Academic Profile of Home Schoolers a Case Study Case Study

Excerpt from Case Study :

Academic Profile of Home Schooling - a Case Study

Home Schooling vs. Traditional Educational Methods

Home Schooling Methodology

Focus of the Practicum

Culture

Area of Inquiry

Subject/Topic Areas

Home Schooling as an Alternative

Curricula and Materials Used for Home Schooling

The Success of Home Schooling

Evaluation Design

Conditions for Change

Timeline

Chronology

Legislative Information:

Maryland: A Legal Analysis

State Laws and Regulations - Maryland

Goulart and Travers vs. Calvert County

Home-schooled Kids Find Social Growth"

Home Schoolers in the Trenches"

Home School Academic Advantage Increases Over Time"

Home Schooling." ERIC Digest, Number 95.

Abstract

The Academic Profile of Home Schoolers

Case Study

The focus of this applied dissertation proposal is to examine and analyze home school families' academic environment, the institutional materials they use, and to gain an understanding of their academic success.

Prince George's County Public School System is the nineteenth largest school system in the nation with a diverse student population of over 137,000 students. Currently, there are 2,309 students that are being educated at home; 858 are being taught through correspondence courses that are registered with the Maryland State Department of Education. The remaining 1,451 are being supervised by Price George's County Public Schools. The school system is divided in 5 regions with the most prevalent impact of home schooling in Region IV. Region IV with a population of 902 students has the largest population of home-schooled students as compared to the other regions. One factor that contributes to difference is Andrews Air Force Base, which is located in Region IV and has an active home school organization.

Four families who home school at least one child between the ages of six and sixteen will participate in this study. Criteria will be established for selecting the participants prior to initiating the study, so that a cross section of the population will be obtained and represented. Participating families will be recruited directly at meetings of home school groups located on Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George's County, Maryland. Information for this study will be gathered, analyzed and presented using qualitative research methodology.

Participants will be seen in their homes by the researcher, four times for approximately two hours each time. A formal and informal interview will also be conducted with the parents.

Chapter 1

Introduction and Background

Introduction

Prince George's County Public School System is the nineteenth largest school system in the nation with a diverse student population of over 137,000 students. Currently, there are 2,309 students that are being educated at home; 858 are being taught through correspondence courses that are registered with the Maryland State Department of Education. The remaining 1,451 are being supervised by Price George's County Public Schools. The school system is divided in 5 regions with the most prevalent impact of home schooling in Region IV. Region IV with a population of 902 students has the largest population of home-schooled students as compared to the other regions. One factor that contributes to difference is Andrews Air Force Base, which is located in Region IV and has an active home school organization.

Parents may provide home instruction themselves by instructing their children themselves at home. They may design their own curricula or use county selected courses as guides. If they elect to use the county guides, then supervision of their instructional program must be provided by PGCPS through portfolio reviews of each child's work and the materials used for instruction. Instruction may also be provided in a non-public school or through correspondence courses that are registered with the MSDE to supervise home instruction.

Home schooling can be a challenging undertaking because the parent providing home instruction must have knowledge of the subject matter, know her child's learning style, know how to find age appropriate materials that are challenging yet interesting, what instructional approaches to use, ways to motivate her children, and how to evaluate mastery of the skills that are taught. Despite the associated challenges, home instruction continues to show dramatic grow and home schooled children are consistently more successful on standardized achievement tests than their peers in traditional public school environments (Ray, 1997).

Education has been a crucial concern of parents and society since the genesis of culture. Educational issues, debates, and reforms are continuing to be the main topic of discussion in America today it has become clear that home schooling will play a major role in the conflict. What some observers thought would be a passing fad -- home schooling -- has become a visible movement motivated by capable leaders and a robust mix of parents and children (Caldwell, 1999; Clark, 1994; Lines 1994).

According to the United States Department of Education, the number of students home schooled by their parents grew from 90,000 in 1983 to 225,000 in 1988, and by 1991 it was estimated to be between 300,000 and 500,000 (Sullivan, 1993). Home schooled children now number 1.2 million in the United States, and the number is steadily growing (Farris, 1997). Parents' desire to control their children's learning was the impetus for the home schooling movement.

Home schooling's efficacy is supported by test scores showing that these children, across the board in Grades k through 12, perform academically as well as children who are conventionally schooled (Ray, 1997). Many colleges now regularly admit home-schooled students. All 50 states recognize home schooling as a legal alternative to traditional (public, private, and parochial) school education, though the requirements and laws very in each state.

About 80% of home-schooled children are from conservative Christian families in the United States (Divoky, 1983; Kantrowitz & Wingerd, 1991; Sullivan, 1993). Most parents who opt for home schooling want to reinforce Christian doctrine and values; others want to promote and enhance their children's creativity. Still others want their children to learn about their own heritage and believe that public schools do not teach enough multi-cultural subject matter Divoky, 1983; Kantrowitz & Wingerd, 1991; Sullivan, 1993). For some home schooling families, the opportunity for their children to learn with a minimum of instructional constraints and to follow their own interested is paramount. Also, the extremely low student/teacher ratio allows for the potential for the home learning environment to present the learner with optimally challenging experiences, tailored to his or her own interest -- should that be the objective of the home school. These unique learning environments allow for the examination of important questions about environmental effects on learning and motivation. Schools, by contract, are extremely complex environments with student success dependent on the teacher, institution, student body, and even budgetary factors. Achievement goals tend, necessarily, to be standard for all children. Further, the relation of the family to the school represents an important determinant of children's school success (Grolnick & Slowiaczek, 1994), with families differing greatly along this dimension.

Purpose of the Study

The focus of my research is to examine and analyze home schooling families' academic environment, the institutional materials they use, and to gain an understanding of their academic success. The primary emphasis is on pedagogy with a secondary consideration on the teaching of reading. This study will require intensive examination of the teaching-learning process in natural settings to investigate what guides the home schooler in making judgments about the teaching practice.

Research Questions

What reasons do home schoolers give for teaching their own children?

What teaching strategies do home schoolers use to instruct their children?

What considerations do home schoolers give to choosing the curricula?

4. Why do home schoolers select the approaches and methods they use in instruction?

Statement of the Problem

The focus will be on the 1996-1997 school year, when school districts across the country opened their doors to school-aged children, and realized some students were conspicuously absent.

Amid the fact and fiction surrounding public school choice is widespread cynicism that many parents choose alternatives to the public school system, do so for nonacademic reasons, or as some experts believe, for the wrong reasons. Whereas, there is undoubtedly some truth to these beliefs in some cases, a recent study of parental school choice in a Colorado school district refutes findings that parents choose programs based more on their social composition or convenience than their educational content. Instead, what emerged was a portrait of parents as sophisticated consumers of education who generally offered knowledgeable reasons for sending their children to alternative schools (Bomotti, 1996).

Moreover, Bomotti (1996) writes that parents report that their motivation to select a different school for their children is more positive than negative in nature in that their decisions are based more on a proactive search for different teaching and learning environments than on negative experiences with neighborhood schools. However, some parents cite discontent with neighborhood schools as their secondary reason. Such a finding gives some pause to the critics of school choice who contend that families do not or cannot make good decisions about choosing educational settings for their children.

Public reaction to the current home schooling movement has moved from a virtual unawareness of its existence to forming specific opinions about home education. Gorder (1990_…

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