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Archive for the ‘homeschooling’ Category

About 1.5 million American children were home-schooled in 2007, representing 2.9 percent of the school-age population, according to a study released by the National Center of Education Statistics. The number of home-school children increased by 74 percent since 1999.

MSNBC recently published two articles on this trend. The first story, “Curriculum or not? Plenty of options for home schooling,” gives parents new to home education tips on were to begin the process in their state and how to select the right curriculum to fit their child’s needs.

“There should never be a set curriculum,” Janice Hedin, a parent who home-schools her children, told MSNBC. “Every child is so unique. Our goal as parents is to custom design the education that fits our children.”

The second article, “As home-schooling moves to mainstream, stigma fades,” shows how diverse home-schooling households have become. While most say faith is their primary motivation, others choose this path for a variety of reasons that include dissatisfaction with the local school system, caring for special-needs kids, safety concerns, flexibility to travel and the chance to spend more time with their children, MSNBC reports.

“There are 50 different laws in 50 different states, and because of this diversity, it’s impossible to have a national blanket statement about the status of home-schoolers,” Milton Gaither, author of ‘Homeschool: An American History’, told MSNBC. “For some states, even if they have good policies, there’s so little money in the budgets that home-schoolers are not a priority.”

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Homeschooling demographics have changed over the past few decades. Back in the day, parents who homeschooled their children were considered hippies or radicals who did not want to conform to the traditional public school model. Today, however, homeschoolers are increasingly becoming well-educated and wealthy according to new figures from the U.S. Department of Education.

As of spring 2007, an estimated 1.5 million, or 2.9 percent of all school-age children in the U.S., were homeschooled, which has doubled since 1999. What’s more interesting is that in 1999 63.6 percent of homeschooling families earned less than $50,000 per year. Today, 60 percent earn more than $50,000. Many parents who homeschool their children cite “religious and moral” reasons for doing so.

I have a close friend who decided to homeschool her 9-year-old daughter after she began falling behind academically and acting up in class. By mid-year, her daughter’s behavior changed drastically, her reading jumped by a few grade levels, and she began to score higher on tests. In Maryland, where my friend lives, her daughter was still able to participate in extracurricular activities and sports at a local school. My friend confessed that although educating her child was one of the hardest tasks she has ever had, the freedom of homeschooling allowed them to visit museums and other educational and cultural places that many public schools do not have the time or financing to offer.

Although my friend may not consider herself to be wealthy, her husband’s occupation and salary allow them the freedom to offer their children an alternative teaching experience that low-income families—who rely on two incomes—are unable to provide.

In a USA Today article, Henry Cato—a blogger, who homeschools his two daughters with his wife—said that well-educated and wealthy parents are more likely to be comfortable with taking risks when it comes to educating their children since many of these parents have taken risks in their careers.

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