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Wisconsin Policy Research Report, v12 n4 Jul 1999

While homeschooling has grown by 1,500 percent in Wisconsin in the past 15 years, it is not a threat to traditional education in the state. Analysis of Wisconsin respondents in one national study indicates 85 percent describe themselves as "Born Again" Christians; were largely middle-class, white, two-parent families, with instruction provided by at-home mothers; and exhibited average extracurricular participation rates. Recent homeschool families are more secular, primarily motivated by academic concerns. Influential homeschooling lobbying organizations helped defeat legislation weakening parental control and increasing state regulation. Recent policy debates involving supporters and opponents of homeschooling focus on three issues: (1) access to public-school courses and services for students primarily schooled at home, welcomed by many, but opposed by others concerned about undermining opportunities and increasing costs for traditional students; (2) opposition by parents to efforts to subject their children to state academic testing requirements; and (3) the impact of homeschooling on colleges in Wisconsin. Opponents of homeschooling express concerns about accountability and denial of social benefits of public schools. Proponents argue the majority of homeschooled students who return to traditional schools during middle-school years do not experience transition difficulties. Sentiment for more restrictive homeschooling legislation does not currently exist. Little evidence suggests homeschooling threatens traditional schools or is socially or academically harmful to students. Although the absence of significant data on performance should be addressed, policymakers should consider homeschooling an effective alternative to traditional education. (Contains 63 endnotes.) (TEJ)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Academic Standards, Access to Education, College Admission, College Bound Students, Educational Supply, Elementary Secondary Education, Equal Education, Home Schooling, Nontraditional Education, Parents as Teachers, Reentry Students, Student Adjustment, Student Attitudes, Student Evaluation

Autor: Luebke, Robert V.


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