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Educational policy analysis archives
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Educational policy analysis archives.
n Vol. 7, no. 27 (September 06, 1999).
Tempe, Ariz. :
b Arizona State University ;
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida.
c September 06, 1999
Homeschooling and the redefinition of citizenship / A. Bruce Arai.
x Research
v Periodicals.
2 710
Arizona State University.
University of South Florida.
1 773
t Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA)
4 856


1 of 15 Education Policy Analysis Archives Volume 7 Number 27September 6, 1999ISSN 1068-2341 A peer-reviewed scholarly electronic journal Editor: Gene V Glass, College of Education Arizona State University Copyright 1999, the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES. Permission is hereby granted to copy any article if EPAA is credited and copies are not sold. Articles appearing in EPAA are abstracted in the Current Index to Journals in Education by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation and are permanently archived in Resources in Education Homeschooling and the Redefinition of Citizenship A. Bruce Arai Wilfrid Laurier University AbstractHomeschooling has grown considerably in many countr ies over the past two or three decades. To date, most research has fo cused either on comparisons between schooled and homeschooled child ren, or on finding out why parents choose to educate their chi ldren at home. There has been little consideration of the importance of homeschooling for the more general issue of citizenship, and whether peop le can be good citizens without going to school. This paper review s the research on homeschooling, as well as the major objections to i t, and frames these debates within the broader issues of citizenship an d citizenship education. The paper shows that homeschoolers are c arving out a different but equally valid understanding of citize nship and that policies which encourage a diversity of understandings of go od citizenship should form the basis citizenship education both fo r schools and homeschoolers.Introduction There has been a heightened interest in homeschooling in both popular and academic circles in recent years. The numbers of ho meschoolers across North America, Australia and Western Europe have grown significant ly over the past two decades (Knowles, Marlow and Muchmore, 1992; Thomas, 1998), and this growth shows no sign


2 of 15of abating. The number of "how-to" manuals has expl oded, as has the number of support groups and regional, national and international sup port organizations. Most of the debates about homeschooling have been framed as primarily educational issues. For example, the most common th eme in discussions of homeschooling is whether or not homeschooled kids a re disadvantaged in the education they receive, versus children who attend regular sc hool (Rudner, 1999). Other issues which have received significant attention are the l egality of the practice (Marlow, 1994), the motivations of parents to homeschool (Knowles, 1991; Mayberry, 1988; Mayberry and Knowles, 1989), and the different ways in which homeschooling is accomplished (Mayberry, 1993; Thomas, 1998). In most of these di scussions, the implications of homeschooling for citizenship are downplayed in fav our of educational or methodological concerns. However, the broader issue of the place of homeschooling in contemporary democratic societies can be better understood as a more fundamental debate about the nature of citizenship, and the place of the school as a major agent of socialization in the construction of citizens. In short, most of the con cerns about and objections to homeschooling are worries about whether homeschoole d children will grow up to be good citizens. This paper begins with an overview of t he major objections to homeschooling, and how these objections can be seen as concerns ab out citizenship. The next section summarizes international trends in citizenship educ ation in schools, especially the concept of multidimensional citizenship. This is fo llowed by a review of the international evidence on homeschooling, and how ho meschoolers are implicitly creating a different vision of citizenship by keepi ng their children out of school. Finally, some policy implications, for schools and for homes choolers, are outlined.Objections to homeschooling When parents decide to homeschool their children, they face many hurdles. These include self-doubt about their decision, worr ies about the reactions of family and friends, bureaucratic interference from school offi cials, and sometimes even problems with the legality of their decision, depending on h ow they choose to pursue homeschooling and the laws of their jurisdiction (M arlow, 1994; Mayberry, et al., 1995). But the most common question which homeschoolers he ar, from bureaucrats, educators, teachers, family and friends alike is, "What about socialization?" (Holt, 1981; 1983) Socialization The "socialization question", as it is known among homeschoolers, is actually an omnibus inquiry which usually leads more specific q uestions. Homeschooled parents are often asked questions like, "Don't you worry that y our kids will grow up to be weird?", "How will you prepare them for the real world?", or "Will they be able to get job?" These are really concerns about homeschoolers not p articipating in one of our most important institutions of proper socialization. It is useful to break this larger question about socialization down into its major components. The inability to cope. One of the interpretations of the socialization qu estion is that students who are homeschooled will not be able to cope with the harsh realities of life beyond their family environment (see Luffman, 1997). In school, the argument goes, children learn valuable skills such as the ability to work with others, to handle interpersonal conflicts, work in groups or teams an d to make personal sacrifices for the


3 of 15betterment of the group. These are vital skills lat er in life. Homeschooled children, who will not necessarily acquire these skills because o f the protective cocoon of the home, will then be at a disadvantage when they grow up. ( Menendez, 1996). A different version of the same argumen t is that homeschooled children will be unprepared for the harsh and competitive nature of the labour market. They will then turn to government assistance, their parents, or a life on the margins of society in an attempt to reproduce the utopian bubble in which th ey were raised. In either version, parents are doing their children a great disservice by not giving them the opportunity to learn these skills at school. This quickly leads to a conclusion about the desirability of compulsory schooling, which will be addressed later But the point here is that without school, and the valuable "job skills" it teaches, h omeschooled children will not be willing or able to compete with their schooled coun terparts (Pfleger, 1998; see also Webb, 1989). In addition to job skills, schools teac h children a great deal about social expectations (Pfleger, 1998). Standards of behaviou r, dress, etiquette and morality are all powerfully reinforced through schooling. That is, s chool "normalizes" people because they learn important social norms and their sanctio ns, even if they choose not to follow them. School provides a kind of "informed consent" in that people who choose to ignore social prescriptions do so in full awareness of the penalties that they will likely encounter. Homeschooled children do not receive thi s majoritarian filtering of norms, but are more likely to pick up their parents idiosy ncratic understandings of the world. They will again be disadvantaged because they will not realize what constitutes conforming and unconforming behaviour once they lea ve the family and enter the wider society (see Taylor, 1986). Bias and narrow curricular content. A second issue which is sometimes referred to by the socialization question is whether or not parents can provide their children with a sufficiently broad education. In school, critics argue, children are exposed to many different teachers, each with their own areas of ex pertise. No parent, no matter how intelligent and dedicated, could possibly provide t his breadth of understanding for their children. The necessary conclusion, if these premis ses are valid, is that schooled children receive a better education than homeschooled childr en (Menendez, 1996). Many of these critics will admit though that homeschooled childre n receive much more individual attention than children in school, and that this ma y offset some of the advantages of having many teachers. The problem of bias and narrow curricul ar content is more serious when parents deliberately set out to teach their children a "dis torted" or erroneous view of the world. This claim is usually reserved for those people who keep their children out of school because they want to teach them a dogmatic view of the world, such as a belief in creationism. Occasionally, people who try to instil l "new age" values or beliefs in their children are accused of bias. There are two problem s with people who teach their kids a distorted view of the world according to this argum ent. First, there is the problem that these parents know full well what the dominant social attitudes, beliefs and understandings are, a nd they have deliberately chosen to teach their kids something else. These people are n ot good citizens because they are purposefully flouting established conventions and d isadvantaging their children in the process (Menendez, 1996). The second problem is rel ated to the problem of the inability of homeschooled children to cope in the real world. Because these kids have been fed a biased and inaccurate view of the world, they will not fit into the wider society when they are forced to live on their own. If these home schoolers are returned to school at some point, it is the school system and taxpayers w ho have to provide the resources to


4 of 15correct mistakes made by the parents (Pfleger, 1998 ). Lack of exposure to others. A final major thread of the socialization objectio n to homeschooling is that homeschooled children do not receive enough exposure to other people and their distinctive ways of life. Especial ly in this era of many cultures, schools teach students from extremely diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. All students benefit from this diversity because they learn abou t other ways of life, and the values of tolerance, difference and novelty. Homeschoolers on the other hand, do not receive this exposure because they are cooped up in the home. No t only is this a less enriching environment, but it can undermine social cooperatio n if homeschoolers do not learn the value of tolerance of others. Homeschooling, accord ing to this argument, runs the danger of producing a less unified culture, including peop le with higher levels of prejudice than if everyone went to school (Menendez, 1996). All of these criticisms about the lack of socialization for homeschooled versus schooled children are primarily about what schools teach beyond the regular curriculum. That is, the value of tolerance and cooperation, an awareness of the dominant culture, and a broad perspective on life are not things whic h are taught directly, but which children learn in order to participate in the forma l lessons of school. So these are things that homeschoolers cannot teach their children by s imply picking up a book and lecturing out of it. These are "life skills" which can be taught most effectively through school because of its communal organization.Elitism Homeschoolers have also been accused of being elitist. The argument takes one of two forms. The first one is that the current pub lic system is in disarray, but parents have a duty to try to improve that system to make i t better for all children. Taking a child out of school may be fine for that one student, but it does nothing to improve the situation for all of the other children who are lef t in school. Homeschooling then, is an ungenerous act because those parents who choose it are shirking their duty to the other families who stay in the system (Menendez, 1996). I n addition, if middle and upper class parents leave the school, this removes active and c oncerned parents who might otherwise fight for improvements. Occasionally, thi s criticism takes on a class or ethnic dimension as well. That is, homeschooling may be a viable solution to poor schools for middle and upper class families with a stay-at-home parent, but it is not an option for the lower classes where both parents must work in order to survive. Since ethnic minorities are over-represented in the lower classes, homescho oling is a way for ethnic elites to protect the education of their own children while a bandoning children from other ethnic backgrounds. A second version of the elitism critici sm of homeschooling is that homeschooling can only be done by parents with high levels of education. The argument is that homeschooling may work for the well-educate d elites because they have the ability to teach their kids at home. But for people who don't have high levels of education, they must rely on the public school syst em (Menendez, 1996). Again, this is a way for elites to maintain privilege. The interesti ng thing about both versions of the elitist argument is that its implications for the p ublic school system contrast sharply with the socialization arguments above. In the socializa tion arguments, school was seen as superior to homeschooling while in the elitist argu ment school is viewed as inferior to the home, at least for elites.Higher education


5 of 15 Another worry of critics of homeschooli ng is that homeschooled kids will be disadvantaged in their abilities to apply for postsecondary education opportunities. This criticism is different from all of the other critic isms because it is a concern that is shared by homeschoolers. The argument from the critics is that homeschoolers will not have the credentials (namely a high school or equivalent dip loma) to apply for college, trade school or university. Therefore, homeschooled child ren will be forced either to go to school anyway to earn these credentials, or to demo nstrate their abilities through some other means. This can prove difficult because most post-secondary institutions have little or no experience or interest in evaluating the qual ifications of homeschooled applicants. Again, the criticism is that children will be punis hed for unwise parental decisions. Citizenship and choice in education All of the above criticisms of homescho oling are really concerns about parental choice in education, and the conflict between paren tal rights and state rights in education Worries about coping in the real world, getting alo ng with others, working for the common good rather than individual privilege and be ing able to contribute to society through higher education are all based on a vision of what good citizens do. Because of this, they are also concerns about citizenship and whether or not homeschoolers will fit into the larger society in the proper ways. One of the most sophisticated arguments against parental choice in education, including the choice to homeschool, is Eammon Calla n's (1997) Creating Citizens: Political Education and Liberal Democracy (see also Callan,1995). Callan's argument stems from the ongoing debates in political philoso phy concerning the nature of rights, democracy, rationality, fairness and justice, and h ow we can construct schools which promote these principles. He argues that a true com mon school, in which all students receive a common curriculum, with some reasonable d epartures, provides the best way of ensuring a vibrant sense of citizenship among pr esent and future generations. This sense of citizenship is built around the virtues of a critical tolerance of diversity, the power of rational thought and argument, and commitm ent to a defensible moral code. Citizens who develop these graces will have an unde rstanding of the world which will give them the freedom to choose how they live their life, which is the ultimate aim of the liberal democratic state. Moreover, it is through c ommon schooling that these attributes are best developed. As Callan wrote, Schooling is likely the most promising institutiona l vehicle for that understanding since the other, extra-familial socia l influences that impinge heavily on childrens' and adolescents' lives--peer groups, the mass media of communication and entertainment--do not readily len d themselves to that end (Callan, 1997, p. 133). Callan has in mind a very particular fo rm of schooling here which he refers to as "schooling as the great sphere" (Callan, 1997, p. 1 34). This is a form of schooling in which children are helped to explore the world and in the process they acquire the abilities to decide for themselves how and where th ey wish to live in that world. Callan further argues that schooling as the great sphere s hould be mandatory for all children, except in some clearly defined circumstances. The r eason is that the preservation of a liberal democratic state depends on it. As he wrote The need to perpetuate fidelity to liberal democrat ic institutions and values


6 of 15from one generation to another suggests that there are some inescapably shared educational aims, even if the pursuit of the se conflicts with the convictions of some citizens. (Callan, 1997, p. 9) This is reminiscent of the early mandat e of public education systems to provide the people of the country with the skills to allow them to become proper citizens (Wong, 1997). The key question concerning homeschooling, t hen, is when is it permissible to not send a child to a common school. Callan has arg ued that parents have a right to keep their children out of school in only two circumstan ces. The first is when a parent's right to freedom of association with their children would be jeopardized by sending them to school. If the teachings of the common school would so alienate a parent from a child that they could no longer sustain an adequate paren t-child relationship, then the state must allow these parents to keep their children out of a common school. The second situation is when a community creates a separate ed ucational system which helps preserve the integrity of that community. For examp le, if a distinct community was able to construct a set of educational institutions, and these institutions were necessary to preserve the integrity of that community, then the state should grant children in that community an exemption from the common school. The example he uses is an Amish community that cannot preserve its integrity if its children attend a common school. However, Callan is clear that these are very unusual circumstances, and exemptions are only to be granted after careful scr utiny of each case. One cannot keep their child out of school simply because they think it is in the best interests of the child to do so. He explicitly argues that parents do not have the right to reject great sphere schooling for their children. The reason is that th is would interfere with the child's future "zone of personal sovereignty" (Callan, 1997:155) b y keeping the child "ethically servile" (Callan, 1997:155) to her or his parents. Children who are ethically servile to their parents are those who have been raised in "ig norant antipathy" toward all points of view other than that of their parents. In other wor ds, parents do not have the right to keep their children out of a common, great sphere s chool because they could be brainwashed into believing in only their parents ve ry limited view of the world. This is not only harmful for the child so brainwashed, but also for the larger society. As Callan wrote, Large moral losses are incurred by permitting paren ts to rear their children in disregard of the minima of political education a nd their children's right to an education that protects their prospective intere st in sovereignty (Callan, 1997, p. 176). Further, he argues that, "Those who wou ld argue for the right of parents to veto the great sphere are effectively demanding a right to keep their children ethically servile" (Callan, 1997, p. 155). In Callan's argument, the p ersonal rights of the child are connected with state rights to the preservation of liberal democracy to cancel out parental rights to make choices about their childre n's education. There appears to be little room in his proposal for homeschooling. Home schooling would only seem possible under extreme circumstances when parents would be a t risk of losing their relationship with their children, or if they happened to belong to a community in which homeschooling was the chosen method of preserving a distinctive way of life. But since the reason for requiring attendance at school is to help create good citizens, the issue becomes what sort of citizenship education children receive in school.


7 of 15Citizenship and citizenship education The concept of citizenship is interesti ng because while there is general agreement about some of the elements which form a core defini tion of the concept, there is wide disagreement about its final composition, and which elements should receive more prominence than others. Most understandings of citi zenship include some combination of five elements: group identification; rights or e ntitlements; responsibilities or duties; public participation, and; common values (Derricott et al., 1998; Touraine, 1997; Callan, 1997). Various models of citizenship have b een proposed and debated (see Delanty, 1997 for a good review of the major positi ons), but there is no single vision of citizenship which is acceptable to all. Perhaps thi s is not surprising given that citizenship is a fundamentally political concept. Similarly, th ere are many different proposals about the nature and content of citizenship education. Starting with the earliest ideas of cit izenship, there was an important distinction between good people and good citizens in ancient Gr eece. Good people lived their lives according to a set of legitimate moral principles, but good citizens carried the additional burden of participating actively in the public life of the society (Cogan, 1998). And this participation required a certain level of education With the development of industrial capi talism and the rise of public education, the school became a primary site for citizenship ed ucation (McKenzie, 1993). Early versions of citizenship education in most countries stressed several elements including nationalism and national history, individual rights and responsibilities and factual information about a country's geography and systems of governance (MacKenzie, 1993; Wong, 1997). In many cases, schools continued to em phasize one's duty to participate in the public life of the society. In these early year s, participation meant not only following political events and voting in elections (if one ha d the right to vote) but also working within the local and church communities to which on e belonged. That is, children were taught that they have a duty to work actively to im prove the conditions of life for themselves and others in their immediate environmen t (Fogelman, 1991; Wong, 1997). Over time, more and more emphasis was p laced on "civics," or the facts about a country's political system, and less attention was paid to participation and community identification, beyond formal political participati on in elections. In many countries, citizenship education was confined to history cours es, and later to social studies courses (McKenzie, 1993; Wong, 1997). This led to the teach ing of a more formalistic understanding of citizenship, one which stressed ri ghts and responsibilities rather than participation and group identification. When partic ipation was stressed, the fear was that it was incomplete and did not result in strong bond s between individuals and their communities. As Touraine (1997:146) says, "In today 's mass society, everyone talks of participation; but participation tends to mean diss olving into what David Riesman called "The Lonely Crowd"". In other words, in many school s participation was a rather vacuous moral injunction to be publicly involved. T his has begun to change with the development of "community service" elements in many curriculums (Cogan and Derrricott, 1998; Fogelman, 1991; MacKenzie, 1993). Schools appear to be rediscovering that participation in the daily event s of life are important for the education of proper citizens. Fogelman has shown that although citize nship education has stressed public involvement, there is a clear difference between th e attitudes and behaviours of students. In a survey of British students, many of them repor ted that public involvement, especially in helping others, is important but very few students were actually involved in these activities. For example, the percentage of st udents who thought charitable work


8 of 15Homeschooling and citizenship Moving beyond homeschoolers responses t o criticisms levelled at them to the larger body of research on homeschooling, there is evidence to suggest that homeschoolers appear to be involved in a process of constructing an alternative vision of citizenship for them and their children, albeit lar gely implicitly. Consistent with the notion of multidimensional citizenship, homeschoole rs are involved in combining a different mix of attributes to become good citizens In particular, they emphasize participation and the importance of family as the b asis of a different definition of citizenship. In school, citizenship education emphas izes history, geography and social studies lessons, with some limited participation in extra-c urricular activities both inside and outside the school. However, as Fogelman (1991) sho ws, the amount of extra-curricular participation is limited. For homeschoolers, partic ipation in the public sphere is a more important component of their education. They are mu ch more involved in things like volunteer work than schooled children, which also f urther offsets socialization criticisms. For example, Ray (1994: 1999) found tha t over 30% of homeschooled kids 5 years old or older in both the US and Canada were a ctively involved in volunteer work, compared to the 6 to 12% found by Fogelman for scho oled kids. In other activities, homeschooled kids also exhibit high participation levels, although perhaps not any higher than schooled child ren. In the same surveys noted above, Ray found that 98% of homeschooled kids in t he US were involved in 2 or more regular activities outside the home (Ray, 1999) and that Canadian homeschoolers had an average of almost 9 hours per week of contact with nonfamily adults and over 12 hours per week of contact with non-sibling children (Ray, 1994). And while the generalizability of these results must be treated w ith some caution, there is some evidence to substantiate the claim that homeschoole d kids are very involved in activities outside the home. This suggests that homeschooled k ids and their parents are keen to integrate into the wider society rather than pullin g back from it, as is commonly presumed. Mayberry and Knowles (1989), Knowles (1 991) and Mayberry (1988) have also shown that "family unity" is a major factor in many parents' decisions to educate their kids at home. They feel that homeschooling promotes or at least allows them to have much stronger relationships with their children tha n would be possible if they went to school. These parents feel that these strong relati onships are important not just for them but for two important characteristics in their chil dren as well. First, children with strong family rela tionships have the confidence to explore the world in challenging and sometimes unconventional w ays. For instance, Thomas (1998) suggests that strong family bonds allow children to learn at their own pace, to maintain a heightened level of curiosity and to be involved in intense learning processes. As he says, "At home, on the other hand, children spend m ost of their time at the frontiers of their learning. Their parents are fully aware of wh at they already know and of the next step to be learned. Learning is therefore more dema nding and intensive" (Thomas, 1998, p. 46). Homeschooling parents also feel that a strong family will give their children the ability and the confidence to be more independent a nd to think for themselves. Indeed, raising kids who are willing and able to think for themselves is a primary goal many homeschooling parents (Knowles, 1991; Thomas, 1998) There is also some evidence to suggest that homeschooled kids see their relationsh ips with their families as crucial to their own independence (Sheffer, 1997). It may be t he case then that some


9 of 15homeschoolers would fall under Callan's "freedom of association" exemption from mandatory great sphere schooling. That is, strong f amily bonds, whether they are the motivation for or an effect of homeschooling could be jeopardized by not allowing parents the right to homeschool. The strong bonds in homeschooling famil ies are also thought to be the basis of deliberate and informed participation in the larger society, especially later in life (Sheffer, 1997). Many homeschooling parents find th e level of consumerism and/or materialism in the "dominant society" to be too hig h and they want their kids to be able to resist these intense pressures. Some homeschooli ng parents have pulled their kids out of school because of the peer pressure and the avai lability of drugs and alcohol, while others mentioned that the pressure to be part of th e "in crowd" was antithetical to the way they wished to raise their children (Marshall a nd Valle, 1996). Homeschooling then, is a way to live out a lifestyle which is somewhat different from the norm and to raise their children to make their own decisions about ho w they wish to live. In other words, these parents share Callan's vision of raising and educating children to make informed and reasonable choices about their lives.Policy Implications While the form and content of citizensh ip education among homeschoolers is clearly different from what children receive in sch ool, it is not an inferior experience. Homeschoolers, in other words, can be good citizens Here I have argued that homeschoolers, despite being accused of not being g ood citizens, are actually engaged in a process of defining their own vision of what it m eans to be a citizen. They clearly do not believe that compulsory schooling is a necessar y prerequisite of adequate citizenship and they prefer to stress the importance of family and participation in public activities as the basis of their understanding of the good citize n. The key issue now is what this implies for educational policies about homeschoolin g and compulsory schooling. The major implication for compulsory sc hooling in this paper is that schools cannot be the only, or even the primary, agent of c itizenship education for all children. Homeschooled kids can be good citizens, even if the ir vision of citizenship is somewhat different than that taught in schools. This undermi nes the arguments that schooling should be compulsory for all children in order to p reserve "democracy", and that wanting a right to not send children to a common school is necessarily to want to keep them ethically servile. Most homeschooled children and t heir parents, just like most schooled children and their parents, are fervent supporters of democracy and have no interest in ethical servility. Schooling is not an antidote to ethical servility, and policies surrounding the compulsory nature of school should be re-examined i n light of this. Specifically, the need to educate all children to be good citizens ha s always been a cornerstone of mandatory schooling policies, so if these policies are to be retained, they need to account for the fact that children can become good citizens without going to school. This is not to suggest that a rationale for compulsory schoolin g is impossible, but only that it cannot be based primarily on constructing good citizens. As for the content of citizenship educa tion which is taught in schools, the argument in this paper is consistent with policies which would continue to build on the importance of participation as a crucial element of citizenship education. This would not only help to legitimate the definition of citizensh ip being modelled by homeschoolers, but would also close the gap between what is taught in school and what is taught by home educators.


10 of 15 Further, schools should continue to pur sue policy initiatives which promote multidimensional citizenship. Schools need to recog nize that there is no one best version of being a good citizen, but that there are many va lid interpretations of an ideal member of society. Moreover, multidimensional citizenship suggests that becoming a citizen is a constant process, and that people's ideas about goo d citizenship can change. Perhaps all educators, including those who teach at home, need to consider multidimensional citizenship as an important component of helping ch ildren become citizens. Finally, it is clear that there are no guarantees for creating good citizens. Homeschoolers have an alternative and very powerful understanding of citizenship, but this does not mean that we should relinquish all ci tizenship education in schools, or that schools should adopt the vision of citizenship shar ed by many homeschoolers. This is no more a cure for poor citizenship than is forcing ev eryone to take civics classes. Rather we need to recognize and evaluate the validity of a lternative definitions of citizenship, and to recognize that it does not have to be taught at school. For homeschoolers, the policy implicati ons are a little less clear, because they are much less likely to have a "policy" on citizenship education than are schools. However, homeschoolers should recognize that there are good elements to citizenship education in schools as well. For example, basic facts of nation al history and governance are often very important for informed participation in a demo cracy. Most of the people that homeschooled kids will encounter later in life will have this understanding, and those people will presume that homeschoolers have it as w ell. Homeschoolers need to be prepared to deal with these expectations, either by acquiring the relevant knowledge or convincing others of the validity of their experien ces. In addition, homeschooling parents and children must recognize that they are not just keeping their kids at home, and that they are not just making a statement about parental rights in education. Rather, they are also helping to define and shape what it means to be a citizen of their country. They must b e prepared to think in these broader terms, and to recognize that what they are doing ha s some good elements and some bad elements, just as citizenship education in schools has strengths and weaknesses. In other words, homeschooling is not just about where kids w ill learn their ABCs, it affects the very definition of what it means to be a member of a society.NoteThe author gratefully acknowledges that financial s upport for this research was received from a standard research grant from the Social Scie nces and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and an internal grant par tly funded by WLU Operating funds, and partly by the SSHRC Institutional Grant awarded to WLU.ReferencesCallan, E. (1995) Common Schools for Common Educati on. Canadian Journal of Education 20(3):251-71. Callan, E. (1997) Creating Citizens: Political Education and Liberal Democracy Oxford: Clarendon Press. Cogan, J.J. (1998) The Challenge of Multidimensiona l Citizenship for the 21st Century. Pp. 155-68 in J.J. Cogan and R. Derricott (eds.) Citizenship for the 21st Century: An


11 of 15International Perspective on Education London: Kogan Page. Delanty, G. (1997) Models of Citizenship: Defining European Identity and Citizenship. Citizenship Studies 1(3): 285-304. Derricott, R., A. Gotovos, Z. Matrai, S. Kartsen, R Case, K.Osborne, K. Skau, K. Otsu, S. Pitiyanuwat, C. Rukspollmuang and W. Parker (199 8). National Case Studies of Citizenship Education. Pp. 21-76 in J.J. Cogan and R. Derricott (eds.) Citizenship for the 21st Century: An International Perspective on Education London: Kogan Page. Fogelman, K. (1991). Citizenship in Secondary Schoo ls: The National Picture. Pp. 35-48 in K. Fogelman (ed). Citizenship in Schools London: David Fulton Publishers. Gatto, J.T. (1991) Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsor y Schooling. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers. Holmes, M. (1998). The Reformation of Canada's Schools: Breaking Barri ers to Parental Choice. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University P ress. Holt, J. (1983) Learning All The Time Philadelphia: New Society Publishers. Holt, J. (1981) Teach Your Own: A Hopeful Path for Education. New York: Delta/Seymour Lawrence.Illich, I. (1971) Deschooling Society New York: Harper & Row. Knowles, J.G. (1998) Home Education: Personal Histo ries. Chapter 14, pp 302-31 in M.L. Fuller and G. Olsen (eds). Home-School Relations: Working Successfully with Parents and Families. Toronto: Allyn and Bacon. Knowles, J.G., S. Marlow and J.A. Muchmore (1992) F rom Pedagogy to Ideology: Origins and Phases of Home Education in the United States, 1970-1990. American Journal of Education 100(1): 195-235. Knowles, J.G. (1991) Parents' Rationales for Operat ing Home Schools. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography ; 20(2): 203_230. Kubow, N. D. Grossman and A. Ninoyama (1998). Multi dimensional Citizenship: Educational Policy for the 21st Century. Pp. 115-34 in J.J. Cogan and R. Derricott (eds.) Citizenship for the 21st Century: An International Perspective on Education London: Kogan Page.Luffman, J. (1997) A Profile of Home Schooling in C anada. Education Quarterly Review 4(4):30-47. Marlow, S.E. (1994) Educating Children at Home: Imp lications for Assessment and Accountability. Education and Urban Society 26(4): 438-60. Marshall, J.D. and J.P. Valle (1996) Public School Reform: Potential Lessons from the Truly Departed. Education Policy Analysis Archives 4(12). [online]. Available at


12 of 15Mayberry, M. J.G. Knowles, B. Ray and S. Marlow (19 95) Home Schooling: Parents as Educators. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press. Mayberry, M. (1993) Effective Learning Environments in Action: The Case of Home Schools. School Community Journal ; 3(1): 61_68. Mayberry, M.(1988) Characteristics and Attitudes of Families Who Home School. Education and Urban Society ; 21(1): 32_41. Mayberry, M. and J.G. Knowles (1989) Family Unity O bjectives of Parents Who Teach Their Children: Ideological and Pedagogical Orienta tions to Home Schooling. Urban Review ; 21(4): 209_225. McKenzie, H. (1993) Citizenship Education in Canada Ottawa: Canada Communication Group, Cat. No. Ym32-2/32E.Menendez, A.J. (1996) Homeschooling: The Facts Silver Spring MD: Americans for Religious Liberty.Pfleger, K. (1998, April 6) School's Out. The New Republic 11-12. Ray, B. D. (1999). Home Schooling on the Threshold: A Survey of Resear ch at the Dawn of the New Millenium Salem OR: National Home Education Research Instit ute Publications. Ray, B. D. (1997). Strengths of Their Own--Home Schoolers Across Ameri ca: Academic Achievement, Family Characteristics, and Longitudin al Traits Salem OR: National Home Education Research Institute Publications. Ray, B. D. (1994). A Nationwide Study of Home Education in Canada: Fam ily Characteristics, Student Achievement, and Other Top ics Lethbridge: Home School Legal Defense Association of Canada.Rudner, L. M. (1999). Scholastic achievement and de mographic characteristics of home school students in 1998. Education Policy Analysis Archives 7(8). [online]. Available at Sheffer, S. (1997) A Sense of Self: Listening to Homeschooled Adolesce nt Girls New York: Heinemann.Taylor, J. W. (1986) Self-Conception in Homschooling Children Doctoral Dissertation, Andrews University.Thomas, A. (1998). Educating Children at Home London: Cassell. Touraine, A. (1997) What is Democracy ? Boulder: Westview Press. Webb, J. (1989) The Outcomes of Home-Based Educatio n: Employment and Other Issues. Educational Review 41(2):121-33. Welner, K.M. and K.G. Welner (1999) Contextualizing Homeschooling Data: A Response to Rudner. Education Policy Analysis Archives 7(13). [online]. Available at


13 of 15 About the AuthorA. Bruce AraiAssistant ProfessorDepartment of Sociologyand Anthropology Wilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterloo, Ontario Canada(519) 884-0710 ext. 3753 Email: Bruce Arai teaches courses in research methods, sta tistics, and the sociology of work at Wilfrid Laurier University. His research interests include homeschooling, educational assessment, and economic sociology, particularly se lf-employment.Copyright 1999 by the Education Policy Analysis ArchivesThe World Wide Web address for the Education Policy Analysis Archives is General questions about appropriateness of topics o r particular articles may be addressed to the Editor, Gene V Glass, or reach him at College of Education, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-0211. (602-965-96 44). The Book Review Editor is Walter E. Shepherd: The Commentary Editor is Casey D. Cobb: .EPAA Editorial Board Michael W. Apple University of Wisconsin Greg Camilli Rutgers University John Covaleskie Northern Michigan University Andrew Coulson Alan Davis University of Colorado, Denver Sherman Dorn University of South Florida Mark E. Fetler California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Richard Garlikov Thomas F. Green Syracuse University Alison I. Griffith York University Arlen Gullickson Western Michigan University Ernest R. House University of Colorado Aimee Howley Ohio University Craig B. Howley Appalachia Educational Laboratory


14 of 15 William Hunter University of Calgary Richard M. Jaeger University of North Carolina—Greensboro Daniel Kalls Ume University Benjamin Levin University of Manitoba Thomas MauhsPugh Green Mountain College Dewayne Matthews Western Interstate Commission for HigherEducation William McInerney Purdue University Mary McKeown-Moak MGT of America (Austin, TX) Les McLean University of Toronto Susan Bobbitt Nolen University of Washington Anne L. Pemberton Hugh G. Petrie SUNY Buffalo Richard C. Richardson New York University Anthony G. Rud Jr. Purdue University Dennis Sayers Ann Leavenworth Centerfor Accelerated Learning Jay D. Scribner University of Texas at Austin Michael Scriven Robert E. Stake University of Illinois—UC Robert Stonehill U.S. Department of Education Robert T. Stout Arizona State University David D. Williams Brigham Young University EPAA Spanish Language Editorial BoardEditor Asociado Roberto Rodrguez Gmez Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico Adrin Acosta (Mxico) Universidad de J. Flix Angulo Rasco (Spain) Universidad de Teresa Bracho (Mxico) Centro de Investigacin y DocenciaEconmica-CIDEbracho Alejandro Canales (Mxico) Universidad Nacional Autnoma Ursula Casanova (U.S.A.) Arizona State Jos Contreras Domingo Universitat de Barcelona Erwin Epstein (U.S.A.) Loyola University of Josu Gonzlez (U.S.A.) Arizona State


15 of 15 Rollin Kent (Mxico)Departamento de InvestigacinEducativaDIE/ Mara Beatriz Luce (Brazil)Universidad Federal de Rio Grande do SulUFRGSlucemb@orion.ufrgs.brJavier Mendoza Rojas (Mxico)Universidad Nacional Autnoma deMxicojaviermr@servidor.unam.mxMarcela Mollis (Argentina)Universidad de Buenos Humberto Muoz Garca (Mxico) Universidad Nacional Autnoma deMxicohumberto@servidor.unam.mxAngel Ignacio Prez Gmez (Spain)Universidad de Daniel Schugurensky (Argentina-Canad)OISE/UT, Simon Schwartzman (Brazil)Fundao Instituto Brasileiro e Geografiae Estatstica Jurjo Torres Santom (Spain)Universidad de A Carlos Alberto Torres (U.S.A.)University of California, Los

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