Western Washington UniversityCommunications and Marketing
DATE: January 25, 2013 11:50:08 AM PST
WWU Professor Jennifer Lois to Discuss Homeschooling on Feb. 27
Title: ‘Home Is Where the School Is: The Logic of Homeschooling and the Emotional Labor of Mothering’

Contact:  Jennifer Lois, WWU Associate Professor of Sociology, (360) 650-3007 or Jen.Lois@wwu.edu

BELLINGHAM – Jennifer Lois, associate professor of Sociology at Western Washington University, will give a lecture titled “Home Is Where the School Is: The Logic of Homeschooling and the Emotional Labor of Mothering” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27 in the Bellingham City Council Chambers, 210 Lottie St., in Bellingham.

The free, public talk, an installment of the WWU College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean’s Lecture Series, is co-sponsored by the City of Bellingham.

Homeschooling mothers constantly face judgmental questions about their choices, and yet the homeschooling movement continues to grow, with an estimated 1.5 million American children now schooled at home.  These children are schooled mainly by stay-at-home mothers who must tightly manage their daily schedules to avoid burnout and maximize relationships with their children.  In addition to these daily stressors, homeschooling mothers must simultaneously sustain a desire to sacrifice their independent selves for many years in order to savor the experience of motherhood. 

Drawing on rich data collected through eight years of fieldwork and dozens of in-depth interviews, Jennifer Lois will discuss her sociological research with homeschooling mothers.  Her analysis reveals that at the root of this trend lies the American belief that motherhood ends when children grow up, an understanding that leads most mothers to experience emotional conflict over how they use their time.  Homeschooling provides a way for some mothers to relieve this conflict by devoting the bulk of this precious time to nurturing their children.  Speaking from the center of the work/life balance debate, Lois’s research raises profound questions about the expectations of modern motherhood and the limits of parenting.

Lois received her doctorate in Sociology from the University of Colorado-Boulder. For her first book, she spent six years studying a volunteer, mountain-environment search and rescue group and became interested in gender, heroism, and the sociology of emotions. “Heroic Efforts” was published in 2003 by New York University Press and in 2006 was honored with the Outstanding Recent Contribution Award from the American Sociological Association’s Sociology of Emotions Section. Lois’ most recent book, “Home Is Where the School Is” focuses on motherhood, emotions and time and was published by New York University Press in December 2012.

Audience questions for Lois’ Feb. 27 talk will be welcomed.  The lecture will be recorded and shown on Bellingham TV Channel 10.

For more information on this lecture, please contact Katrina Schaeffer, WWU College of Humanities & Social Sciences, (360) 650-3763, or katrina.schaeffer@wwu.edu

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