Maranto’s Latest Book Focuses on Schooling at Home

Dec 14, 2017 | Education Reform



University of Arkansas professor Bob Maranto published his 14th book recently, this one titled Homeschooling in the 21st Century: Research and Prospects and co-edited with Debra Bell, executive director of AIM Academy based in Pennsylvania.

Maranto, who holds the Twenty-First Century Chair in Leadership, edits the Journal of School Choicewhich previously published the chapters in the new book published by Routledge. AIM Academy provides college prep classes online for homeschooled students. Bell brought personal experience to the project as someone who both researches home education and teaches at home.

Education has evolved over the past 200 years from inside the home to larger institutions, from the personal to the more expert and bureaucratic, Maranto said. The book’s introduction lists three factors to help explain a move over the past 50 years back toward more schooling at home: greater affluence and smaller family size leading parents to focus more on child well-being; declining faith in professionals, including educators; and the internet, whose resources facilitate home education.

“Over the years, the journal’s most downloaded pieces were on homeschooling, in part since there is just very little good research on that area, so the edited book filled a need,” Maranto said. He serves on the Fayetteville School Board and on the board of a nonprofit cyber charter school in Pennsylvania.

“From research and experience, I know that our traditional public schools serve so many children well; yet others excel in home education settings,” he said. “We need to learn more about how homeschooling operates and what sort of kids thrive in it. Will this movement into home education continue, or slow down as our traditional public schools become more personalized. These are the sort of questions we social scientists need to study, and this volume offers a few tentative answers.”

Along with Maranto, authors of the book’s chapters include two graduates, a student and a faculty member of the Department of Education Reform at the U of A: Albert Cheng, now a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University; Sivan Tuchman, a research analyst at the Center on Reinventing Public Education; Angela Watson, a Distinguished Doctoral Fellow pursuing a doctorate in education policy; and Patrick Wolf, a Distinguished Professor who holds the Twenty-First Century Chair in School Choice.

Chapters examine topics such as the evolving legal and institutional frameworks behind home education, why some parents make this choice, home education environments, special education and outcomes regarding both academic achievement and political tolerance.

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