Homeschooling and Religious Fundamentalism



This article considers the relationship between homeschooling and religious fundamentalism by focusing on their intersection in the philosophies and practices of conservative Christian homeschoolers in the United States. Homeschooling provides an ideal educational setting to support several core fundamentalist principles: resistance to contemporary culture; suspicion of institutional authority and professional expertise; parental control and centrality of the family; and interweaving of faith and academics. It is important to recognize, however, that fundamentalism exists on a continuum; conservative religious homeschoolers resist liberal democratic values to varying degrees, and efforts to foster dialogue and accommodation with religious homeschoolers can ultimately help strengthen the broader civic fabric.


Home Education, Homeschooling, Christian Fundamentalism.

Paper Details

Paper Details
Topic EU Education Programs
Pages 17 - 28
Issue IEJEE, Volume 3, Issue 1, Special Issue Out of School Education
Date of acceptance 10 January 2010
Read (times) 664
Downloaded (times) 267

Author(s) Details


Indiana University, United States


Almond, G. A., Sivan, E., & Appleby, R. S. (1991). Fundamentalism: Genus and species. In M. E. Marty & R. S. Appleby (Eds.), Fundamentalisms Comprehended (pp. 399-424). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Ammerman, N. T. (1991). North American Protestant fundamentalism. In M. E. Marty & R. S. Appleby (Eds.), Fundamentalisms Observed (pp. 1-65). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Apple, M. (2005). Away with all the teachers: The cultural politics of home schooling. In B. S. Cooper (Ed.), Homeschooling in full view: A reader (pp. 75-95). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.

Balmer, R. (2007). Homeschooling endangers democracy. In H. Williams (Ed.), Homeschooling (pp. 16-24). Detroit, MI: Greenhaven Press.

Beck, C. W. (2006). Home education: Motives, numbers, and social integration: A mirror of  educational politics? Norsk pedagogisk tidsskrift, 3, 191-204.

Blacker, D. (1998). Fanaticism and schooling in the democratic state. American Journal of Education, 106, 241-272.

Carper, J. C. and Ray, B. D. (2002). Religion, schooling, and home education: Past and present. In E. L. Blumhofer (Ed.), Religion, education, and the American experience (pp. 223-242). Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press.

Cizek, G. J. (1994). Religious education in home schools: Goals/outcomes mismatch? Religious Education, 89(1), 43-51.

Gaither, M. (2009). Homeschooling in the USA: Past, present and future. Theory and Research in Education, 7(3), 331-346.

Gaither, M. (2008). Homeschool: An American history. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Joyce, K. (2009). Quiverfull: Inside the Christian patriarchy movement. Boston: Beacon Press.

Kaseman, L., and Kaseman, S. (1991). “Does homeschooling research help homeschooling?” Home Education Magazine, January-February.

Kunzman, R. (2009). Write these laws on your children: Inside the world of conservative Christian homeschooling. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

Liao, M. S. (2006). Keeping home: Home schooling and the practice of conservative Protestant identity. (Doctoral dissertation, Vanderbilt University, 2006) UMI Microform, UMI 3292673.

Lois, J. (2009). Emotionally layered accounts: Homeschoolers' justifications for maternal deviance. Deviant Behavior, 30(2), 201-34.

Lubienski, C. (2000). Whither the common good? A critique of home schooling. Peabody Journal of Education, 17(1&2), 167-178.

MacFarquhar, N. (2008, March 26). Many Muslims turn to home schooling. The New York Times. Available at

Marsden, G. M. (1980). Fundamentalism and American culture: The shaping of twentiethcentury evangelicalism, 1870-1925. New York: Oxford University Press.

Martinez, P. (2009). School is where home is. Islamic Horizons, 38(1), 46-51.

Marty, M. E. and Appleby, R. S. (1991). Introduction. In M. E. Marty & R. S. Appleby (Eds.), Fundamentalisms Observed (pp. vii-xiii). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

McDannell, C. (1995). Home schooling in contemporary America. In D. Chidester & E. T. Linenthal (Eds.), American sacred space (pp. 187-219). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Moss, P. A. (1995). Benedictines without monasteries: Homeschoolers and the contradictions of community. (Doctoral dissertation, Cornell University, 1995) UMI Microform, UMI 9509446.

Nemer, K. M. (2004). Schooling alone: Homeschoolers, individualism, and the public schools. (Doctoral dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles, 2004) UMI Microform, UMI 3142549.

Planty, M., Hussar, W., Snyder, T., Kena, G., KewalRamani, A., Kemp, J., Bianco, K., Dinkes, R. (2009). The Condition of Education 2009 (NCES 2009-081). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC.

Reich, R. (2002). The civic perils of homeschooling. Educational Leadership, 59(7), 56-59.

Robertson, C. (2010, 28 February). Judge grants asylum to German home schoolers. New York Times, p. A12.

Smith, C. (1998). American evangelicalism: Embattled and thriving. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Smith, C. and Sikkink, D. (1999, April). Is private school privatizing? First Things, 92, 16- 20.

Stevens, M. L. (2001). Kingdom of children: Culture and controversy in the homeschooling movement. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Sunstein, C. R. (2007). Ideological amplification. Constellations, 14(2), 273-279.

Valle, J. P. (1998). Their choice: How homeschooling makes sense to fundamentally Christian parents. (Doctoral dissertation, Pennsylvania State University, 1998). UMI Microform, UMI 9836783.

Van Galen, J. A. (1987). Explaining home education: Parents’accounts of their decisions to teach their own children. The Urban Review, 19(3), 161-177.

Villalba, C. M. (2009). Home-based education in Sweden: Local variations in forms of regulation. Theory and Research in Education, 7(3), 277-296.

Weithman, P. J. (2006). Religion and the obligations of citizenship. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Yuracko, K. (2008). Education off the grid: Constitutional constraints on homeschooling.