Through the years, as education has developed and evolved into the system that stand today, the idea of children receiving their education through home schooling has been scoffed at and dismissed by the minds of professional educators and their surrounding community. Yet in the minds of today, as more children are being home schooled, the option of home school education finally is recognized as a respected form of education. The study was conducted over ten years that has three folds; to identify the motives driving parents to home school their children, and to test factors to determine the range of student achievement.
Conducted in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 225 home schooling families that were included in the study. Two sets of dependent variables were addressed, parental motivations and student achievement. Twenty-one independent variables were also discovered; educational attainment, age, race, gender, household income, marital status, employment status, teaching experience, spouse involvement in home education, previous involvement with the home schooling community, years educating, ideology, and political identification.
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The information that was gained through this study indicated that the number one attraction to the motivation behind the enrollment in home schooling is the academic and pedagogical concerns, although the opposition to public schooling and ideological involvement and pedagogical following close behind. Ideological involvement concerns the motivation for involvement being placed into the religious views and ideology behind the faith of the individual. Pedagogical involvement is in relation to the physical environment surrounding that individual, for example where they live. Reading, writing, and math scores are near the 54th percentile proving that that the education earned from either public school or home school are at the same level.
The statistics uncovered through this study varied from race to age group. It was discovered that 16.6 percent of the population studied belong to a minority, and in that minority 22.6 percent are African American, 61.3 percent are Latino, and 16.1 percent are Asian American. Also the gender ratio of parents and teachers who were included in the study was addressed; 6.4 percent of the Home Charters participants were male.
Setting and Participants
Throughout this study of home schooling, 225 home-schooled families were inspected within 25 different school districts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This state was chosen for this particular study because it consists of one of seven highest home schooling states in the country and the specific researcher lived within this state and had previously done some research on home schooling. The state of Pennsylvania had an assorted mix between races, urban, and suburban school districts and seemed appropriate for this study of home schooling.
The purpose of the research study was to examine the demographics, methods and curriculum, and motivation of home schooling families in different areas of Pennsylvania. Through this qualitative and quantitative data obtained, the researcher was able to compare and contrast each family's reason for choosing home schooling as a method of education.
The participants chosen for this study consisted of 25 school districts to represent different areas such as urban, urban-suburban, suburban, suburban- rural, and rural locations in Pennsylvania. Each district then chose ten home schooling families who were willing to participate in the research study. After each family signed a formal permission, they completed a consent form and a demographically related checklist. The home schooling families were then contacted through phone or computer to conduct an interview, using open-ended probes. Following the interview, they were sent a questionnaire to examine the curricular choices and analyze the families' ideological or pedagogical reasons for choosing to teach their own children. From these questionnaires, the researcher also collected data to document the number of children per household, their ages, and the educational background of the instructor. Using these questionnaires, the researcher was able to strengthen the validity of the information gathered and to confirm the data collected was reliable.
After the 10-year period between 1998 and 2008, the researcher noticed some unfortunate gaps in the study: a few participants did not return the questionnaires, others did not complete them, and some relocated to different areas in Pennsylvania. However, most of these instances were kept to a minimum and they were not included in the original study. During the fall in 2008, the researcher reconnected with the sample families to collect new data and compare the findings to the initial research.
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This study pinpointed 3 specific areas in which to conduct this study about; the first being the demographic information on a number of students across Pennsylvanian, the second was to determine the actual instructor's educational background, and the final one was to test the wide use of materials that home schooled families used. Each had interesting results, which impacted the views on home schooling from the years 1998-2008. After reading over the results to this experiment it was clear that three major things had changed between the ten-year time laps. The significant fluctuation in increasing home schooling was the boom in technology. An example of that is shown through the comparison of table 1 and 2 where the urban population that used computers went from 27.5% to 78% usage in 10 years. This simple task of owning a computer stunted home schooling to grow, many families felt that computers were too expensive, had lack of training, and felt unable to monitor its use. Another reason for the increase of home schooling, was acknowledging the individuals who were teaching the material and their lack of experience and knowledge toward the area of study. The greatest difference between teachers in 1998 and 2008 was the increase of 12.6% in having college degrees and 60% of all home schooling instructors acquired education training beyond high school. The finally cause of the rise in home schooling is figuring out what type of material worked fore each family. They split the study into two categories one being ideologues and the other is called pedagogue. The families who believed in the use of ideologues chose home schooling because of an objection to public/privates schools, where Christian fundamentalist, and wanted a strong moral impute to their child's education. On the other hand the families choosing the pedagogue route where families who had a strong educational background and felt that the teaching in schools were subpar. Overall after this study was concluded it showed that the home schooling population had overall increased in everyone district over the ten-year period.
Implications and Conclusions
Home schooling in the United States is increasing as parents are becoming more concerned about the validity of their child's education in a regular school. There are two methods of teaching being used in these homes, the ideological and the pedagogical, which were combined in some homes. The ideologues chose home schooling because they were not happy with the public and private school curriculums as well as the fact that they wanted to enforce their parent-child bond. The pedagogues also were unsatisfied with the school systems, and wanted to teach their children individuality and originality. It is important for students, teachers, parents, and educational leaders to be aware of this subject. Many people do not realize the extensive work going into these home schooling programs and their networking. The home schooling aspect of education is developing and becoming more beneficial for students.