Deschooling and unschooling after experiences of bullying: Five parents tell their stories
In this paper, we examine the reports of parents who are unschooling because of the bullying their children experienced in mainstream Australian schools. Extant home education research that considers bullying tends to see it as part of a suite of negative experiences that lead to home education. These studies rarely take as their starting point the primary role of bullying in the decision to home educate. This paper examines the reports of parents who identify peer bullying as the main reason they home educate. It analyses the narratives of families who reported that not only was bullying at school the primary driver to home school but that unschooling was a means of healing from the school-based trauma due to bullying. Data are drawn from qualitative interviews with six Australian parents who were home educating because of bullying, five of whom self-identified as relaxed homeschoolers/child-led homeschoolers/unschoolers. We note how these approaches were identified as a means of healing from the trauma of bullying which, in several cases, led to serious and severe psychological outcomes. Our study supports the findings of previous research that suggest that a relaxed approach to home education can be an important means of healing after serious school trauma for students.
Broadening the concept of parent involvement: Homeschool families as a pattern for traditional school parent involvement
Parental Involvement (PI) research indicates that PI is positively associated with academic success and that for the past forty years researchers, teachers, and administrators have encouraged greater levels of parental involvement in schools to improve overall student achievement. This research reviews at home learning activities conducted by homeschool families that traditional school families can adopt as PI. Our analysis of homeschool families’ PI that could be adopted by traditional families led to several conclusions discussed within this review. The expanded view of PI could potentially challenge the preeminent role of schools in education and result in conflict between parents and schools, either serving as a barrier to productive PI or serving to motivate some parents to abandon traditional schools in favor of homeschooling.
Kaliyuva Mane: An Alternative School that Transforms Lives
This is a case study of an alternative school that transforms the lives of children from the most underprivileged conditions who have dropped out of the formal school system and lost interest in education. The study explores the unique practices of the school that gives new life to the out of school children. The data were gathered through interviews of 39 stakeholders of the school that includes the founder and managing trustee, administrative staff, teachers, students, and volunteers. The data leads to the following themes: personalised curriculum, multigrade-multilevel learning, infrastructure as a learning site, assessment for learning, life skills integration, education as a social service. The farm-like school environment, personal care in a residential set up, flexible curriculum, and learner centred pedagogy enable the children not only to learn the academic subjects and develop eco consciousness but also to master many skillsets that are critical for living in the real world.