Home Schooling: Are Partnerships Possible?

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2008-04-07

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ABSTRACT

Title of dissertation: HOME SCHOOLING: ARE PARTNERSHIPS POSSIBLE?

Kristine L. Angelis, Doctor of Philosophy, 2008

Dissertation directed by: Professor Robert Croninger Department of Education

Home schooling has been described as both the oldest and newest form of education, and as the number of home school students continues to grow, a partnership is beginning to evolve with their local school systems. Some states are offering a variety of educational resources to these students which may include participation in extracurricular activities, classroom instruction, or virtual learning opportunities. This exploratory case study is designed to better understand a parent's choice to home school within the social and institutional framework available to them in Maryland. 

Maryland offers home schooling families a choice of monitoring options, through their local public school system or a bona fide church exempt organization. The state does not offer home schooling families any additional educational resources except the opportunity to participate in standardized testing. Home schooling parents monitored through a local public school system located in the Baltimore-Washington-Northern Virginia Combined Statistical Area were asked to complete a questionnaire designed to ascertain family characteristics and reasons to home school. Respondents were categorized according to their reason to home school - religious/moral, academic, or other. Eight families were randomly chosen from the three categories to participate in a personal interview to discuss their choice to home school, experiences and challenges of home schooling, and if they would be interested in having services made available to them through their local public school system. Analysis of questionnaire findings and interviews indicated some similarities between the target population and results of the 2003 National Center for Education Statistics survey with the majority in both surveys indicating religion as a main reason to home school. Choosing to be monitored by the local public school runs counter to the literature as did target families' interest in receiving additional services from their local public school such as student participation in extracurricular activities, an ability to take specific classes, and curricula support.

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