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‘More than one way to learn’ : home educated students’ transitions between home and school

By Glenda Mary Jackson


Home schooling is a growing phenomenon in many countries throughout the world. Despite this, little attention has been paid to the relationship between home schooling and mainstream educational institutions. In this study, parents and home educated children who had moved into and/or out of mainstream educational institutions, and educational professionals who had been involved in such transitions were interviewed. This data was analysed using perspectives from historical sociocultural, critical and identity theories. Participant groups discussed common experiences from different perspectives. Students fell into four ability groups – gifted, advanced learners, average and students with learning and/or health difficulties. Less than a quarter of the students interviewed in this study were identified as average students. Parents fell into two groups – those who moved children out of mainstream institutions and those who moved children from home education into mainstream institutions. Professionals, both administrators and teachers, described mostly positive academic and social transition experiences of home educated students. Children who had moved out of mainstream institutions in primary school frequently described their frustration with institutional practices they felt discriminated them from their peers. Students who entered or returned to secondary school appreciated access to expert knowledge, peer mediation, inclusive professionals and socialisation experiences with peers. Themes arising from the data included learning opportunities at home and in mainstream educational institutions, student autonomy, the development of student identity in the culturally different environments of home and mainstream educational institutions, socialisation, professional practices and institutional structures. Recommendations for future practice and policy direction, and areas for further research were identified. In conclusion, home educated students are moving into and out of mainstream educational institutions and benefiting academically, socially and through personal development from their transition experiences in both directions

Topics: Home education, Home schooling, Alternative education, Transition, Student perspectives, Self concepts
Publisher: Monash University. Faculty of Education
Year: 2009
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