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A HEURISTIC INQUIRY INTO THE STRESS THAT HOME EDUCATORS EXPERIENCE

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of the stress that families incur when they choose home education as their primary educational method. Extensive studies exist regarding stress that traditional education teacher’s experience. However, the research on stress experienced by parents who are the primary educators of their children is limited. This study endeavored to provide insight and add to the homeeducation body of research. Using a heuristic inquiry research design, nine home educators participated in four data collection methods: a homeschool questionnaire, The Occupational Stress Inventory – Revised (OSI-R), a focus group, and individual interviews. The data revealed five primary unique home education stressors: (a) overwhelming responsibility, (b) dealing with behavior and discipline, (c) choosing curriculum, (d) stereotypes and stigmas, and (e) distractions and extracurricular activities. Additionally, the research revealed five primary flourishers in the home education experience. These included: (a) control and freedom, (b) poignant moments, (c) the right curriculum, (d) supportive spouses, and (e) the greater homeschooling community.

Descriptors: Homeschool, home education, stress.

 

 

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

As America continues into the 21st Century, at the forefront of parents’ minds is a quality education for their children (Hungerford & Wassmer, 2004). In 1925, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that a “child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations” (Kafer, 2009, p. 416). In other words, families have a right to guide their children’s education—a core value in the discussion of school choice. This landmark decision is foundational to the homeschooling movement in the U.S. today (Ray, 2010). As homeschooling increasingly becomes both a viable and desirable option for many American families, this phenomenon and its impact on families warrants additional insight.

 

Background

While homeschooling in America has gained traction in the 21st century, its origin traces back to the colonial years (Aasen, 2010). After the common school movement began in the United States of America, families began systematically ensuring that teachers educated their children outside the home (Gaither, 2008). During this common school movement in the United States, Stevens (2003) noted that the rules were clear: “send your children to school, or face legal sanctions and skeptical in-laws” (p. 91). It was not until the 1960s that parents in America would consider the idea of bringing education back into the family (Yuracko, 2008).

During this time, John Holt (1964), along with other education critics encouraged parents to educate their children at home and take a stand against the bureaucratization and professionalization of the public schools. Those opposing public schools asserted that ...Get Complete Material.


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