Home Education Research

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Dr Rebecca English

Sciendo Volume 12 (2021): Issue 1 (June 2021)
Special Issue: Home-Based Education

Abstract: Numbers coming out of education departments in Australia suggest that, even though most Australian schools are open, and families are able to send their children to them, increasing numbers of parents are deciding to keep their children at home for their education (Queensland Government: Department of Education, 2020). It may be that, as the president of Australia’s home education representative body stated during the pandemic, Covid school closures offered a “risk-free trial” of home education (Lever, 2020) by providing an a-posteriori experience of education outside of schools. Building on the Covid experiences, this paper suggests that ‘accidentally falling into’ home education may be significant in understanding parents’ home education choices. Using numbers of home educators from Australia, and the associated data on their location and ages, this paper argues responsibilisation (see Doherty & Dooley, 2018) provides a suitable lens to examine how parents may decide, after an a-posteriori experience such as Covid school closures and previous, often negative, experiences of schooling, to home educate in the medium to long term. This paper proposes that increasing numbers of home educators will be seen in various jurisdictions where families perceive themselves responsibilised to home educate due to Covid as an a-posteriori experiences of home education. The paper proposes these families are ‘accidental’ home educators (English, 2021). By contrast, much more stable is the ‘deliberate’ home education population, those whose choices are based in a-priori beliefs about schooling. The paper proposes that the accidental home education category may be better able to explain the growing numbers of home educators in Australia and across the world, providing a means for governments to respond to the needs of this cohort, and the policies required to manage this population.

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Wave Rock Hyden Australia


Australian Home Education Advisory Service

May 2021

Abstract: Research on home education in Australia has a small but growing presence. Parent reasons for home educating have been extensively explored while student academic success has not attracted much Australian research. Socialisation has been examined in different ways by a number of studies. Demographic material on home educating families has been collected. A few projects have specifically focused on student perceptions of their home education experience while studies of students with specific needs have been conducted by a couple of researchers. Home educator interactions with networks, their use of community resources and their needs for appropriate information have also been analysed. Throughout the research problems with home education were identified. The most contentious issue identified was parent resistance to legislation and regulation. The developing theory of home education has distinguished home education as quite distinct from the education provided in formal schools and institutions. A few researchers have included Distance Education in their definition of home schooling and a few academics have addressed the possibilities of home education in the Australian context.

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Karleen Gribble PhD.


Rebecca English PhD.

International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies (2016)

Abstract: Children who experience maltreatment in their families may be placed in out-of-home care. A large, and increasing, number of children are being raised in these settings in Australia. The history of maltreatment that children in out-of-home care have experienced results in a variety of educational challenges. It is generally believed that schools are best placed to serve the educational needs of these children. However, there is extensive evidence that schools are unable to facilitate learning success for many children in out-of-home care. This paper argues that because home education can provide a low- stress environment and individually tailored learning, it can be an effective method of education for children and young people in out-of-home care. A case study of a home-educated child in out-of-home care is presented.

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