “secular humanism.”
Educational professionals tend to frown on homeschooling because far too many homeschooling parents lack adequate training and because homeschooled children are too often insulated from their peers and the diverse society in which they will spend most of their lives.
Kunzman notes that to some degree homeschooling “began to gain traction” with the decline of the smaller “white academies” that sprang up in response to public-school desegregation. His book is a valuable examination of an increasingly important educational and, to the extent that religion-based homeschooling seeks public aid, church-state problem area.