A House is Not a Home: Domestic Church and the Art of Homemaking

This is part of the Patheos Catholic summer symposium, anticipating the Church's "Synod for the Family" in October.*I write surrounded. By boxes. We are moving into our new place in Vancouver, British Columbia. This is the 14th move of my 31 years of life, excluding small and transitional moves.I have now been a resident in three countries: the USA, Mexico, and Canada.There is a process of thinking and way of being, an attitude and approach about the place where one lives, that … [Read more...]

Agonism, Antagonism, and Attitudes About Certainty

I think PEG really hit one nail on the head in his last post of our ongoing discussion on education. He understands, and sympathizes, that social scientific research used to bolster policy and curriculum for schooling today is, mostly, garbage. This fact, he rightly intuits, forces me into a defensive attitude about any unqualified appeal to science. He goes on to present his most careful and thorough to date explanation of what he means by 'science' and shows that there is a tradition of … [Read more...]

Against Best Practices and Unintentional Philistinism

PEG has penned another fine rejoinder to my last, rather tedious, reply. I appreciate his patience and willingness to add details and nuance that, in many cases, have convinced me that my initial critique was, in some ways, unwarranted or aimed at the wrong side of the argument.For instance, I am no longer concerned about PEG’s insistence on method. He has swayed me with his appeal to holism. I would only add the following: holism as a method is not what many methodologists means by the term … [Read more...]

Two Catholic Pragmatists Walk Into Bar: Illich vs. Montessori

My latest and longest reply to my esteemed Patheos colleague, Pascal Emanuel Gobry.My doctoral adviser and I finally realized, after years of careful but polarizing arguments, that perhaps there was more to our collegial quarrel than the arguments presented. His Mormonism and my Roman Catholicism were, in certain respects, irreconcilable—or at least would prove much more difficult to unravel. I suspect, to a far lesser extent, that some of this might influence the very rich discussion PEG a … [Read more...]

Against Methods: The Arts of the Ordinary

This is another reply to Pascal Emanuel Gobry, in particular to his recent reply to me regarding the radical uniqueness of the Montessori curriculum. * I've recently posted a few sketched-out ideas about the absence of generosity, rooted in fear, that grips the public conversation, especially online. There is so much of it and, tragically, I often find myself in the middle of it. Outrage is a fickle and easy chemistry, one click away from explosion. This is one reason why this exchange with … [Read more...]

What Can Go Wrong With Classical, Great Books, and Montessori?

I've written this post in reply to my esteemed Patheos colleague, Pascal Emmanuel Gobry, inspired by his post today at Forbes and elsewhere.*One reason why I write so little about education here is because I don't want to bore you. Education requires, as Pope Francis recently put it, pinzas (tweezers). This is very frustrating to most people, especially the ones who are concerned about it, but it is this very frustration that often prevents serious understanding.Cheap opinions and … [Read more...]

“Musings” on LATE TO LOVE with Iguana

Almost two years ago, my good friend and fellow philosopher of education (at Hofstra University), Eduardo Duarte (a.k.a. "Professor Iguana," his radio deejay name), began "Musings," an experimental community radio project trying to think and talk about about the relationship between philosophy and music or even the idea of philosophy as music and vice versa.I've been the featured guest twice and today we recorded the first of an eventual trio of conversations focused on my forthcoming album, … [Read more...]

Deschooling RED: Beyond the Fear of Failure

In 1840, Horace Mann, the first Secretary of Education in the State of New Hampshire (and anywhere else in the United States), wrote these words in an article for the third volume of the newly-founded Common School Journal, on his beloved and controversial Whig project, The Common School Movement: Let the common school be expanded to its capabilities, let it be worked to the efficiency of which it is susceptible, and nine-tenths of the crimes in the penal code would become obsolete; the long … [Read more...]

Deschooling Religious Education, in Six Claims

1. Compulsory schooling came to the United States in the 18th century, during the Whig "common school movement," built on the Prussian model that was founded after the advent of the Prussian research university. The first compulsory schooling laws were passed in the late 1850's, in New Hampshire and New York. A lot of that movement was motivated by a defensive belief that parents could not be trusted to raise their children. This is where the legal concept of in loco parentis came from.2. … [Read more...]

Compulsory Schooling and Preventative War — Or, Why Children Have to Go to School

In the secular liturgical cycle of the American year, two seasonal certainties stand out: going to school and filing taxes. In the late summer and early fall, we send our children to school under penalty of law. (Even students at charter, private, or home schools are still under the same structural authority, leveraged by truancy laws, as those who attend public schools.) In the late winter and early spring, we file taxes under similar legal compulsion.We all know that truancy and tax … [Read more...]


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