School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Judy Shoemaker

Primary Subject Area

Education, General; Education, Special


Home education, Home school, Homeschooling, Special education, Special needs


Education | Other Education | Special Education and Teaching


This qualitative study was designed to examine how homeschooling parents in Pennsylvania make the determination to engage with public school districts to accommodate the special education needs (SEN) of their children. This phenomenological study used direct interviews with 30 Pennsylvania families who are homeschooling children with SEN. Data were analyzed by using the constant comparative method. The study found that even though Pennsylvania's law allows families and school districts to work together to provide services to address the children's SEN, this does not happen often. Most families in this study utilized services from private resources. These private services were paid by insurance or by the families themselves. The results of this study suggest that seeking diagnoses of the SEN by private practitioners was not synonymous with identifying the SEN in documentation to school districts. The results also suggest the key role homeschool evaluators/consultants play in educating and supporting the families, and those families should choose their evaluators carefully. The results of the study may be helpful for homeschooling families, school district personnel, homeschool evaluators/consultants, homeschool cooperative group leaders, and special education teachers.