"Home grown" college students : an exploration of the epistemological development of homeschooled graduates in higher education

Goodman, Crystal, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Rowan-Kenyon, Heather, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Miller, Margaret A. (Peg), CU-Stem Education Res & Dev Ctr, University of Virginia
Rue, Penny, University of Virginia
Wathington, Heather, Cu-Leadshp Fndns & Pol Studies, University of Virginia

Over the last decade, the number of homeschooled students has grown to an estimated 1.1 million (Princiotta, Bielick, & Chapman, 2006, p. 1). A study by Ray (1997) demonstrated that students who were homeschooled attended college at rates equal to those of their traditionally schooled peers. Despite the growth and increased acceptance of homeschooling, few rigorous studies explore the experiences and perspectives of homeschooled students (Stevens, 2001). Understanding the intellectual development of homeschooled students who are in college was at the core of this study.

This dissertation employed a qualitative research design to investigate the ways in which college students who were homeschooled perceived their pre-college learning experiences and developed intellectually in college. Interviews were conducted with 16 formerly homeschooled college students in Virginia. Students also completed the Measure of Epistemological Reflection - a written questionnaire comprised of essay questions. Baxter Magolda's (1992) epistemological reflection model and college impact models served as the theoretical frameworks. This foundation allowed for a deep exploration of the cognitive development of the participants and uncovered whether the students' pre-college experiences influenced the ways in which they made meaning once they were in college.

At least five conclusions can be drawn from this study. First, perceived parental motivations for homeschooling are complex and include multiple rationales. Other factors such as parent and student personality, interests, and responsibilities influence the homeschooling environment as much as explicit parental motivations. Second, qualitative methods are an appropriate way to study homeschoolers who have unique and complex stories to tell. Third, the elements that influence the ways in which homeschooling environments are structured (parental motivations; student and parent personality, interests, and responsibilities) lead to diverse motivational systems for learning that are similar to the motivations teachers use in traditional classrooms. Fourth, Baxter Magolda's (1992) epistemological reflection model can be applied to the homeschooled population, and all four ways of knowing were present for students in this sample. Fifth, the gender-related patterns present in the epistemological reflection model are less applicable to homeschooled students than patterns within and between ways of knowing due to differences in homeschooling environments and motivational systems.

Note: Abstract extracted from PDF file via OCR.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
students, homeschooled, intellectual development

Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015.

Thesis originally deposited on 2016-02-18 in version 1.28 of Libra. This thesis was migrated to Libra2 on 2017-03-23 16:33:44.

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