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Peabody Journal of Education, Volume 88, Issue 3, 2013

Homeschooling Rising Into the Twenty-First Century

The American narrative has long characterized the school as the foundation of a child’s development intellectually, socially and emotionally. The vast majority of American children are educated in a traditional classroom setting, whether in a public or private school. It was not until the last 15 years that another school model, homeschooling, reemerged in mainstream America. As debate surges around the nation’s public education system, the number of home-based students is increasing dramatically. In this issue of the Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy and Organization, Guest Editor Brian D. Ray reintroduces homeschooling, a topic previously discussed in a double-issue of the Peabody Journal in 2000. As homeschooling has become the preferred means of education for millions of Americans, new research has emerged regarding its effectiveness as a developmental and academically viable form of education. In this issue, Dr. Ray, along with his co-authors, creates a forum for perspectives on the value of homeschooling for the students themselves as well as the communities around them.

Dr. Ray begins the issue with an introduction, which summarizes the reemergence of homeschooling in America as a popular choice for what now amounts to over two million students. Citing criticisms and concerns about home-based school programs as well as excitement over their growth, Ray’s introduction provides an understanding of the issue’s content, which is broken into two sections. The first section presents empirical research on homeschooling as well as emerging trends. The second section comprises discourse and debate on several key social issues surrounding homeschooling in America.

Cheryl Fields-Smith and Monica Wells Kisura begin the first section by detailing the post-Segregation era transition to homeschooling by African-Americans. Categorizing this trend as self-determination and agency not seen since the Civil Rights era, the authors contend that this shift to homeschooling by African-American parents is a vehicle for resistance against the institutional racism present in American education. Richard G. Medlin then shifts the discussion by reviewing research of the socialization of homeschooled children. Research studies suggest that homeschooled children demonstrate strong social skills, high quality relationships with their families and those who go to college usually do so as civically engaged young, open-minded young people. Since this much as clear, this article argues, then instead of outcomes of homeschooling, studies should emphasize the process of socialization itself for homeschooled students.

Given the fact that home-based schools and public schools exist simultaneously, there are often cooperative and contentious relations between these entities. Donna M. Johnson examines this relationship since the universal legalization of home-based schools in the 1990s and documents the cooperation and the antagonism demonstrated over the years. While many cases show partnerships emerging through publicly available online and charter school programs, Johnson claims it is likely that the multi-faceted relationship between home-based educators and public schools will persist.

Next, Gene W. Gloeckner and Paul Jones reflect on research of successes of homeschooling. Combining comparitive studies and data from college admissions’ officers, this study provides evidence that homeschooling is a viable alternative to traditional schools as a path to college. Despite these findings, there are several opponents and detractors of homeschooling. Brian D. Ray concludes section one as he reviews opposition to homeschooling in his article, which evaluates several development variables and finds generally positive outcomes for homeschooled students. Further, Ray argues that opponents to homeschooling are typically such as a result of a belief in the role of the state to educate and align students’ views with those of the state in the process.

The second section begins a forum for discourse and disputation on the subject as homeschooling, with Perry L. Glanzer leading off by contesting that homeschooling is a necessary mechanism of saving America from what he calls “Democratic Education.” This form of education, he argues, presents a risk of compromising more human forms of education, as there is a constant pursuit of emphasizing the democratic identity and narrative when educating human beings in this country. Charles Howell follows by addressing the concern that because of the lack of conformity to education norms such as quantitative analysis and standardized testing, homeschooling is generally absent from current educational research. This article concludes that a “scientific revolution” is necessary to transcend the current state of neglect in homeschooling research in order to pursue results that would be useful to traditional schoolteachers as well as home-based educators.

Blaine Despres continues the discussion by reviewing previous research in order to expose the factors that prevent homeschooling from emerging as an accepted form of education in America. The article challenges educators and research to reconsider home-based educators as colleagues in an effort to build toward a common goal for students. Far from convinced of the empirical basis for homeschooling, Chrstopher Lubienski, Tiffany Puckett and T. Jameson Brewer challenge the claims and of homeschooling proponents made in an effort to deregulate and further expand home-based education. Through this article, the authors insist on further examination of homeschooling in order to build upon a currently lacking body of research on results. The final article closes the issue by identifying apparent hypocrisy in an argument against homeschooling. Michael Farris states that the opponents of homeschooling generally contest it because it detracts from a liberal education and one that is tolerant of all ways of life. However, he argues, this argument for the banning of homeschooling is illiberal and intolerant at its core. He concludes that tolerance, though valuable, is something that cannot be forced upon another by the power of the state in an effort to homogenize.

The Peabody Journal of Education would like to thank the Guest Editor, Brian Ray, and each individual author for the collective contribution to produce this issue. Further, the Peabody Journal would like to extend its gratitude to Taylor and Francis for its publishing services and the quality work they produce. It is with great pleasure that this issue is delivered to the community of researchers and educational practitioners and it is our hope that both may benefit from the contents located herein.

Journal abstracts are linked to titles.

Introduction: Homeschooling Rising Into the Twenty-First Century: Editor's Introduction

Resisting the Status Quo: The Narratives of Black Homeschoolers in Metro-Atlanta and Metro-D.C.
Fields-Smith & Kisura

Homeschooling and the Question of Socialization Revisited

Confrontation and Cooperation: The Complicated Relationship Between Homeschoolers and Public Schools

Reflections on a Decade of Changes in Homeschooling and the Homeschooled into Higher Education
Gloeckner & Jones

Homeschooling Associated with Beneficial Learner and Societal Outcomes But Educators Do Not Promote It

Saving Democratic Education from Itself: Why We Need Homeschooling

Hostility or Indifference? The Marginalization of Homeschooling in the Education Profession

A Question of Resistance to Home Education and the Culture of School-Based Education

Does homeschooling “work”? Empirical and Theoretical Critiques
Lubienski, Puckett, & Brewer

Tolerance and Liberty: Answering the Academic Left's Challenge to Homeschooling Freedom

Homeschooling Rising: A Few Concluding Observations