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 and introductions below are quoted in full whenever possible, without editing.
We have four items this month, and the first is another interview with anti-homeschooling Harvard law professor Elizabeth Bartholet, who appeared here previously in May and June of this year, as well as back in June of last year, before her work began to attract widespread attention within the homeschooling community.
(1) Will Online Schooling Increase Child Abuse Risks? — E. Bartholet & J. Dwyer, interviewed by J. Neal (2020)
Editor’s introduction: As many public schools across the United States announce plans to continue online learning in the fall due to the threat of coronavirus pandemic, two leading child welfare experts are warning of increased risks of child abuse, as well as educational delays that will most directly impact lower-income families and communities of color. Harvard Law School Professor Elizabeth Bartholet ’65, faculty director of the HLS Child Advocacy Program, has researched and written extensively about the dangers of homeschooling for a subset of children and argued in favor of effective regulation. James Dwyer holds the Arthur B. Hanson chair at the William & Mary School of Law, was a visiting professor at Harvard Law School in fall 2019, and is co-author of the recent book, “Homeschooling: The History and Philosophy of a Controversial Practice.” They are jointly planning a summit on homeschooling.
Abstract: As a means to counter the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, schools were closed throughout Germany between mid-March and end of April 2020. Schooling was translocated to the students’ homes and students were supposed to work on learning tasks provided by their teachers. Students’ self-regulation and attributes of the learning tasks may be assumed to have played important roles when adapting to this novel schooling situation. They may be predicted to have influenced students’ daily self-regulation and hence the independence with which they worked on learning tasks. The present work therefore investigated the role of students’ trait self-regulation as well as task difficulty and task enjoyment for students’ daily independence from their parents in learning during the homeschooling period. Data on children’s trait self-regulation were obtained through a baseline questionnaire filled in by the parents of 535 children (Mage = 9.69, SDage = 2.80). Parents additionally reported about the daily task difficulty, task enjoyment, and students’ learning independence through 21 consecutive daily online questionnaires. The results showed students’ trait self-regulation to be positively associated with their daily learning independence. Additionally, students’ daily learning independence was shown to be negatively associated with task difficulty and positively with task enjoyment. The findings are discussed with regard to students’ daily self-regulation during the homeschooling period.
(3) Lorsque rentrer à l’école, c’est rester à la maison: Homeschooling in France as a Contemporary Critique of Social Institutions — E.T. Ponnou-Delaffon (2020)
Abstract: At first glance, homeschooling appears a fringe phenomenon in France, where it concerns some 25,000 children today — a far cry from the two million home-educated youth in the United States. Yet, this alternative educational practice merits examination due to its recent rise in popularity and the sociopolitical polemics its increased visibility has sparked. Situating these debates in their historical and contemporary context, this article reveals that while l’instruction en famille is indebted to cultural borrowings from the anglophone world, it is also shaped by specifically French developments, dynamics, and traditions. By analyzing political, legal, and media discourse, as well as personal narratives and published data on l’école à la maison, I therefore contend that the phenomenon delineates cultural fault lines which map onto — but also chart territory distinct from — debates in the better-known American context. In particular, I argue that homeschooling in contemporary France exposes crises in the perception of societal institutions and values such as parenting, the state, l’école républicaine, la laïcité, and security and freedom in an age of terrorism.
(4) Exploring the Growth of Homeschooling and Unschooling — G. Riley (2020)
Abstract: Homeschooling has grown exponentially in the past decade. Researchers estimate that almost two million students in the United States are home educated, accounting for over 3% of the school-aged population. Around 10–20% of those who homeschool define their philosophy of homeschooling as unschooling, and that number seems to be growing every day. This chapter provides a summary of the demographics of the homeschooling and unschooling movements, and discusses the tremendous growth seen in the number of diverse families choosing to unschool in the United States.
What interesting homeschool news and research have you come across this Hercules 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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