Arai, A. Bruce (1999) Homeschooling and the redefinition of citizenship. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 7(27), 1-15. (Author has a very solid and research-informed understanding of homeschooling and the arguments for and against it. Appears positive toward homeschooling as an alternative and acceptable way to form good citizens compared to state/public and/or private institutional schooling.
Recognizes that homeschooling might be done in a way that is not good for a child or community. “Various models of citizenship have been proposed and debated (see Delanty, 1997 for a good review of the major positions), but there is no single vision of citizenship which is acceptable to all. Perhaps this is not surprising given that citizenship is a fundamentally political concept. Similarly, there are many different proposals about the nature and content of citizenship education” (p. 7). “Moving beyond homeschoolers responses to criticisms levelled at them to the larger body of research on homeschooling, there is evidence to suggest that homeschoolers appear to be involved in a process of constructing an alternative vision of citizenship for them and their children, albeit largely implicitly. Consistent with the notion of multidimensional citizenship, homeschoolers are involved in combining a different mix of attributes to become good citizens. In particular, they emphasize participation and the importance of family as the basis of a different definition of citizenship” (p. 8). “While the form and content of citizenship education among homeschoolers is clearly different from what children receive in school, it is not an inferior experience. Homeschoolers, in other words, can be good citizens. Here I have argued that homeschoolers, despite being accused of not being good citizens, are actually engaged in a process of defining their own vision of what it means to be a citizen. They clearly do not believe that compulsory schooling is a necessary prerequisite of adequate citizenship and they prefer to stress the importance of family and participation in public activities as the basis of their understanding of the good citizen” (p. 9). “In addition, homeschooling parents and children must recognize that they are not just keeping their kids at home, and that they are not just making a statement about parental rights in education. Rather, they are also helping to define and shape what it means to be a citizen of their country. They must be prepared to think in these broader terms, and to recognize that what they are doing has some good elements and some bad elements, just as citizenship education in schools has strengths and weaknesses. In other words, homeschooling is not just about where kids will learn their ABCs, it affects the very definition of what it means to be a member of a society” (p. 10). “Abstract: Homeschooling has grown considerably in many countries over the past two or three decades. To date, most research has focused either on comparisons between schooled and homeschooled children, or on finding out why parents choose to educate their children at home. There has been little consideration of the importance of homeschooling for the more general issue of citizenship, and whether people can be good citizens without going to school. This paper reviews the research on homeschooling, as well as the major objections to it, and frames these debates within the broader issues of citizenship and citizenship education. The paper shows that homeschoolers are carving out a different but equally valid understanding of citizenship and that policies which encourage a diversity of understandings of good citizenship should form the basis citizenship education both for schools and homeschoolers.” (p. 1).) (Keywords: homeschooling, citizenship, philosophy, institutional schools)