Date of Award

2013

Embargo Period

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education (Honours) MEd (Hons)

Faculty

Faculty of Education

School

Education

First Advisor

Dr Glenda Jackson

Second Advisor

Dr Peter Morey

Abstract

The Australian home education community is a rapidly growing, yet relatively unstudied segment of the population. The research presented in this thesis used a theoretical combination of hermeneutic phenomenology and grounded theory to explore motivations for and implementation of home education by qualified teachers within Australia. Research was conducted using an online questionnaire and follow up interviews.

Analysis of results revealed a number of themes relating to both motivation and implementation of home education. Motivating factors were represented by push factors, defined as negative perceptions of mainstream education and pull factors, positive perceptions of home education. Participants’ background teaching experience strongly influenced their decision to home educate their own children. These qualified teachers expressed concern regarding the inability of institutionalised education systems to cater for the diversity of individual needs. Implementation styles fell into three categories; formal, eclectic and informal, with a tendency to become less formal over time.

In contrast with perceptions of home educators, participants supported schools as a necessary educational option. Participants expressed a belief that while teaching background provided confidence when beginning home education, and knowledge of educational jargon, it was often detrimental when home educating due to differences between learning which occurs within a framework of classroom instruction and that which occurs individually in a home environment. Comparison was made between the findings of this research and the work of Pestalozzi.

Findings are consistent with previous Australian home education research and this work can contribute to discussions about developing more individualised learning programs in mainstream education. Findings also provide support for flexibility regarding implementation of educational styles within home education.

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