The well being of parents who home educate in Australia

My research involves investigating the wellbeing and demographic profile of parents who home educate their children in Australia. This will allow for the first in-depth snapshot of Australian parents who home educate. It will also allow for comparisons between home educating parents and other groups of parents in Australia and with international home educating parents.

While I would like to investigate the impact of home education on the cognitive abilities, literacy, executive functioning and creativity of children, I feel that it is home educating parent variables that needed to be investigated first. My current research project will address this issue. I hope to conduct future research to examine the cognitive abilities of children who are home educated.

Unless we understand the demographic profile (ages, level of education, family make up) and the psychological well being of parents who home educate their children it is very difficult to meaningfully interpret their children’s abilities. Some Canadian research (Martin-Chang, Gould, & Meuse, 2011) has found that some children who are home educated, using structured materials, outperform their school based peers, who in turn out performed children involved in unstructured home education. There has been some other research which has suggested home educated children significantly out perform their school based peers (Rudner, 1999). However, Rudner’s findings do not appear to represent all home educated children as the parental profile was not comparable to the general population in the USA. Ice & Hoover-Dempsey (2011) have suggested that the differences that are seen between home educated children and school children may in fact be as a result of parental variables rather than differences in the children themselves.

Given the above findings it is vital that we gain a far deeper understanding of the parents who home educate before we investigate the child outcomes. When this has been done we will have a greater understanding of whether the differences that have been observed between children who are home educated and those

that are educated at school are as a result of parent characteristics or the education practices being employed.

If you are interested in being involved in this research please click on the link on the home page for more information and to access the online survey.