If it's in the New York Times, it must be true, eh? The popular conception of homeschoolers as ardent religionists or countercultural dropouts is put to the test and found to be . . . a gross over-simplification. Seems an increasing number of homeschool families really are pursuing it For The Children and in pursuit of Quality of Life. Thus saith the Times:
Newcomers to home schooling resist easy classification as part of the religious right or freewheeling left, who dominated the movement for decades, according to those who study the practice.Thank you, ideologues!
They come to home schooling fed up with the shortcomings of public education and the cost of private schools. Add to that the new nationwide standards — uniform curriculum and more testing — which some educators say penalize children with special needs, whether they are gifted, learning disabled or merely eccentric.
'It's a profound irony that the standards movement wound up alienating more parents and fueling the growth of home schooling,' said Mitchell L. Stevens, an educational psychologist at New York University and author of 'Kingdom of Children: Culture and Controversy in the Homeschooling Movement' (Princeton University Press, 2001).
'The presumption of home schooling is that children's distinctive needs come before the managerial needs of the schools,' he said. 'And, it's easier to do than it was 10 years ago, because the ideologues were so successful in making it legal and creating curriculum tools and organizational support.'
[Link via Joanne Jacobs.]
Update: Jesse Walker at Reason magazine's Hit & Run has picked up on this story as well. Plenty of interesting comments attached, not all of which I would endorse but nearly all of which are worth reading.