On the third Tuesday of each month we post a quick roundup of some recent academic publications and news about homeschooling, offered for your interest. These are typically university research papers, and they may have a positive, negative, or neutral outlook on home education — and if they don’t seem appealing, just scroll on by. The title links generally point to the full text of each publication, which is often a printable pdf file. In some cases, a paid subscription may be required to read the whole article. The article abstracts below are quoted in full whenever possible, without editing. We have five items this month:
(1) The Significance of Single Black Mothers Homeschooling — C. Fields-Smith (2020)
Abstract: This final chapter [of an edited volume on Black mothers and homeschooling] discusses the themes of motherhood, faith and spirituality, and race as found across each homeschool mothers’ narratives. The chapter highlights differences among the four mothers’ decision-making and homeschool practice. The chapter further discusses the unexpected finding of Black mothers’ expressions of empathy for public schools and the subsequent constructive criticism of public schools. Single Black mothers’ experience demonstrates the importance of fostering Black children’s sense of ownership and independence in their learning as well as use of child-centered, experiential learning. The chapter suggests a new conception of homeschooling as a pathway to healing.
(2) Lessons Learned From Introducing Preteens in Parent-Led Homeschooling to Computational Thinking — C. Sepúlveda-Díaz et al. (2020)
Abstract: Parents that homeschool their children ignore certain topics when they lack mastery or interest in them. Homeschool groups try to address this issue, cooperatively educating their children. We were contacted by such a group that wanted to introduce their children to computational thinking (CT). These children, aged 7–11, have showed an interest in technology, and use online educational resources. None of the parents felt capable of tutoring the group about CT. They also worried about losing control about how their children interact with technology. We report an intervention over 9 months to introduce eleven young homeschoolers to CT in a suburban environment, describing the impact on parent and children attitudes towards technology and CT. We conclude with three lessons: 1) science-related activities should be used to introduce CT among homeschoolers, 2) “success” is establishing a meaningful relationship with a homeschool group, and 3) activities designed for school children need to be adapted to the homeschooling context.
(3) First They Came for the Unschoolers: A Faircloughian Critical Discourse Analysis of Queensland Home Education Policies — R. English (2019)
Abstract: Increasing numbers of Australian parents, like me, are choosing to home educate. US estimates suggest, within home educated populations, 5 per cent of home education cohorts (Riley, 2018) follow an unschooling, or self-directed education (SDE), approach. In the past, these parents registered with the government department; however, policy changes made in Queensland in May 2018 make registration almost impossible for unschoolers and discriminate against families whose registration was based on a philosophy such as SDE. In this paper, I use Fairclough’s (2003) Critical Discourse Analysis as a tool to interrogate how changes to the Queensland Education Act (2006) in May 2018 privilege a curriculum centric approach to education by requiring families to report on their child’s ‘progress’ in relation to schooled children’s levels. I argue these changes privilege the needs of bureaucrats who are invested in presenting a ‘school’ view of education. Fairclough (2003) would describe this policy change as a change to the social order that privileges the discourse of education over the real education occurring in families that choose to follow an SDE philosophy. By undertaking a Faircloughian Discourse Analysis, the paper analyses the policy shifts in Queensland’s Education Act in regard to home educators. The concluding section of the paper suggests these changes may affect registration rates among SDE families or unschoolers which has both practical and philosophical effects. Practically, the changes affect family support and benefits payments because registration is required to access government support payments. Philosophically, there are wider cultural and social impacts by legitimating government overreach and further entrenching school models of education.
(4) Healing Through Unschooling — D. Michaud (2019)
Abstract: A parent of children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), this author began homeschooling one of her children when he was unable to cope in the mainstream system. When the supports that were working for the child at school were removed, he became violent and aggressive causing him to face multiple suspensions. Together she and her child explored homeschooling, then unschooling where they found hope and healing.
(5) Awakening the Designer: An Exploratory Study of One Homeschool Parent’s Use of Design Thinking to Tackle the “Wicked Problem” of Teaching-and-Learning Reading With a Struggling Learner — B.K. Murphy (2019)
Abstract: This study tells the story of one homeschool parent as she attempted to solve her son’s reading problems. It also investigates whether she intentionally or intuitively engaged in design thinking to create the processes she used to teach-and-learn reading with her son. Homeschool parents assume full responsibility for their children’s educational outcomes, including learning to read. When a homeschool child struggles to read, parents are often at a loss as to how to teach them to become readers. To address the reading-related struggles that homeschool children and parents encounter, this exploratory qualitative research seeks to discover whether design thinking methods could be useful to a homeschool parent to improve her ability to teach her child to read well. Design thinking involves methods that designers use to solve real-world problems. Increasingly, non-design sectors like business, medicine, and education have adopted design thinking methods to solve many types of problems. To that end, this research followed the narrative inquiry methodology based on the Vision in Product design method (Hekkert & van Dijk, 2011) and guided by Riessman’s (2008) dialogic/performative approach and Clandinin and Connelly’s three-dimensional narrative inquiry space (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000). Data collection spanned over a nine-month period and involved several hours of video recording of participant child and parent interactions surrounding reading. The narrative data is reported in the form of a play performance. The study revealed two findings from the analysis. First, the homeschool parent engaged in three teaching-and-learning processes: emotional, intellectual, and practical. Second, she enacted design-thinking and -doing activities along a continuum that can be identified as a design quotient. Design quotients range from intentional awareness of design and acting like a designer, to unawareness of design and not acting like a designer.
What interesting homeschool news and research have you come across this Leo Term? 👩🏻🎓
❡ Explore more: If you’d like to investigate the academic literature on homeschooling, the best place to start is Google Scholar (scholar.google.com), 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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