Parents’ Motives for Home Education: The Influence of Methodological Design and Social Context



Parents’ motives for home education are one of the most researched topics within home education research. The focus of this article is on the question of the degree to which the results regarding these motives are influenced and shaped by the applied methods and the social context. The empirical basis is a meta-analysis of twelve research examples from the last two decades. It is concluded that the diversity within the results can partly be traced back to fundamental differences in the methodological design, to the absence of detailed theoretical modelling and remarkable differences of the survey instruments and that the role of the social environment and the process of the construction of motives in a certain social context deserve more attention.


Home Education, Home Schooling, Parents’ Motives, Reasons

Paper Details

Paper Details
Topic EU Education Programs
Pages 57 - 70
Issue IEJEE, Volume 3, Issue 1, Special Issue Out of School Education
Date of acceptance 10 January 2010
Read (times) 1077
Downloaded (times) 671

Author(s) Details


Friedensau University, Germany


Arai, A. B. (2000). Reasons for Home Schooling in Canada. Canadian Journal of Education, 25, 204-217

Bauman, K. J. (2002). Home schooling in the United States. Trends and Characteristics. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 10, (26). Retrieved from

Belfied, C. R. (2004). Modeling school choice: A Comparison of public, private-independent , private-religious and home-schooled students. Education Policy Analysis Archives. 12, (30). Retrieved from

Bielick, S., Chandler, K., & Broughman, S. P. (2001). Homeschooling in the United States: 1999. (NCES 2001-2003). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

Brabant, C., Bourdon, S., & Jutras, F. (2003). Home Education in Quebec: Family First. Evaluation and Research in Education, 17, 112-131

Collom, E. (2005). The Ins and Outs of Homeschooling. The Determinants of Parental Motivations and Student Achievement. Education and Urban Society, 37, 307-335

Hetzel, J. , Long, M. , & Jackson, M. (2001). Factors That Influence Parents to Homeschool in Southern California. Home School Researcher, 14, 1-11

Kluge, S. (2000). Empirically Grounded Construction of Types and Typologies in Qualitative Social Research. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 1(1), Art. 14, Retrieved from

Knowles, J. G. (1991). Parents’ Rationales for Operating Home Schools. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 20, 203-230

Lois, J. (2009). emotionally layered accounts: homeschooler’ justifications for maternal deviance. Deviant Behavior, 30, 201-234

Mayberry, M. (1988). Characteristics and Attitudes of Families who home school. Education and Urban Society, 21, 32-41

Mayberry, M. (1989). Home-based Education in the United States: demographics, motivations and educational implications. Educational Review, 41, 171-180

Mayberry, M., & Knowles, J. G. (1989). Family unity Objectives of Parents Who Teach Their Children: Ideological and Pedagogical Orientations to Home Schooling. The Urban Review, 21, 209-225

Mills, C. W. (1940). Situated Actions and Vocabularies of Motive. American Sociological Review, V: 904-913

Nemer, K. M. (2002). Understudied Education: Towards Building a Homeschooling Research Agenda. Occasional Paper No. 48. National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education. Retrieved from

Princiotta, D., & Bielick, S. (2006). Homeschooling in the United States: 2003, (NCES 2006- 042) U.S. Department of Education. National Center for Education Statistics, Washington, DC: 2005.

Rothermel, P. (2003). Can We Classify Motives for Home Education? Evaluation and Research in Education 17, 74-89.

Schuman, H., & Presser, S. (1996). Questions and Answers in Attitude Surveys. London

Schutz, A. (1951). Choosing Among Projects of Action. Philosophy of Phenomenological Research, 12, 161-184

Spiegler, T. (2008). Home Education in Deutschland. Hintergründe – Praxis – Entwicklung. VS Verlag: Wiesbaden.

Spiegler, T. (2009). Why State Sanctions Fail to Deter Home Education: An analysis of home education in Germany and its implications for home education policies, Theory and Research in Education, 7, 297-309

Stevens, M. L. (2001). Kingdom of Children: Culture and Controversy in the Home Education Movement. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Thomas, A. (1998). Educating Children at Home. London: Continuum

Van Galen, J. (1988). Ideology, Curriculum, and Pedagogy in Home Education. Education and Urban Society, 21, 52-86

Weber, M. (1985). Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Wissenschaftslehre. Edited by J. Winckelmann. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (1. Ed. 1922)