Home school families: An analysis of their characteristics and perceptions toward public schools

Lendozia Edwards, Tennessee State University


The purposes of this study were to determine the demographic and educational characteristics of home school families in Middle Tennessee, their perceptions of public schools in their communities, and their reasons for choosing home school as an educational alternative. The study also explored changes that could be made in public education to reclaim home school families' confidence in public education and to attract home school families to public schools. This study was based on studies by Babbitt (1991) and Roberts (2001) and consisted of a 58-item survey and an optional interview protocol. One hundred and fifty surveys were distributed; 79 responded. To gain further insight about home education, purposive sampling was used to select 20 of the 79 interested participants for interviews. It was found that Middle Tennessee home school families were similar to home school families across the nation: predominantly well educated, Caucasian (81%), two-parent families (91%) living in a single-family home (96%) in a suburban area (59%) with an annual income level of $50,000 or more (68%). Fifty-eight percent of these households had two or three children in the home. Home school parents' perceptions of public schools were influenced by concerns related to academic performance, large class size, lack of discipline, safety concerns, and negative peer pressure in public schools. Results indicated that, although parents could not pinpoint just one reason, they chose to home school for a myriad of reasons. There was a statistically significant relationship between the amount of time spent on home school activities and the education level of the home school fathers. It was also found that regardless of whether parents were poor or wealthy, uneducated or highly educated, resided in rural or suburban areas, religious or nonreligious, home-schooled full time or part time, generally speaking, Middle Tennessee home school families had the same educational expectations for their children, the same perceptions about public schools, and similar reasons for home schooling. In order to attract home school students for public school enrollment, public schools must change the perceptions of home school parents regarding public schools and work collaboratively with home school families.

Subject Area

School administration|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology|Curricula|Teaching

Recommended Citation

Lendozia Edwards, "Home school families: An analysis of their characteristics and perceptions toward public schools" (2007). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3259042.