A growing number of parents are choosing not to send their children to school to educate them at home. This is also happening in Italy, where home education has started arousing scholars’ interest. We cannot dismiss it as local vogue: it is an international and diverse trend that is likely bound to grow. Moreover, during the last months, the restrictions and the concerns related to the COVID-19 epidemic have been a catalyst for many families worldwide who were already sceptical of the traditional school system and started home educating their children. To better understand this many-sided phenomenon, a look capable of holding its micro-, meso-, and macro-levels is particularly needed. In my contribution, I will remark on the homeschooling movement considering the international literature on the topic and an ethnographic study I conducted on parents’ point of view in Italy. I will claim that the geo-temporal diffusion of home education bears witness to some characteristics of our contemporary society e.g. the emergence of intensive parenting, the reported loss of social prestige and authority of teachers, and the general narrowing of the epistemic gap between professional and lay visions. Lastly, it calls attention to the tension between mass schooling and the growing demand for more individualised learning paths.
Anna Chinazzi, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy
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