Faculty members Thurston “Thad” Domina and Ethan Hutt provided background perspective for WUNC’s “The State of Things” program as it examined homeschooling.
The program, which aired Oct. 29, examined the history of homeschooling, why many families choose homeschooling and explored questions about homeschooling’s efficacy in preparing students.
Hutt described some historical background, explaining that there have been several motivations among families choosing to homeschool:
“You get two camps that develop. On the left, you get people who feel like schools represent a pernicious bureaucracy — they represent an attempt to make all students the same, and they’re restrictive. And so you start getting a left movement that really is pushing for deschooling [or] unschooling, trying to remove students from what they consider a negative environment …
“And on the right, you see — in the wake of culture wars — concerns that schools no longer represent community values, [and] a push from the religious side to create communities that have schools that reflect those values,” Hutt said.
Domina described some of the challenges associated with doing research about homeschooling. Only about 3% of American school-aged children are homeschooled, he said, adding that those children are very diverse.
He also said he was concerned about whether homeschooling serves to prepare children for the obligations of citizenry in our society. But he said that he has seen that homeschooling families often taking steps to fill that need for their children.
The program also included comments from two educators who work with homeschooling families.