Archive for the ‘Special Education’ Category

Record: Kathleen B. Cook, Katie E. Bennett, Justin D. Lane, and Theologia K. Mataras, “Beyond the Brick Walls: Homeschooling Students with Special Needs” in Physical Disabilities: Education and Related Services, 32 (2), (2013): 90-103. [Available Here]

Summary: Kathleen B. Cook, Katie E. Bennett, Justin D. Lane, and Theologia K. Mataraswere all students in the Department of Communication Sciences and Special Education at the University of Georgia. In this article they summarize the research related to homeschoolers with special needs, a population that has increasingly recognized the viability of homeschooling in recent years.



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Record: Jasmine McDonald and Elaine Lopes, “How Parents Home Educate their Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder with the Support of the Schools of Isolated and Distance Education” in International Journal of Inclusive Education 18, no. 1 (2014): 1-17. [abstract here]

Summary:  McDonald completed her doctoral thesis on how parents deal with the education of a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in 2010.  Lopes completed her doctoral thesis on Distance Education in Western Australia in 2009.  Here these two junior scholars combine their research to investigate the role of a distance education program in helping parents manage the education of children with an ASD.

They begin by explaining the history of the Schools of Isolated and Distance Education (SIDE), a government program begun in 1918 as the Western Australian Correspondence School whose goal was to provide public instruction to students isolated from conventional schools due to geography or special needs.  This program has over the years used itinerant teachers, radio broadcasts, camp settings, and all sorts of distance education technology (audio tapes, videos, and now the internet) to reach isolated children.  While the students attending SIDE have historically been geographically isolated, the bulk of enrollments now are students with special needs that conventional schools cannot accommodate.  SIDE is thus a “school of last resort” for many. (p.3)

One group of children for whom SIDE is a resource are those diagnosed with an ASD.  McDonald and Lopes explain that an ASD diagnosis typically means that a student faces difficulties with communication, socialization, and behavior.  The clear trend over the last several decades in public education has been toward inclusion of these students into regular education, but in the last few years a small but growing literature has raised questions about this approach, as have many parents of children with an ASD diagnosis.  Some parents, reacting against the inclusive model and the lack of individualized instruction it sometimes entails, have felt forced to remove their children from institutional schooling and educate them at home. (more…)

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Jennifer L. Jolly, Michael S. Matthews, and Jonathan Nester, “Homeschooling the Gifted: A Parent’s Perspective” in Gifted Child Quarterly 57, no. 2 (December 2012): 121-134. [Abstract available here]


Jolly is Associate Professor of Elementary and Gifted Education at Louisiana State University.  Matthews is Associate Professor of Gifted Education at University of North Carolina-Charlotte.  Nester is a Ph.D. student at Louisiana State.  Here they present the results of a rigorous qualitative examination of 13 families, laying out four generalizations about parents who homeschool gifted children. (more…)

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From time to time I like to provide a brief summary of some recent court cases relative to homeschooling.  Today I’m stressing only those decided by a court of appeals or higher, not district court decisions. We’ll begin with a couple of special education decisions that together say something important about homeschooling children with special needs. Then we’ll move on to the more unseemly stuff. (more…)

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This post reviews Karen S. Hurlbutt, “Experiences of Parents Who Homeschool Their Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders” in Developmental Disabilities 26, no. 4 (December 2011): 239-249.

Hurlbutt, a Special Education professor at Minnesota State University, here presents the results of a qualitative study of nine families who have chosen to homeschool their children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  She begins by noting that several experts in the field point to autism as the most challenging of conditions for public school teachers due to the rapidly changing nature of diagnosis and treatment protocols.  Many teachers and schools feel unprepared to deal well with children with ASD, and as a result a growing number of families with ASD kids are turning to homeschooling.


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This post reviews Ruth Morton, “Home Education: Constructions of Choice” in International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education 3, no. 1 (October 2010) Available Here.

Morton, a doctoral student at the University of Warwick whose dissertation is a qualitative study of homeschooling motivations and practice in the United Kingdom, here gives us a taste of what the dissertation will contain, describing how there are three basic motivational types of homeschoolers. (more…)

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This post reviews Sarah Parsons and Ann Lewis, “The Home-Education of Children with Special Needs or Disabilities in the UK: Views of Parents from an Online Survey” in International Journal of Inclusive Education 14, no. 1 (February 2010): 67-86.

Parsons, research fellow at the University of Birmingham, and Lewis, a professor at the same institution, came to this project after an earlier study of parents of children with disabilities kept running into anomalies.  Parsons and Lewis kept finding parents who didn’t fit their survey categories because they had pulled their kids out of schools.  7% of the sample of their earlier study had done this, which was a surprise to Parsons and Lewis.  They were further surprised at how many of these parents expressed frustration that their choices and views weren’t being taken into consideration in the original study.  As Parsons and Lewis put it, “our interest (and conscience) pricked, we were determined to find out more about these ‘invisible’ families.” (p. 68)  So they created an online survey for homeschooling families with special needs kids and got 27 British parents to fill it out.  Here is what they found:  (more…)

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