Started as a project
Here is an excerpt from my project proposal for designing this Community of Practice. It explains the rationale behind creating a community like this.
Homeschooling Community of Practice Proposal
Homeschooling nationwide is on the rise. While estimates of the number of homeschooled students vary, it is clear that the percentage of school-aged children who are being kept home from public school is increasing. One recent report conducted by the National Home Education Research Institute estimated that there are currently 2.201 million K-12 homeschool students nationwide as of Spring 2010 (Ray, 2011, p. 2). The report also estimated an increase in homeschooled children of 8% each year. Given that new families are entering the homeschool experience every year and home educators are not required to be formally trained in teaching, a central resource for the community to share best practices is needed.
In Virginia alone, approximately 32,000 school-aged children are homeschooled, which is 2.5 percent of the total population of school-aged children in the state. According to Capital News Service, in “25 school divisions in Virginia, more than 5 percent of all school-age children are home-schooled” (Landry, 2013). This includes Fauquier County, the county in which I live and plan to educate my children. Despite the increasing numbers, finding fellow homeschooling families can be extremely challenging, given that there are a variety of reasons why families choose to educate at home. This community of practice (CoP) will attempt to bridge the distance between homeschool families, both physical and cultural, in order to enable families to collaborate effectively to develop a set of educational practices to benefit their children.
The underlying assumption of the CoP will be that homeschooling families are seeking information about what and how to teach and are struggling to find a community of fellow home educators and learners with whom to collaborate. Even in an area in which 5% of all students are homeschooled, it can be challenging to find a group of like-minded home educators. This CoP will provide the opportunity for home educators to investigate their own values, assumptions, goals, interests and pedagogical approaches in order to create ideal matches for collaboration.
The goals for the community of practice are for home educators to
- Develop relationships with fellow home educators
- Research, investigate and share resources for use in educating learners
- Make decisions about educational practices and apply new strategies in home education