7 U. St. Thomas J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 1 (2012-2013)
The Changing Conversation around Homeschooling: An Argument for More Data and Less Ideology

handle is hein.journals/tjlpp7 and id is 7 raw text is: THE CHANGING CONVERSATION AROUND
HOMESCHOOLING: AN ARGUMENT FOR
MORE DATA AND LESS IDEOLOGY
MARY RICE HASSON
What follows are my reflections on one aspect of what has been, over
the past few decades, an ever-changing, always fascinating public
conversation' about the place of homeschooling in the modem educational
fabric of our nation. The conversation is important, not only because it
reflects stakeholders' current concerns and perceptions, but also because it
shapes future policies, proposed legislation, and judicial perceptions,
eventually influencing the educational roadmaps for children in families
across the country.
This essay looks first at the current homeschooling landscape, noting
key changes that have swept through the homeschooling movement over
the past several decades. Next it analyzes some of the assumptions implicit
in the current conversations about homeschooling, and argues that these
conversations increasingly reflect a conflict of values, ideologies, and
worldviews, more than they reflect differences over educational pedagogy
and practice. Finally this essay concludes with a call for the public
conversation about homeschooling to focus on objective measures of
homeschooling's educational impact, rather than on subjective judgments,
tainted by ideology, about whether homeschooling renders children
sufficiently receptive to progressive ideals.
I. HOMESCHOOLING: EVERYTHING ABOUT IT HAS CHANGED (ALMOST).
The changes in homeschooling within the United States over the past
three decades have been nothing short of sweeping.

1

1. By public conversations, I include the conversations happening both within professional
communities and among the public at large, as well as those conversations taking place in law
reviews, educational journals, legislative chambers, school board meetings, churches,
neighborhoods, and families.

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