School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Sarah J Pannone


Homeschool, COVID-19, Motivation, Human Needs Theory, Compulsory Attendance Laws




The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to describe the motivation of first-time homeschool guardians who began homeschooling during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the southeastern region of the United States. The central research question is: What motivated first-time homeschool guardians in the southeastern region of the United States to homeschool their children during the COVID-19 pandemic? David C. McClelland’s motivational needs theory framed this study as it asserted individuals must satisfy four needs: achievement, affiliation, power, and avoidance. The relationship between McClelland’s theory and this study was the motivating factor behind the homeschool guardians’ decisions. This study included 11 participants selected through snowball sampling. A qualitative phenomenology method was used to collect data by conducting individual interviews, focus groups, and journal entries from the participants. The data analysis followed the guidelines constructed by Moustakas using the transcendental phenomenological approach. Motivation, support, and challenges were three significant themes revealed following the thematic analysis. The research study's results contributed to an increased understanding of first-time homeschool guardians’ motivations to homeschool during the COVID-19 pandemic. Homeschool guardians shared negative experiences with virtual learning via Zoom and abrupt school closures. Motivational factors to homeschool included flexibility with their daily schedule and curricula. The results supported previous researchers' claims that K-12 educational institutional closures disrupted education.

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