More Parents Turn Toward Homeschooling
> 6/7/2006 9:44:06 AM

A recent New York Times article suggests that homeschooling is slowly changing from a fringe practice serving child actors and the intensely religious into a common educational alternative for affluent parents. The particular style of learning discussed in the article is not traditional homeschool, where parents teach their kids independently, but a situation involving paid professionals who act as travelling tutors. This option comes at a very high premium, often costing more than exclusive private schools. While increasing numbers of parents can afford such intense one-on-one attention for their children, most who homeschool choose to teach on their own.

Particulars vary across the country, but most school districts do not have excessively strict requirements for homeschoolers. Parents usually do not have to be certified teachers, and in some areas the only standards which apply are those regulating attendance. Responding to the most common charges that homeschooled children are not as well adapted socially, supporters claim that those who learn at home actually spend more time in the "real world," and that, while private and especially public schools simply teach children to be "passive and compliant," kids who learn at home:

...develop self-confidence and self-esteem; they learn to deal with difficult people
when they are developmentally ready.  When they are ready to go out into the world they know they have choices, a foundation developed in homeschooling.

Greater reliance on a faith-based curriculum is still one of the major motivators among parents who choose to homeschool, but the most common reason given is that they believe traditional education to be generally inferior and want a greater degree of control over their children's learning environments. According to official estimates, the number of American children who undergo homeschooling rose from two hundred fifty thousand in 1986 to more than two million today, and the trend shows no signs of dissipating. While many still view homeschool as a refuge for fundamentalists and children in showbusiness, it is a serious practice that will be with us as long as parents remain largely dissatisfied with other educational venues.

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