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Was I, in fact creating a person by dipping into parts of my personality I utilise in discrete professional and personal modes e. I received by return of post an Education Otherwise newsletter and a booklet containing details of other families who had given consent for their addresses, telephone numbers, number and ages of children, et cetera to be shared with members for personal contact only, not for commercial gain or research purposes.

The Education Otherwise literature reflected current feelings of a range of people involved in homeschooling. It gave me, as a parent, an insight into an educational option I had not remotely considered previously. My initial exploration of the literature revealed an array of middle-class families mostly matriarchal either battling with Local Education Authorities or developing their isolated alternative rural educational lifestyles.

Indeed, my initial interview with Emma reflected this latter opinion. Later reading on topics which covered research into homeschooling e. Roland Meighan on the other hand, in the footsteps of John Holt, currently stresses the point that homeschoolers are the trail blazers of educational reform and that we can learn from their successes to develop a better learning system suited to the 21st century Meighan, , p. An article in the Times Educational Supplement Harlen, cites an experiment at the Castle Rock High School which aims to tackle this perceived problem.

It offers pupils varied lessons based on how we learn, rather than what we learn. I would pursue more information about this innovative project which appeared to reflect not only the writings of Holt, Meighan, and other pro-homeschoolers, but also go some way to addressing some of the problems of traditional school pedagogy recently highlighted in a MORI Market and Opinion Research International survey Sutcliffe, commissioned by the Campaign for Learning of 4, high school pupils.


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Has this over-simplified generalisation of the research data helped to entrench this view? Have I allowed it to do so through my selection from the data? There were certain poignant references to practice that I was keen to follow up challenge and mirror through case study research: But even the most attentive, perceptive, and thoughtful classroom teachers could never elicit from their students the amount and intensity of feedback that home-schooling parents typically get from their children, because parents know and understand their children so much better.

From a parental stance outside a homeschooling experience, I would agree that the above represents an ideal child-parent educational relationship, and one which in many cases reflects a parental role which backs up that provided by the teacher at school. His philosophy focuses on recognizing that teaching is also learning and that there should be a freedom of choice for the learner through a negotiated curriculum. A long way from traditional school experience, but not too far from the practice of many homeschoolers as evidenced by these extracts from Education Otherwise newsletters quoted by Roland Meighan and my interviews: … at home we are in a very democratic and liberal learning environment, where we all have input and responsibility.

I hope that through experience and discussion we can all continue to make decisions and take responsibility for them, independent from government ideology. Katherine, a homeschool mother, Meighan, , p. Roger and Tina Rich-Smith, homeschool parents, Meighan, , p. Emma, tape transcript p2, Goymer, An extract from my reading notes pointed me to some peripheral research to be undertaken with both the homeschoolers, teachers and pupils in schools: Are home-schooled children plucked from schools reconditioned?

Are those who have never been to school unconditioned?

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With a growing set of beliefs about homeschooling shaped through my reading and initial contact with homeschooling families, I set off to gather more substantive data. My plan, as outlined above, was to develop a collaborative research relationship with two families who had agreed to participate in a more intensive fieldwork exercise. The resultant experience was to be very different. An Absence of Malice and Data? A set of unrelated circumstances or synchronicity I am not at present in a position to judge meant that my plans to do case study fieldwork with two families foundered a few weeks into my planned schedule.

To date, I have not rekindled my contact with either of them they live apart. It builds on the quality of authenticity of the data, its complexity and richness. By revisiting the tape of the conversation with them I am also building in further validation through means of triangulation.

In the case of Sally and Briony, I have suspicions that my methodological approach to gather quality data was over-ambitious and ill-judged, causing them to retreat. Left tape recorder, spare batteries, three tapes, and notebook. Asked them to keep any relevant artefacts drawings, written work, models, photographs etc. Plan to return in six weeks including Easter holiday. A definite third date for me to visit was finally agreed, the 15th of June.

One of the two hour tapes I had given them was jammed and had been replaced by another. I have since managed to mend the jammed tape and when played it has recorded snatches of muffled conversation between Sally and Briony barely audible under the soundtrack of the film Jungle Book which I assume was playing on the television or video. To date I have not received them, nor managed to regain contact with the family either by telephone numerous calls during the day and evening with no answer or in reply to my letter to them in July.

The latter explained that I would very much like them to be involved in my research project and invited them to negotiate ways of continuing this with me. I currently feel that I will persist in my attempts to make contact with them again as they not only represented my sole engagement with a homeschooling family, but had valuable links with a local Education Otherwise network. Where possible, I will discuss the following issues with others colleagues on the Ed. What were the reasons I did not? Was the length of time for the self-recording too long? Were there any early clues in my contact with the family of their vulnerability to case study research involving interview, self-recording, etc.

Assuming then that privacy is a matter of importance in everyday life, including research that purports to present risks no greater than those in everyday life, the problem becomes one of recognising when a risk of invasion of privacy is present. Am I in fact engaged in a study of the privacy of the family as part of case study approach to homeschooling? Privacy is difficult to define, yet it can or its perceived invasion , as I have discovered, be a major block to case study research.

Concluding Thoughts This paper has, in essence, been a self-analytical piece. It has mapped out my methodological journey from initial contacts with two families, interviews with them which led to a small-scale study proposal, then faltering steps into fieldwork guided by a desire to learn more about their homeschooling experiences and in particular how their parent-child relationship affected learning.

Along this route I have followed my own instincts as a researcher, parent, and teacher with occasional pauses for self-reflection , and accepted guidance from a range of authors and colleagues. However, what emerges as the most important aspects for me to take on board in this methodological analysis has been the issue of recognizing the limiting effects of privacy and how I can fine-tune my researcher sensitivities and research tools to strengthen my case-study investigations.

The self-reflexive questions I have posed above should help me in this quest for a refined methodology. Goymer uea. Baker, Joy. Children in Chancery. London: Hutchinson. Bendell, Joan. Bath: Ashgrove Press. Clarity begins at home. The Guardian Education. Deakin, Michael. London: Andre Deutshe. Donzelot, Jacques. Elliot, John. Qualitative Studies in Education , 1 2 , Flinders, David J. In search of ethical guidance: Constructing a basis for dialogue.

Qualitative Studies in Education , 5 2 , Gardner, Howard. London: Fontana. Goymer, Stephen. Unpublished Ed. Harlen, Wynne. Turn on a new life support system. Times Educational Supplement. Holt, John. Brightlingsea: Lighthouse. Holt, John Caldwell. Schools and home schoolers: A fruitful partnership. Phi Delta Kappan, 64 , Then she was in the kitchen and from there talked to him, urged him to stay focused, and guided him whenever he had a question. At the house of Family 2, it was different because there was only one child being homeschooled. It was quieter and he was in his room logged in to his lessons and working quietly.

We noticed that B4 was in his pajamas. His mother told us that they usually let him sleep a bit later because he is in a growing age and needs extra sleep time, and therefore he usually starts the day around 9 or A. He took a break and went to the backyard to water his plants. It was obvious how much he enjoyed spending time in the garden and how proud he was of the trees and plants he had grown.

All interviews were transcribed.

The Case Against Homeschooling – A Response

We used constant comparison analysis to generate themes and found two main sets of categories, one is the reasons for homeschooling and the other the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling. The field notes were also read and analyzed to support the themes that were found through the interviews. The analysis of data resulted in the following four main categories: Reasons for homeschooling, choosing homeschooling programs, advantages of homeschooling, and disadvantages of homeschooling.

Special needs : Although very mild, but the reason family 1 started the homeschooling with B1 was because they realized he had some sensory integration issues and would not complete his writing assignments at school in addition to having an almost illegible handwriting. The mother already had done some research about homeschooling and decided to give the extra attention to B1 at home to meet that need and to help overcome possible difficulties B1 had to face.

Providing better education : After a couple years of homeschooling, family 1 realized they could provide a better quality of education for their children, and thus decided to homeschool B2 and later on B3. One of the reasons they continued homeschooling was to encourage good behaviors and to help them build good characters. Family 2 also stated that at the age that B4 was, they felt it was very important to teach him good character values and morals and they believed they could do a better job if he stayed home through that sensitive age to gain a more fundamental education of values.

Family 2 continued with homeschooling because they wanted their child to build a stronger relationship with his parents which would stay with him for the rest of his life. To family 2, their religious beliefs are the most important part of education in their culture, and as well as in life. The child now has plenty of time to attend religious lessons online and practice the learning with the family. As for the program that they chose, family 1 said that first they did a set curriculum where the mother did all the teaching. But through experience and research they found a classic curriculum that puts emphasis on literature, they offer virtual classes, and students take the required and elective courses.

The classes are interactive and they get to speak with other students as well as the instructor. Family 2 said that they chose an online public school system that offers classes for homeschool students. There are also virtual classes and student interaction. In addition, she takes tennis lessons for her physical education. Through analysis of data collected from the interviews and observations, the advantages and disadvantages that both mothers and the homeschoolers mentioned were the following:. Flexibility : Both mothers considered flexibility as one main advantage of homeschooling.

It was apparent through observations too that the homeschoolers had the flexibility to choose the order of the subjects they wanted to work on, the amount of time they wanted to spend on a subject, the location they wanted to have their studies done, their sleep and wake-up time, the music being played or not played during their lessons, and their activities.

Time for other activities : Both families said that because of homeschooling, their children have more time to do what they are interested in, such as running, reading, and gardening. It would not have been quite possible to have so much time for these extracurricular activities had they attended their regular schools. Healthy eating habits : Both families emphasized that gaining healthy eating habits was a great advantage of homeschooling.

Mother of family 1 said that she does not think her children can tolerate the food that is served at the public schools because they eat so healthy at home. They have learned to choose healthy food because of what has been prepared at home and available to them. Mother of family 2 said that in the first few months of homeschooling, B4 started to gain weight. However, he did not like it and started reading about healthy eating and now he is very precise about what to eat and when to eat.

Sometimes he even warns his parents and other siblings if they eat an unhealthy snack, demonstrating how he has internalized healthy dieting habits and concepts. B1 said that he could not had done so many years of homeschooling if it was not because of how close the family has grown together and how they support each other. Mother 2 said she has noticed how much her son has grown closer to both parents and how relaxed they are when talking about different subjects. She found this an advantage that non-homeschooled families may not have because of the limited time they have together every day.

Time management issue : Although flexibility is an advantage of homeschooling for the students, if there is a lack of time management, then it can become problematic. Both families said if there is no time management skill, it will become easy for learners to fall behind assignments and procrastinate their accumulate work. However, they said it depends on how important these events are to the children. To them it was not a detrimental issue but they hear from some other homeschooled families that sometimes children wish they had those events.

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Family 2 said that they sometimes miss some school events, such as science fairs and honors assembly, but they expressed that it is not that significant to them. Neither family mentioned socialization as a disadvantage. They both said that they have ways to keep their children socially active.

An Alarming Story

Family 1 participates in co-op classes. The mother explained that they interact with a group of homeschooled families and any parent who would like to teach something to the kids, would offer a class. For instance, one of the mothers offers ballet classes, another teaches science and the homeschooled students choose which class they would like to attend. Family 2 said that attending religious community events and classes have been what their child looks forward to and their child is content with the socialization he receives there. Both families also have their children in sports and the practices add to being interactive with other children.

Why homeschool is the smartest way to teach kids - Business Insider

She also actively participated in local community theatre auditions, rehearsals, and performances. The results of this study help families in similar circumstances e. Findings also suggest program developers improve their courses by including calendars for better time management. In addition, the results suggest homeschooling groups include more activities such as dance and talent shows so homeschoolers do not miss on similar activities that take place in regular schools. One limitation for this study was the number of participants.

There were not many families that met the criteria set for the study. In addition, if we had more time and resources available, we might be able to possibly identify and invite more homeschooling families to participate in the study. As a possible future study, researchers may consider using the mixed methods research design to combine the strengths of both qualitative and quantitative research.

The results of the data analysis show that the parents who participated in the study chose to homeschool their children for different reasons. Yet most of their reasons were similar to the ones found in the background research i. The most common reasons in this study were to provide a better education for their children either academically or religiously, to attend to their special needs, to stay closer as a family and to help their children develop good characters.

They adapt to the changes necessary for this new lifestyle. They believe what they gained in return is worth the simpler lifestyle they have. At the same time the mother is taking online courses for professional development so once they decide to stop homeschooling or if their children graduate from the homeschool, then she is up-to-date with her career development and she will have obtained a few certificates to help her return to her job.

The other mother is a college student herself and she has continued with her studies. Since the mother is also busy with classes and her own studies, she has hired a tutor who meets with the homeschooler to help out with any problems he may need assistance on. Both fathers are very supportive of the process. One of the homeschoolers mentioned that he feels he has gained a close bond with the family because of the homeschooling.

Yet in response to if he recommends homeschooling to everybody, he said it depends on the family and the commitment they give to it. Parents and children stated that in addition to the customized education they receive, they have better bonds as a family. Both families stated they prepare healthier lunch together and eat together. They also enjoy the flexibility it provides for the family. Also, children can spend time doing what they are interested in, such as gardening, theater, or sports.

Although flexibility is considered a benefit, having time management skills is a challenge they face in homeschooling. They also said that they miss on functions such as prom, but they do other activities with the co-op groups, or their religion communities. Berry, S.

Report: Homeschooling growing seven times faster than public school enrollment. Carlson, D. Encounter , 22 4 , Ertmer, P. Gaither, M. Why Homeschooling Happened. Educational Horizons , 86 4 , Home Schooling Goes Mainstream. Education Next , 9 1 , Martin-Chang, S. Murphy, Joseph. Homeschooling in America: Capturing and assessing the movement. Noel, A. Department of Education. National Center for Education Statistics. Romanowski, M.

Revisiting the Common Myths about Homeschooling. Clearing House , 79 3 , Schunk, D. New York: Guilford Press. United States Census Bureau. Census Weinstein, C. New Directions in Community Colleges, 81 , Wichers, M. Homeschooling: adventitious or detrimental for proficiency in higher education. Education , 1 , Zimmerman, B. Developing Self-Regulated Learners. Washington D. NHERI conducts homeschooling research, is a clearinghouse of research for the public, researchers, homeschoolers, the media, and policy makers, and educates the public concerning the findings of all related research.

NHERI executes, evaluates, and disseminates studies and information e. Setayesh1 utb. Lu utrgv. How did they homeschool?