Home schooling as an extreme form of parental involvement
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Home-schooling as an extreme form of parental involvement. Christa L. Green. Purpose. To examine how parental belief systems may lead to involvement behaviors. To examine what beliefs might be associated with a parent’s decision to home-school. Outline. Home-schooling - what is it?

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Purpose l.jpg
Purpose

  • To examine how parental belief systems may lead to involvement behaviors.

  • To examine what beliefs might be associated with a parent’s decision to home-school


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Outline

  • Home-schooling - what is it?

  • Home-school literature

  • Parental involvement literature

  • Hypotheses

  • Methods

  • Results & Discussion


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Home-schooling? What’s that?

  • Education of school-aged children at home rather than public or private schools

  • A growing trend in the U.S.

    • 1999: 850,000 students (1.7% of K-12 students)

    • 2003: 1.1 million students (2.2% of K-12 students)

  • Legal in all states since 1993.

  • “Permission” to home-school simple process for parents

    (Basham, 2001; Bielick, Chandler & Broughman, 2002; Princlotta, Bielick, & Chapman, 2004)


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Home-schooling Literature

  • Largely ethnographic in nature

  • Literature suggests parents home-school for 4 reasons:

    • ideological beliefs

    • pedagogical beliefs

    • negative experiences with public schools

    • concerns about appropriate education for child’s needs

      (Basham, 2001; Bielick et al., 2002; Knowles,1988; and Van Galen, 1988)


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Next steps for home-school researchers

  • More systematic investigation of home schooling

  • Focus on psychological variables influencing parent decision

  • Apply parent involvement literature to home schooling


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Parental involvement literature

  • Involvement is best understood as parents’ investment of varied resources in children’s education (e.g. parent-child communication about schoolwork, supervision of homework)

  • Involvement is often motivated by:

    • Psychological processes

    • Perceptions of invitations from others

    • Perceptions of life context variables

      (Fan & Chen, 2001; Grolnick et al., 1997; Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 1995, 1997; Kay et al., 1994; Sheldon, 2002.)



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Constructs

In my study, I examined:

  • Psychological motivators

  • Life context variables

    (but NOT invitations for involvement from others)

    I will also be examining a new set of constructs:

  • Personal beliefs related to home-schooling


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Constructs - Psychological motivators

Role Construction - two approaches:

  • Role construction: activity beliefs and role valence

  • Role construction: patterns, including:

    • parent-focused

    • partnership-focused

  • Efficacy - parent beliefs about personal ability to help children succeed in school.

    (Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 1997)


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Constructs - Life Context

  • Perceptions of Time and Energy for Involvement - Important because home-schooling parents teach the child, supervise work, plan extracurricular activities

  • Perceptions of Knowledge and Skills for Involvement - Important because parents need skills necessary for teaching, knowledge about teaching methods


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Constructs - Beliefs related to home-schooling

From the literature:

  • Ideological Beliefs

  • Pedagogical Beliefs

    Constructs new in home-school literature:

  • Value Beliefs

  • Beliefs Regarding the Child’s Special Needs


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Measures overview

Psychological motivators:

  • Role Construction

    • Patterns: parent and partnership-focused

    • Activity beliefs and valence beliefs

  • Efficacy

    Perceptions of Life Context

  • Time & Energy

  • Knowledge & Skills

    Personal beliefs related to home-schooling

  • Ideological

  • Pedagogical

  • Value

  • Special needs


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Hypothesis 1

Parents home-school for three major reasons:

  • psychological motivators encourage them to do so

  • life context variables allow them to do so

  • personal beliefs suggest the necessity of home-schooling


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Hypothesis 2

  • Home-school parents will have high scores (compared to a sample of public school parents) on psychological motivators and life context variables


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Hypothesis 3

  • Most home-school parents will have a parent-focused role-construction

    • These parents will report high levels of efficacy, knowledge and skills, and time and energy

  • Home-school parents who endorse a partnership-focused role construction will report high levels only of time and energy


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Hypothesis 4

  • Parents who hold a parent-focused role construction will be more likely to endorse personal beliefs related to pedagogical and special needs.

  • Parents who hold a partnership-focused role construction will be more likely to endorse value and ideological personal beliefs.


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Methods - how do you recruit home-schoolers?

Targeted, non-probability sampling through:

  • curriculum fairs

  • home-school support groups

  • national home education advocacy groups


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Methods - sample

  • Surveys were sent to ~ 250 home-school parents of elementary school-aged children; 136 returned completed surveys. (54.4% response rate)

  • Previously collected data from a sample of 358 public school parents (see Walker et al., in press) were used to compare home-school parents with public school parents on

    • Psychological motivation

    • Perceptions of life context


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Demographic

  • 95% of the sample were white.

  • 58% of the mothers had a college degree, 20% of whom held a degree in education.

  • Most of the fathers held jobs as “professional executives” (54%), and 56% of the fathers had a college degree.

  • Family income was on average over $50,000.


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Scale reliability and validity

  • Psychological Motivators

Example item:


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Scale reliability and validity

  • Life Context & Personal Beliefs


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Results - general

Home-school parents recorded:

  • Highly active role beliefs: M = 5.57 (1-6), SD = .41

  • High efficacy levels: M = 5.35 (2-6), SD = .51

  • Positive perceptions of life context:

    • time and energy: M = 5.32 (2-6), SD = .54

    • knowledge and skills: M = 5.32 (2-6), SD = .50.

  • Strong evaluations of the personal beliefs; e.g.,

    • Value beliefs: M = 1.97 (1-6), SD =.85


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Results - Hypothesis 1

  • Parents home-school for three major reasons: psychological motivators encourage them to do so, life context variables allow them to do so, and personal beliefs suggest the necessity of home-schooling


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Results - Hypothesis 1

Factor analyses suggested reconfiguring 3 original categories of constructs for this group of home-school parents:

  • What a parent can do

  • What a parent should do

  • What a parent has experienced




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Results - Hypothesis 2

  • Home-school parents will have high scores (compared to a sample of public school parents) on psychological motivators and life context variables.


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Results - Hypothesis 2

  • When compared to public school parents, home-school parents recorded large positive effects in role activity, efficacy, time and energy, and knowledge and skills.

  • Public school parents recorded a medium-large effect size in valence towards public schools when compared to home-school parents.



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Results - Hypothesis 2

  • Hierarchical regression indicated that parent perceptions of efficacy, time and energy, role activity beliefs and role valence accounted for a significant portion of the variance in whether a parent home- or public-schooled, adjusted R = .40, F = 80.762 p < .000


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Results - Hypothesis 2

Overall, these results suggest that parents who home-school do so because:

  • they believe that they can (have ability, time, energy)

  • believe they should (role activity beliefs)

  • have had negative experiences with public schools (role valence).


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Results - Hypothesis 3

  • Most home-school parents will have a parent-focused role-construction.

  • These parents will have higher levels of efficacy, knowledge and skills than parents who endorse a partnership-focused role construction.


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Results - Hypothesis 3

  • More home-school parents endorsed a parent-focused role construction (74%) than partnership-focused role construction (30%) (endorsement defined as 5.5 or higher on the role construction pattern).

  • Parent-focused role construction was correlated with

    • time and energy (r = .54)

    • knowledge and skills (r = .40)

    • efficacy (r = .37)

  • Partnership-focused role construction was related only to time and energy (r = .30).

    All p<.05


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Results - Hypothesis 4

  • Parents who endorsed a parent-focused role construction will be more likely to endorse personal beliefs related to pedagogical and special needs.

  • Parents who endorsed a partnership-focused role construction will be more likely to endorse value and ideological personal beliefs.


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Results - Hypothesis 4

** p<.01, * p<.05


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Results - Hypothesis 4

  • So, this hypothesis was not fully supported

  • I examined parents’ explanations of why they home-schooled from the comment section of the survey


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Results - Hypothesis 4

  • Parent-focused role construction “People who do not home-school tend to assume it is done in reaction against institutional schooling…. To me, home-schooling was a positive choice rather than a reaction against the school system.”


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Results - Hypothesis 4

  • Partnership-focused role construction “When we began home-schooling, we lived within a public school that was extremely poor… we could not afford private schools… someone suggested home-schooling, we researched it and opted to try it.”


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Summary

  • Parents decide to home-school for reasons related to psychological motivators, perceptions of life context and personal beliefs.

  • Many of these reasons are similar to those motivating many public school parents’ decisions about involvement in their children’s schooling.


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Summary - continued

BUT there are some differences:

  • Parents who home-school are motivated not only by the psychological and life-context variables, but also by their personal beliefs related to schooling.


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Summary - continued

These findings suggest that

  • parents’ choose to home-school for reasons that are more diverse than implied in earlier home-school literature

  • these reasons are more similar to public school parents’ motives for involvement than might have been anticipated


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What’s the big picture?

This study:

  • broadens our understanding of parental involvement in children’s education, as it highlights a population that is clearly involved in children’s education but in a very non-standard way

  • adds to the literature base on home-schooling by examining the home-school parents in a systematic, empirical manner

  • increases understanding of parents’ decisions about home-schooling


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Next Steps

  • Continue to develop and refine concepts & measures for home-school parents

  • Apply home-school concepts and measures (e.g. personal beliefs) to a sample of public and private school parents

  • Continue to explore how parental involvement constructs might apply to many diverse groups


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Thank you!

  • Thank you to all who helped with this research, including Howard Sandler, Kathy Hoover-Dempsey, Joan Walker, Kate Raser, and my office mates - Brian Verdine & Ally Presmanes


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