Term of Award

Summer 2002

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 1

Dorothy Battle

Committee Member 2

Patrick J. Novotny

Committee Member 3

Robert Stevens

Abstract

This is a study of homeschooling, a growing phenomenon in the United States. I intended to uncover the experiences of homeschooling parents and their children with a particular focus on one homeschooling family in rural Georgia The participants in this research study were a family in which the father was a chiropractor and the mother held a masters degree in education and was employed as his office administrator. There were four children, all of whom were male The mother took primary responsibility for the children's education.

I used narrative inquiry as my methodology of choice for this research (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000).Narrative as phenomena, narrative as method, and narrative as representation of data (He & Phillion, 2001) helped me gather specific tales containing traces of past, present, and future of homeschooling in education. In my inquiry, "education, experience, and life are inextricably intertwined" (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000, p. 5). I engaged in participant observations, collected stories, conducted interviews, and opened up conversations with the participants. By being intimately involved in the daily lives of my participants, I developed an understanding of the complexity of the homeschooling phenomenon. Through a careful examination of the environment in which these children are educated and an intensive encounter with the participants, I discovered the reasons for the increasing popularity of homeschooling with the intention of opening lines of communication between homeschooling parents and public educators.

While much research has been conducted into homeschooling as a phenomenon, very little has been done to connect what homeschooling parents do to educate their children with what public school educators can do to better educate children in schools. This reciprocal educational process can only take place when we are willing to open our minds to honest communication between what are often viewed as opposing camps. There is a large body of research literature on the reasons why parents homeschool but very little on how the curriculum is chosen and implemented in a homeschool setting relevant to the underlying philosophy and beliefs of the homeschooling parents. This study examined these connections with the intention of developing a greater understanding of the experiences of homeschooling families and opening lines of communication between homeschooling parents and public educators.

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