Homeschooling has gone mainstream, concludes Milton Gaither in Education Next. An estimated 1.1 million to 2.5 million children are educated at home. Others attend “cybercharters,” learning at home using online curricula provided by tax-funded charter organizations.
Home schooling is blending with other education movements to lead the way toward a 21st-century education matrix that is far more dynamic and adaptive than the schooling patterns of the past.
Only 30 percent of homeschooling parents give religious reasons.
. . . reasons range from concerns about special education to bad experiences with teachers or school bullies to time-consuming outside activities to worries over peanut allergies.
Homeschooling parents are great collaborators, organizing courses and activities.
Journalist Peter Beinart found that Wichita’s 1,500 home-schooling families had created “three bands, a choir, a bowling group, a math club, a 4-H Club, boy- and girl-scout troops, a debate team, a yearly musical, two libraries and a cap-and-gown graduation.” “Home-schooled” children were meeting in warehouses or business centers for classes “in algebra, English, science, swimming, accounting, sewing, public speaking, and Tae Kwan Do.”
Ppublic school districts have lost the fight to criminalize homeschooling, Gather writes. Some now offer part-day enrichment classes to regain a fraction of per-student funding.
Also in Education Next: What happens when states adopt alternative certification for new teachers that’s truly an alternative to education school?
Genuine alternative certification opens the door to more minority teachers, and student learning is more rapid in states where the reform has been introduced.
“Scientific evidence that alternative certification harms students” is “somewhere between scant and nonexistent.”