Toward a mixed home-public education: Understanding homeschool curriculum and instruction
Thomas, Jesse Daniel
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There have been more instances in recent years of mixed educational programs across the United States. If this trend continues, a greater amount of communication will be required between homeschooling parents and public school officials. Through surveys and interviews, homeschool curriculum and instructional routines were explored, as well as the perceptions homeschooling parents had of mixed educational opportunities. With over 1000 survey participants, and nine parents selected for interviews, the compiled data were analyzed through open coding techniques. Homeschoolers were generally similar in their selection of the eclectic approach to homeschooling. Important aspects that arose from the routines of homeschoolers included collaboration, community, faith, individualized instruction, and structure. Most parents stated the reason for their routines involved the unique learning style of their children, and other factors included students’ educational interests, availability of community resources, amount of homeschooling experience, faith of the parents, family schedules, special goals of the family, and students’ special needs. Forty-six percent of parents declared they would enroll their children into a mixed educational program. Given ideal mixed educational circumstances, most parents reported they would be attracted to quality extracurricular activities and the advanced courses, teachers, and equipment public schools had to offer. Regarding mixed education programs, important findings included parents’ desire for favorable regulations, respectful parental relations, quality student care, appropriate curriculum and instructional methods, and a reformed school structure. The findings of this research may provide meaningful information to both public school officials and homeschooling families in their collaborative efforts.