Archive for October, 2008

One of the most interesting recent developments in homeschooling is the expansion of the practice to populations that historically have not been associated with it.  Given the dearth of representative, randomized sampling studies of homeschoolers, it has been very hard to quantify growth of this sort.  Many of the most oft-cited studies of homeschoolers, such as those conducted by Brian Ray and HSLDA (which I review here and here), use methods of data collection that lead to an over-representation of conservative Protestants.  Even the best quantitative data available can’t deliver even basic information on the racial, socio-economic, or ideological diversity among homeschoolers.

Another, less reliable way of getting at the growth of homeschooling among groups that have not traditionally done it is to attend to newspaper articles and so forth that offer more impressionistic, often intimate portraits of homeschooling.  This post briefly makes note of several recent news stories that describe homeschooling among a wide assortment of Americans who are choosing it for many reasons. (more…)

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This post reviews Kellie Sorey and Molly H. Duggan, “Homeschoolers Entering Community Colleges: Perceptions of Admission Officers” in Journal of College Admission (Summer 2008): 22-28

Sorey, the Registrar at Tidewater Community College in Virginia, and Duggan, Assistant Professor of Community College Leadership at Old Dominion, here report the results of a survey of admissions officers in one state that seeks to determine their attitudes toward homeschooled applicants as well as any special admissions requirements or programs for homeschoolers their institutions might have.  (more…)

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This post reviews Sally Varnham, “My Home, My School, My Island: Home Education in Australia and New Zealand” in Public Space: The Journal of Law and Social Justice 2 (2008): 1-30. [Available fulltext here]

Varnham, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, specializes in education law.  Here she provides an overview of the legal status of homeschooling in Australia and New Zealand.  (more…)

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I’ve been asked to pass on the following announcement.  The way the questions it poses are worded makes me a bit wary, for the editors seem to assume an a priori antagonism between parental and public interests that to me feels dated.  But the call is also open ended enough to allow for multiple perspectives on its topics:



Theory and Research in Education is soliciting submissions for a special issue on homeschooling. Homeschooling has emerged as an increasingly important educational and social phenomenon, facilitated by the repeal of many of the regulatory requirements that had limited its scope. Scholarly commentary on the normative and policy issues surrounding homeschooling has been limited, perhaps in part because there have been few studies of the nature and aspirations of the homeschool movement. To what extent, if any, should public policy discourage the spread of homeschooling or reinstate regulations calculated to ensure its adequacy? To what extent, if any, should public resources be directed toward facilitating or ensuring the adequacy of homeschooling? What tests of adequacy, or protections of children’s rights, should apply? In contemplating homeschooling, how should we understand the nature and extent of parent’s claims to control the education of their children? What if any legitimate public interests, and children’s interests, are advanced, and which hindered, by homeschooling? What would be an appropriate policy framework governing homeschooling? The editors of Theory and Research in Education invite papers addressing any subset of these questions, as well as historical, sociological, or other studies relevant to answering them. Papers and inquiries may be directed to any of the editors: Prof. Harry Brighouse [mhbrigho@wisc.edu], Prof. Randall Curren [rcurren@mail.rochester.edu], Prof. Elaine Unterhalter [Elaine.unterhalter@gmail.com], or Mr. Mitja Sardoc [Mitja.sardoc@guest.arnes.si]. Deadline: April 15, 2009.

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In my previous post I described how a series of email exchanges with Brian Ray motivated me to devote more systematic attention to his work than I had done previously.  Dr. Ray, in an unfailingly courteous manner, criticized previous assertions I had made in this blog about the limited scientific reach of his studies and his ties to HSLDA.  I dealt in the last post with the research methodology and generalizability question.  In this one I’d like to speak to his ties to HSLDA.  (more…)

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