Home Schooling Web Site Launched

Mitchell Stevens, an assistant professor of sociology at Hamilton College, and author of an upcoming book about home schooling, has launched a Web site gallery of art by homeschooled children.

The Homeschool Art Project  is a collection of more than 100 pictures depicting what home schooling looks like from the perspectives of young artists. The site, which is free and carries no advertising, is supported by Hamilton College.

This site is a part of Stevens' 10-year study of home schooling. At the end of his research he held an art contest for home schoolers, asking them to make two-dimensional images depicting "what home schooling looks like to you." He received more than 120 images from young people in 25 states. Participants ranged in age from three to 18. A panel of Hamilton College faculty and students chose winners in three age groups. Stevens decided to exhibit all submissions on the site to show the range of creative entries he received.

The winner of the under-8 age group, Kathleen Campbell, of Liberty Hill, TX, shows a rejoicing mother and child in her drawing titled, "Happy."  In the 9-12 age group, Rachel Bowers, of Wichita, KS, shows two children and their mother on a riverbank, drawing, reading and examining a frog in her picture titled, "Real Science: Discovering Nature." In her illustration titled "Our Homeschool Day," Rachel McGahey, of Norristown, PA, shows a collage of scenes of family, sports, and music. McGahey was the winner in the 13-18 age group.

Stevens is the author of the forthcoming book, Kingdom of Children: Culture and Controversy in the Homeschooling Movement (Princeton University Press, Fall '01). Based on years of fieldwork and over 100 in-depth interviews, Stevens traces the origins of home schooling to the liberal alternative school movement of the 1960s and 70s and to the Christian day school movement of the same era, explaining how this dual history shapes the meaning and practice of home schooling today.

Stevens says he has long been interested in home schooling "because it is one educational reform movement with supporters from across the political spectrum -- people from both left and right homeschool their children. I believe the movement thus tells us something important about contemporary American attitudes toward schooling and family generally."

The Homeschool Art Project will continue to take submissions of art from homeschooled children throughout 2001. For more information about submission guidelines, Mitchell Stevens and his upcoming book, please visit http://academics.hamilton.edu/homeschool/.

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