For the Love of Learning – Homeschooling Research – #51


For the Love of Learning Episode 51



Show Title:

Homeschooling Research

Monday February 15, 2015  8:00 pm – 10:00 pm EST
Tuesday February 16, 2015 1:00 am – 3:00 am GMT


Gina Riley
Alan Thomas
Sue Pattersson

In this episode we are going to explore the homeschooling research with three education researchers. As the number of those choosing to home educate grows around the world, researchers are focusing their attention on this population too, in greater number. Tonight, our panel will share some of their findings as we discuss the trends, successes and challenges within the home education world.

Gina Riley

ginaGina Riley, Ph.D. is an educational psychologist and Clinical Professor of Adolescent Special Education at Hunter College. Previously, she has taught graduate and undergraduate classes in psychology, school psychology, mental health counseling and special education at Mercy College in Westchester County and Nyack College in Rockland County. Her master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation both focused on measures of self-determination and intrinsic motivation in homeschoolers, and her current research (with Dr. Peter Gray of Boston College) focuses on unschooling and adult unschooling outcomes. Other research interests include: unschooling in other cultures, the development of reading skills in unschoolers, clinical child neuropsychology, intrinsic motivation and self determination, and supported decision making in those with intellectual disabilities. Although her current life is seeped in academic pursuits, her fondest memories come from homeschooling her college aged son from K – 12th grade. (list of publications)

Alan Thomas

alanAlan is a developmental psychologist with a longstanding interest in how children learn. He began researching home education at Charles Darwin University, Australia. He is now at the UCL Institute of Education, London. Alan’s research focuses on “unschooling” or autonomous and informal learning. He has written a number of books, the most recent one being “How Children Learn at Home” written with his colleague Dr Harriet Pattison. Their new research deals with home educated children learning to read without being taught. As far as he knows theirs is the only research which attempts to explain how children learn in a way which confronts nearly everything that professional educators believe to be essential for learning to take place. For the last year he has been a part time home educator for his two grandchildren.

“How Children Learn at Home” by Alan Thomas and Harriet Pattison, London, Continuum
Alan Thomas and Harriet Pattison (2013) “Informal home education: philosophical aspirations put into practice”.  Studies in Philosophy and Education. Vol. 32:pp. 141–154.

Sue Patterson

sueSue has three grown unschooled “children” who are now 26, 24 and 21. She has had several careers over time, and her family moved frequently with the Air Force for over a 20 year period. They lived in many communities from San Antonio, Texas to Anchorage Alaska, from Dixon, California to Greensboro, North Carolina and many places in between. With each move, Sue and her family connected with families, parents and children joining multiple support groups, homeschool communities and occasionally starting their own when none of the options available fit her family. She and her family went to numerous conferences around the country, listened to speakers, met other families, shared stories and became well versed in the world of home education.

Sue says that she didn’t start out as someone who knew she’d be a homeschooling mom. She didn’t read any books about it or subscribe to magazines on the subject. For all practical purposes, she considered herself a fairly mainstream soccer mom from the suburbs. But it didn’t take long to realize that school was not a good fit for her family. After trying out traditional homeschooling first, Sue and her family moved into unschooling and then soon applied the principles to parenting as well.

Sue also has a coaching practice, where most of her clients are leaving or about to leave the school system but wanted a coach/mentor to help them through some of their own obstacles and get them on steady ground.
For more information on working with Sue:

Sue has recently published the book Homeschooled Teens – where she interviewed 75 teens and young adults from 15-39 about their lives as homeschooled teenagers. Readers are finding Homeschooled Teens to be a reassuring look at what the “high school” years can hold for adolescents. Her book is available at Amazon or at her self-publishing website.

Sue hosts the Unschooling Mom2Mom Facebook group with nearly 7500 members – and that’s just in a year and half! She has created a website, , full of resources, links, and info. Sue is also the Managing Editor for The Homeschooler Post – – now sharing articles online for free to help families learn more about learning and parenting.



Lainie Liberti

As always, you can find out more about your host, Lainie Liberti at her website and the alternative education & world schooling project she runs with her teenage son at: You can also connect with her on twitter @ilainie & facebook.

For full archives of this show and programming schedule, please visit: 

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For comments, questions, suggestions or if you’d like to be guest on the show, please contact us here.



1 Comment

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