The purpose of this project was to establish clear, specified reasons why parents in the Chattanooga, Tennessee vicinity home educate their children. It was hypothesized that home school parent/teachers desire to effectively develop their children in all the different aspects of life, including the mental, social, spiritual, and physical.
Instrument and Population
The questionnaire instrument had on it’s first page 35 numbered reasons for selecting home schooling. The reasons are listed in Table 1. The home school parent/teacher could check any of the reasons that applied. The second page of the questionnaire asked the home school parent/teacher to list the first and second reasons which were most important to them in determining why they chose the “home school option.” The second question on the second page asked, “Why did you not choose to educate your child or children at a private school?”
Approximately 300 questionnaires were sent out concerning this research. Over one hundred were returned. Only one hundred responses were chosen for this research, selecting those who either lived in the city of Chattanooga or within a hundred mile radius of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Responses from those who lived more than 100 miles from Chattanooga, and responses from those who lived outside of the state of Tennessee were not utilized.
Descriptive Information: Divisional Breakdown
The results were tabulated according to four divisions: mental, physical, social, and spiritual. This was specifically designed by the researcher based on Luke 2:52 of the Bible which states, “And Jesus increased in wisdom, and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Thirty-three reasons comprised these four categories. Reasons numbered 11, 18, 19, 21, 22, 27, 28, 31, and 33 were classified as mental; the physical category was comprised of reasons 4, 10, 17, and 23; the spiritual reasons were 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 12, 29, and 30; the reasons under the social category were 2, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 24, 25, 26, and 32. The remaining two reasons were open ended.
1. To teach my children about God and the Bible
2. To be with my children through the day
3. Religious reasons
4. For financial reasons
5. Did so under the leading of the Holy Spirit
6. Decided to after praying about it
7. In obedience to God’s Word (Deuteronomy)
8. Fear of public school corruption
9. To enhance family relationships
10. Private schools are now too expensive
11. No private school with curriculum we desire
12. Private schools do not hold to our religious beliefs
13. Drugs too heavy in the public schools
14. Too much illicit sexual behavior in public schools
15. Overall low standards of teachers in public schools
16. Overall low standards of pupils in public schools
17. Economic reasons (to save money)
18. Public school teachers lack of motivation
19. Illiteracy in the public schools
20. Excessive peer pressure in public schools
21. Able to individually assist my children in their studies
22. Freedom to teach children things we feel are important
23. Convenience in teaching them at home
24. Low standards among our educational leaders
25. For my child’s overall general protection
26. Higher quality of peers through home education association families
27. Better opportunities to select curriculum
28. Wrong philosophies being taught in public schools
29. Humanism, New Age Movement, other false religions being pushed in public schools
30. Creation is not taught; evolution accepted as fact in public schools
31. No strong voice within our local educational government
32. Sex education (social hygiene) taught in public schools
33. Poor track record of our local schools in reading, writing, arithmetic, etc.
Table 1. Reasons for selecting home school.
The mental reasons were any that connected with the learning, intellect, capacity, or instruction concerning the child. Included in this category were also concerns pertaining to curriculum, and the motivational and illiteracy problems within the schools.
Social reasons included parents wanting to be with their children throughout the day, desires to enhance family relationships, moral problems in the schools, including drugs, alcohol, illicit sexual behavior, and excessive peer pressure.
Physical reasons were narrowed to only include distances from school, financial reasons for choosing to home school, and convenience in teaching the children at home.
The religious reasons category was broken into more detail than it has been in most research to date. For instance, there was the “religious reasons” section that could be checked so any parent of any different religion could check this as a general reason, spiritually speaking. Other reasons were allowed, such as (1) “to be able to teach my children about God and the Bible; (2) “under the leading of the Holy Spirit”, (3) ” in obedience to Deuteronomy [in the Bible]”, and (4) “humanism, New Age Movement, evolution, and wrong philosophies” in the schools.
The first page of the questionnaire listed 35 reasons for selecting home schooling, from which the group of 100 could check any that applied. Forty-two percent named various social reasons for home schooling their children. Twenty-seven percent checked spiritual reasons, 24% checked mental reasons, and 7% checked physical reasons.
As a group, these 100 parent/teachers listed spiritual reasons as the most important reason for electing to home educate their children. Forty-eight percent of them checked spiritual reasons as their primary reason (Table 2).
Rank Spiritual Social Mental Physical No Reply
First Reason 48% 21% 28% 3% 0%
Second Reason 26% 21% 25% 8% 20%
Table 2. First and second most important reasons for selecting home schooling.
Their second most important reason was almost a three way tie, with mental (or cognitive) related reasons named by 25% of the group, spiritual reasons by 26% of the respondents, and 21% chose social reasons. Eight percent listed physical reasons as their second most important reason for home schooling. In terms of the second most important reason, the social area was named by 21% of the group, mental reasons by 28%, and physical reasons given by 8% of the respondents.
Eight different reasons were included in the spiritual category. With respect to these eight reasons, 80% of the subjects indicated they chose home school in order to teach their children about God and the Bible. Over 60% indicated they home schooled due to each of the reasons which included (a) the leading of the Holy Spirit, (b) after praying about it, (c) humanism, the New Age movement, and other false religions being pushed in the public schools, and (d) creation not being taught (or evolution being taught as fact in the public schools). About 58% said they were home schooling in obedience to God’s word (Deuteronomy), about 51% were home schooling due to religious reasons in general, and about 13% did so because private schools do not hold to their beliefs.
The questionnaire also asked an open-ended question concerning why the parent/teachers did not select private schools. Thirty-seven respondents listed the high cost of private schools, yet they also went on to say that they would not have chosen private schools anyway. The most frequently cited reasons for not having their children attend private schools were (a) too expensive – 27 respondents, (b) peer pressure problems – 23, (c) need for (or desire for) more specialized or individualized instruction – 22, (d) private schools the same (or have the same) problems as public schools – 15, (e) too many hours away from home – 10, (f) private schools are lacking in quality – 9, (g) moral problems in the private schools – 7, (h) no private schools in respondent’s area – 7, (i) desire to develop my children emotionally, socially, physically, academically, and spiritually – 7.
The findings matched the researcher’s general expectations. That is, home school parent/teachers desire to effectively develop their children in all the different aspects of life (i.e., mental, social, spiritual, and physical). The element of surprise in this research was the various comments made concerning private schools. Largely, the comments were negative, with very few stating they would send their children to private schools. The parents who home educate their children indicated that neither private schools nor public schools meet the desires of concerned parents who wish to better develop their children socially, mentally, physically, and, in particular, spiritually.