Home Schooling in New Zealand: An Alternative to Mainstream Education?

Year: 1992

Author: Nolan, Catherine A., Nolan, C.J. Patrick

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The purpose of this paper is to report on the emerging phenomenon of home schooling in New Zealand and to examine its significance as an alternative to conventional schooling. Discussion draws upon findings from two recent case studies. The first reports the experiences of a Christian family with ideological reasons for educating its children at home. The second family chose home schooling for predominantly pedagogical reasons, namely to better meet the educational needs of their intellectually gifted child who had responded negatively to conventional schooling over five years. The position advanced in the paper is that home schooling can be a viable educational alternative, worthy of serious attention by mainstream educational researchers. When the providers of home schooling are energetic and well educated, then this form of educational provision can have two beneficial effects: (i) it caters well for individuals who have particular special needs difficult to meet in main stream education; and (ii) it can provide a highly dynamic and flexible environment within which to implement principles and strategies that experience and research have shown to be educationally effective. The paper is organised in three parts: (i) brief discussion of the trend towards, and key dimensions of, home schooling; (ii) the two case studies which illustrate ideological and pedagogical reasons for, and approaches to, home schooling; and (iii) discussion of implications and conclusions regarding directions for, and qualifications about, the future of home schooling in New Zealand.