Homeschooling and Libraries

Things I'm thinking about and learning while working with homeschoolers and writing Helping Homeschoolers in the Library for ALA Editions.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Report from the National Center for Education Statistics

It's hard to get statistics on homeschoolers for all sorts of reasons: many guard their privacy, the definition of "homeschooling" varies from state to state (and even district to district), and it's hard to get a statistically significant sample together. That said, the National Center for Education Statistics has an interesting report on homeschoolers and homeschooling. The statistics themselves are interesting, but I was also interested in the discussion of how difficult it is to gather data and draw conclusions on this population. It's also interesting (and perhaps hopeful for the movement) that the report frequently refers to public and private schools as "other" schools, giving homeschooling semantic legitimacy as a valid school, which I think is great.

1 Comments:

  • At 11:32 AM, Blogger Marcia said…

    Perhaps the second try will work: I tried to respond to this in early May, but perhaps Blogger just doesn't like me?

    Along with the one-word conundrum (homeschooling vs. home schooling) and the whole question of classification of homeschoolers by approach or religion, there is a core question of what makes a homeschooler. In some states, homeschoolers are permitted to participate in SOME academic courses; are these homeschoolers? Even the "center" you list (in Edmonton?) undoubtedly relies on many school-like rules for ease of operation (registration, liability, teacher contracts, acceptable behavior, etc.). To my mind, the quantity of rules as a determiner (or underminer) of available flexibility to meet an individual child's needs is a pretty good gauge of whether a child is "homeschooled."

    In the community of "unschoolers," in particular, are also many who would prefer NOT to borrow authority from the recent historical experiment of universal/regimented schooling, which we have chosen to reject. "Schooling," as you note, is a pretty recent phenomenon, but raising and educating kids has been going on (without nomenclature, for most of history!) amongst numerous species since time began. It seems odd to some of us that this historically highly effective method needs to have a name connecting it with a modern experimental mode of education.

     

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