I’m going to try out a new feature today: a roundup of some recent news and academic research on homeschooling, offered for your interest. I like to monitor academic commentary on homeschooling, and if you do too, the links and summaries below will help you follow along. (And if the topic is not of interest, you can just skip on by.)
Any one of these publications may have a positive, negative, or neutral outlook on home education. The linked titles generally point to the full text of each work. This month’s offerings follow. (The first one, by a high-profile author, is quite hostile; a charming way to begin, no?)
(1) Homeschooling: Parent Rights Absolutism vs. Child Rights to Education & Protection — Elizabeth Bartholet (2020) (“Elizabeth Bartholet is the Morris Wasserstein Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.”)
Abstract: This article describes the rapidly growing homeschooling phenomenon, and the threat it poses to children and society. Homeschooling activists have in recent decades largely succeeded in their deregulation campaign, overwhelming legislators with aggressive advocacy. As a result, parents can now keep their children at home in the name of homeschooling free from any real scrutiny as to whether or how they are educating their children. Many homeschool precisely because they want to isolate their children from ideas and values central to public education and to our democracy. Many promote racial segregation and female subservience. Many question science. Many are determined to keep their children from exposure to views that might enable autonomous choice about their future lives. This article calls for a radical transformation in the homeschooling regime, and a related rethinking of child rights and reframing of constitutional doctrine. It recommends a presumptive ban on homeschooling, with the burden on parents to demonstrate justification for permission to homeschool.
(2) John Holt: The Philosophy of Unschooling — Adam Dickerson (2019)
Abstract: This is the first-ever book to offer an analytical study of John Holt’s philosophy of education. It provides a clear analysis and critical evaluation of the key themes in his work, considers the main objections to his views, and discusses their relation to the contemporary homeschooling movement. The book examines Holt’s critique of compulsory education and his account of the relationships between learning, freedom, intelligence and character. It argues that Holt’s works contain a philosophically rich critique of instrumentalism in education, and thus continue to represent a significant challenge to many mainstream views on education today.
(3) Homeschooled Children Are Far More Socially Engaged Than You Might Think — Kate Burton and Eileen Slater (2019)
Extract: Next time you meet someone who is homeschooling their child or children, instead of asking them about socialisation (they have heard that one before), consider acknowledging the enormous commitment made by their family and the fantastic opportunities they are providing for their children. Concerns about socialisation in the Australian homeschooling community are not grounded in reality.
(4) Homeschooling in Rural Northwest Arkansas: An Investigation of Parent Choices — Kyle West Mallet (2019)
Abstract: The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the reasons parents chose to homeschool their children in Boone and Newton Counties in Northwest Arkansas. Questions regarding the specific reasons driving these parents to homeschool and rationale behind a consortium or group approach rather than traditional stand-alone homeschooling was also considered. Data was collected through an anonymous survey and distributed to the homeschool community located in Boone and Newton County. The study revealed moral and religious reasons play the most integral part of the parents’ decision to homeschool. Social interaction with like-minded peers and curriculum were highly regarded as reasons to homeschool. The information gathered may be used to drive reform of public schools to fit the needs and wants all students and parents within these counties, state, and possibly America.
(5) Seven Persistent Myths About Homeschooling Debunked — Jeff Minick (2019)
Abstract: In the last 50 years, homeschooling in the United States has grown from a tiny movement composed primarily of conservative Christians and John Holt “unschoolers” to its present size of around 1.69 million students. Despite these numbers, and despite the fact that most Americans are familiar with the concept of homeschooling, some misconceptions continue to make the rounds. Let’s look at seven of these long-standing myths.
What interesting homeschool news and research have you come across lately? 👩🏻🎓
❡ Explore more: If you’d like to investigate the academic literature on homeschooling, the best place to start is Google Scholar, the special academic search engine from Google. Just enter a search term or phrase of interest (“homeschool,” “unschooling,” “classical homeschooling,” “deschooling,” etc.), and Google Scholar will return a list of academic publications that mention your topic. 🔎
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