Structured and unstructured homeschooling: a proposal for broadening the taxonomy

Ari Neuman, Oz Guterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


In recent decades, parental involvement in their children’s education has been steadily increasing. Perhaps the ultimate form of parental involvement is the phenomenon called elective home education–EHE (also known as homeschooling). It is customary to divide EHE into two categories according to the degree of structure: structured EHE and unstructured EHE (or unschooling). Advocates of structured learning study in the home framework according to a defined curriculum, whereas unstructured learning advocates study content determined in accordance with the child’s wishes, with no external dictates. This division relates to learning as one entity. This article proposes to distinguish between two dimensions of structure: content and process. In order to demonstrate this distinction, qualitative research was conducted in which 30 mothers who educate their children at home were interviewed and asked what they actually do within the framework of EHE. The research findings suggest that the two types of EHE are indeed different from one another with regard to the structure of the content of instruction and learning as well as the structure of the process. The article addresses the importance of broadening the traditional distinction (structured and unstructured EHE) to include content and process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-371
Number of pages17
JournalCambridge Journal of Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education.


  • EHE
  • Elective home education
  • homeschooling
  • structured content
  • structured process
  • unschooling


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