Methodology for investigating problems identified as subproblems
Note on the Anti-Homeschooling Debate
Specific data by subproblem
Conclusion by subproblem
Growth in Homeschooling, 1978-1999
NCES Reasons for Homeschooling
The Need for and the Purpose of the Project
Homeschooling is providing a child's main educational program at home. (Webster) Homeschooling takes the place of full-time school attendance, whether at public or private schools, and should meet all the state requirements for each grade and for graduation from high school and the interim graduations, such as middle-school and so on.
Homeschooling is not a new idea, but rather one that has returned to the forefront of educational discussion in the past generation.
Until public education became widely available in the United States during the late nineteenth century, most children were educated at home. The children of the wealthy had tutors, who often taught them what they needed to know to attend universities.
The children of those who were a bit less well off might go to a church or private school, but often, formal education for those children ended long before university attendance was a possibility.
The children of the poor often learned little more than basic reading, writing and arithmetic, if that.
Once public education became a function of government, standards accompanied that education, but so did problems. For example, a common standard was that children are not ready for first grade until they have reached the age of six years. But some children are ready a year earlier, some a year later. Those ready a year earlier would do fine and, in fact, would probably excel. Those ready a year later (and often that just meant their sixth birthday came very close to the 'must be six years old by' date, making the child e effectively as much as half a year, or more, younger than the most ready children in the class. Chances are those children would have a harder time with the required material.
Some children do well in crowds; others are loners. Some children excel in mental pursuits, others in physical. And yet, the standards set by the states say each child must attain minimal competence in all required subjects in order to move on to the next grade and graduate.
It was inevitable that some parents would seek to tailor their children's education to the child, and begin to homeschool the child.
The need for this project is to see how prevalent homeschooling has become, and to determine the primary reason for homeschooling today in the United States.
The Statement of the Problem
The problem is to determine what the foremost reason for parents to choose homeschooling is in the United States at present, and to determine whether or not the objections to homeschooling that are often raised have any validity. Among those objections are: lack of academic skills; lack of physical education opportunities, and; lack of socialization.
The first subproblem is to determine whether or not parents choose homeschooling because of religious reasons. If so, are they choosing homeschooling because of what is being taught (for example, Darwinism in public schools) or what isn't (for example, anything about religion at all, including even a moment of silent meditation)?
The second subproblem is to determine whether or not parent chooses homeschooling because they have a child with a learning disability. The question has been raised: are parents creating what it tantamount to a learning disability by not allowing their child to go to a public or private school and, through interaction with the other children, develop skills that will assist in their development later on?
The third subproblem is to determine whether or not parents are choosing homeschooling because they are concerned about the quality of the education their children are receiving or would receive in a public school.
The first hypothesis is that religion is not the main reason parents choose to homeschool their children.
The second hypothesis is that parents choose homeschooling because public schools, in many cases, are not able to provide the sort of education their child's learning style or ability (or disability) might require.
The third hypothesis is that educational quality is the main reason parents decide to homeschool their children.
Definitions and Abbreviations of Terms
The term homeschooling means to provide essentially all of a child's educational experiences at home, or on field trips organized by the homeschooling parent, or through study groups and opportunities made possible through cooperatives of homeschooling families.
The spelling homeschooling was chosen over home schooling or home-schooling because it then appears as a single term on a par with schooling. The other choices might leave open the possibility of contrasting the term with public schooling (or public-schooling) and private schooling (or private-schooling.) Because the thrust of this research is to determine facts about teaching/learning done at home rather than at either sort of institution, it was thought best to make the comparison with schooling in general rather than the two other specific subtypes.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
The following is a list of some books and journals, though by no means all, which help to clarify the reasons for homeschooling in the United States.
Ballman, Ray E. The How and Why of Home Schooling. Rev. Ed. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway books, 1995. This book provides an overview of the reasons for home schooling and adds information about how to do it. It has a helpful appendix that lists many homeschooling resources.
Lopez, Diane. Teaching Children: A Curriculum Guide to What Children Need to Know at Each Level Through Grade Six. Westchester, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1988. This has much practical information about how to homeschool, but also tackles, in some depth, how to develop a Christian worldview, which may limit its usefulness to some.
Macaulay, Susan Schaeffer. For the Children's Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School. Westchester, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1984. Again, very Christian in its outlook, dealing more with questions about the nature of education, but doing so in a decidedly Christian manner.
Moore, Raymond S. And Dorothy N. Better Late than Never: A new Approach to Your Child's Education. New York: Reader's Digest Press, 1975. This was an early exposition of the psychological argument that it is best to teach children at home, at least through their early years.
Ray, Brian D., Ed.
Home Centered Learning: An Annotated Bibliography
4th ed. This compilation of more than 900 entries concerning homeschooling research is available form National Home Education Research Institute, P.O. Box 13939, Salem, OR 97309.
Ray, Brian D. Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling: Fact and Stats on the benefits of Home School, 2002-2003. Salem, Ore.: National Home Education Research Institute, 2003.
This volume has a multitude of uses, from discussions that may help parents decide whether to home school, to profiles of homeschooling communities worldwide.
It may be useful to journalists and researchers as well as homeschooling parents.
Home School Researcher. It is published by and available from the National Home Education Research Institute, address above. It chronicles recent research on homeschooling.
Education Policy Analysis Archives. This is a peer-reviewed scholarly electronic journal edited by Gene V. Glass, College of Education, Arizona State University.
By and large, the bulk of homeschooling information is either in support of homeschooling, or in support of homeschooling with the added information needed for parents to begin homeschooling. Much of the printed material, whether in paper or electronic form, assumes a bias on the part of the reader in favor of homeschooling, if the reader is not, in fact, already homeschooling or planning to, and in need of further information.
General Methodology cursory glance at both books in libraries and on bookstore shelves makes it clear that there are very few 'anti-homeschooling' published works to be easily had, with the bulk of publishing regarding homeschooling consisting of pro-homeschooling popular books and homeschooling 'how-to' books. It would not help the advancement of these hypotheses to study those volumes.
However, there is abundant information on websites from those specifically aimed at promoting homeschooling, to those dealing with debate-worthy subjects in many disciplines to government-sponsored sites that have done studies of who homeschools and why. Thus the answers to the hypotheses, absent conducting a nationwide original survey project, was likely to be found on those sites. They have been consulted for both statistical and explanatory material.
Methodology for investigating problems identified as subproblems
Specific Treatment of Subproblem One
Specific Treatment of Subproblem Two
Specific Treatment of Subproblem Three
All three subproblems were treated similarly. Searches were conducted using key words relevant to each subproblem/hypothesis. Often, the same material was returned for one, two or even all three of the ideas, regardless of keyword. That is because, it is assumed, there is no research that found a single reason for homeschooling, although…