The Accidental Home Educator: A New Conceptualisation of Home Education Choice

The Accidental Home Educator: A New Conceptualisation of Home Education Choice

Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6681-7.ch003
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Previous conceptions of the choice to home educate have focused on a dualism between ideology and pedagogy. Indeed, the discussion around home education choice frequently falls back onto these two categories to explore and explain the choice to home educate. Using empirical literature on the choice to home educate that presents the experiences of families who home educate, this chapter instead proposes a different dichotomy. Rather than ideologues and pedagogues, this chapter proposes there are two choosers based on their a priori/a posteriori relationship with schooling for their children, and, instead, they choose either because of ideological or pedagogical reasons; rather, they choose either deliberately or accidentally. Using the theoretical lens of responsibilisation, this chapter argues parents are responsibilised toward home education in response to risks they perceive. These risks could be experienced a posteriori, through direct exposure to their child's schooling, or a priori, through a belief about what schools are like.
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Research On Education Choice And The Notion Of Responsibilisation

Research into education choice frequently explores it in relation to the social class of the parents who make the choice (Ball, Bowe & Gerwitz, 1996; Reay, 1998; Ball, Davis, David & Reay, 2002; Thompson, 2018). Many of these studies take a Bourdieusian approach (cf. Ball, Bowe & Gerwitz, 1996; Reay, 1998; James, 2015; Byrne & Devine, 2017) to argue that a schools’ ability to reflect the middle class, valued cultural and social capital of the family is highly sought after. Many of these studies have considered the role of mothers in education (Lareau, 2000). These studies argue that education is ‘women’s work’ in which women are relied upon to provide early childhood education to prepare children for school and, when there, to supplement their children’s school education with enriching activities, assistance with, and the management of, homework and co-curricular tasks (Lareau, 1987; 2000; 2002; 2011; Griffiths & Smith, 2005).

These studies argue that educational success is predicated on mothers’ work in supporting the education of their children (Griffith & Smith, 2005). They also find that this work, and the success their children experience, is not only gendered, it is also classed in the sense that women who are middle class are more likely to have their children experience success in school (Lareau, 2000). The significance here is that schooling success is largely determined by social class status and parental involvement due to that status (Reay, 2005; Kenway & Koh, 2015). There is, in many studies, a direct correlation drawn between the social class of the child’s family and the success these children experience in schools.

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