A study of parents’ conceptions of their roles as home educators of their children

Harding, Terrence John Arthur (2011) A study of parents’ conceptions of their roles as home educators of their children. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Home education is a growing phenomenon in Australia. It is the practice whereby parents engage in the full time education of their children at home. This study used a phenomenographic approach to identify and analyse how home educating parents conceive of their roles as home educators. Data analysis presented an outcome space of the parents‘ qualitatively different conceptions of their roles as home educators. This outcome space exemplifies the phenomenon of the roles of parent home educators. This thesis reports on the qualitatively different ways in which a group of 27 home educating parents viewed their roles in the education of their children. Four categories of description of parent home educator roles emerged from the analysis. These parents saw themselves in the role of a (1) learner, as they needed to gain knowledge and skills in order to both commence and to continue home education. Further, they perceived of themselves as (2) partners, usually with their spouse, in an educational partnership, which provided the family‘s educational infrastructure. They also saw themselves in the role of (3) teachers of their children, facilitating their education and development. Finally, they conceived of themselves as (4) educational pioneers in their communities. These four categories were linked and differentiated from each other by three key themes or dimensions of variation. These were the themes of (1) educational influence; (2) educational example; and (3) spirituality, which impacted both their families and the wider community. The findings of the study indicate that home educators experience their roles in four critically different ways, each of which contributes to their family educational enterprise. The findings suggest that home educators, are bona fide educators and that they access parental qualities that provide a form of education which differs from the educational practices characteristic of the majority of Australians. The study has the potential to generate further understandings of home education for home educators and for the wider community. It may also inform policy makers in the fields of education, social welfare, and the law, where there is a vested interest in the education and welfare of children and families.

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ID Code: 40931
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Farrell, Margaret, Brownlee, Joanne, & Bruce, Christine
Keywords: home education, home schooling, homeschooling, distance education, home educator, parents as educators, parents, phenomenography, Queensland, Australia, conceptions, roles, parent roles
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 24 Mar 2011 02:05
Last Modified: 30 May 2016 23:39

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