Perhaps the most instructive element of The Future of Home Schooling at this point is that we can see where the movement actually is almost 15 years after Farris' book was initially published. He starts with a lot of statistics and numbers, largely irrelevant now, but there's still-pertinent information in the later pages as well as ideological views all of us could stand to refresh ourselves on from time to time.
Farris reviews the dangers of public education (briefly), makes a case for classical or Great Books education, and emphasizes the importance of imparting a Christian worldview to our children. Chapter two is titled "Broadening Our Political Horizons" and is interesting as history but not particularly instructive at this point. The next chapter, however, while called "Support Groups of the Future" offers a good foundation for ideal support groups and a well-reasoned argument for the involvement of fathers in such groups.
The chapter on the possibilities of Internet education focuses on concerns parents still have and is more philosophically-oriented than prescriptive as to methodology. "Home School-Friendly Churches" offers advice to congregations for making homeschool families welcome and comfortable, as well as to homeschool families themselves for integrating with members of different views and convictions.
While it is a concern for some parents, the section on homeschool access to public school classes and sports is a bit surprising. Farris often describes the evils and pitfalls of public education—why, then, would he want parents to allow their children to participate in it even on a limited basis? He concludes the main text with examples of the rise of trade-based apprenticeship opportunities, followed by FAQs and a series of appendices providing homeschool references, a list of local support groups and organizations, and state-by-state homeschool laws.
Much of The Future of Home Schooling is dated, though it is interesting that many of Farris' predictions have come true. Of course, when one takes a scattershot approach and makes fairly sweeping statements (as he does), this isn't too surprising. Historians of the homeschool movement will doubtless come to appreciate and extensively quote this unique volume; homeschool families of today will likely find little of practical value in it.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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