Research project:

PARENTS VIEW ON SCHOOL

- some preliminary results

  1. prof. dr. philos Christian W. Beck

      Institute of Educational research, Univ. of Oslo

      c.w.beck@ped.uio.no

      http://folk.uio.no/cbeck/

 

 

1. Introduction

April 2006 the research project (survey): “Foreldres oppfatning av grunnskolen” (Parents view on obligated school) was established with economical support from “småforsk-midler” from University of Oslo. Project leaders are Svein Egil Vestre and Christian W. Beck.

 

The National Statistical Office in Norway (SSB) was paid by the project for:

1.  Drawing a random sample of 1050 parents stratified with 350 with children as pupils at the level  4., 7. and 10. year of obligated schooling (public or private schools), from the State Population Register.

2.  Sending a questionnaire with formal invitation letters both from SSB and the researchers to the parents, October 2006.

3. A following up letter/questionnaire to parents who had not answered after 6 weeks.

 

With 562 answers (54 %) the results are representative for Norwegian parents with children as pupils at the chosen school levels.

 

2. Some results concerning home education

There were in the survey some questions concerning home education (HE):

 

Question 19:  Do you for a period of time want to give your child home education?

Answers: No (83,2 %)   In doubt: (5.3 %)    Yes: (57 = 10.3 %)

 

10 % yes answers is about 60.000 pupils of the obligated school population in Norway. To day only ca 400 (0.06 %) pupils are home educated (Beck 2006). Not many of these 10 % will start to home educate tomorrow. But the result documents that HE which was an almost unknown option for parents 10 years ago, today is a possibility parents know about and have in mind when they answers such questionnaires. Parents answering yes are from all social classes.

 

The parents were asked the reason to want home education for a period.

Table 1 Reasons to want HE for a period

Reasons to want HE

Number (%)

Problems with school

26 (46)

Want more time with my child at home

23 (40)

Pedagogical reasons

22 (38)

Religious reasons

4 (7)

Other reasons

20 (34)

 

The first three reasons (table 1) overlaps quit much. The parents think of home education as an option of social reasons more then pure pedagogical school subjects reasons. Very few mention religious reason for wanting HE. When the pupil has social problems at school and parents want more time with their child at home, then the HE-option get more present in parents mind.

 

There are other interesting differences between those parents who answered yes and those who answered no on question 19. Table 2 shows the percent difference of yes answers to five “school problems” questions between parents answering yes and no on question 19.

 

Table 2  Differences in yes answers on school problems questions

 

Question:

Difference (%) in yes answers between parents answering yes and no on question 19

Are you worried that your child is bullied at school?

19,0 **

Your child doesn’t like to be at school?

11,7 **

Are you worried about your child’s relation to the teacher?

10,0 *

Are you worried about your child`s social development at school?

10,5 **

Are you worried about your child`s marks (grades) at school?

6

** (*) significant difference at .01 (.05) level

 

The results  from table 2 confirm the results from table 1 that the reasons for wanting HE are more because of social problems at school than of strictly pedagogical reasons.

 

Of all the 562 parents in the survey 65 % answer yes, that home educators should have a form of economical support from the authorities to home educate. 55 % answer yes, home education should have some degrees of freedom to the National curriculum plan. Parents in general seem to be more liberal to HE than the government and the school authorities.

 

3. Conclusion

-         A surprisingly large number of parents (10 %) with children in Norwegian obligated schools would like to home educate their children for a period, compared with to day only 400 (0,06 %) home educated children in Norway.

-         Parent with children in obligated schooling seem more liberal to home education than the government and the school authorities.

-         The reason for wanting home education is social school problems more than pedagogical problems and because they want more time with their child at home.

 

May be this study documents a reaction to post modern extended schooling. The maximum level of how much time at schools parents and their children can absorb could have been reached. More pupil everyday life in schools seems to produces more social conflicts in schools. Such conflicts can be stronger because extended schooling also seems to strengthen the border between school and society. When out of school action as home education by the authorities is made difficult, school shows traits similar to what the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman calls modern ghettos (Bauman 2001). Pupils are kept inside schools and outside society.  Bauman find that people who escape from modern ghettos when these are starting to disintegrate, still are seen as a threat to the ghetto and their members. May be we in the future will see more home education as a way of escaping from modern school ghettos?

 

References

Bauman, Z. (2001): Missing community (Norwegian edition) Oslo. Cappelen.

 

Beck, C. W. (2006): Moderne hjemmeundervisning i Norge – beskrivelse, analyse og drøfting. Dr. philos thesis. Faculty of Educational Research, Univ. of Oslo, Norway.

 

Beck, C. W. and Vestre S. E. (2007): Data from the survey: “Foreldres oppfatning av grunnskolen” (Parents opinions of obligated school). SPSS-file. Institute of Educational research. Inst. of  Ed. Research, Univ. of  Oslo.

 

Beck, C. W. and Vestre S.E. (2006): Foreldres oppfatning av grunnskolen. Prosjektbeskrivelse with questionnaire. Inst. of Ed Research. Univ. of Oslo.