NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 12, 2006

In an elite tweak on home schooling, a growing number of families are choosing the ultimate in private school: hiring teachers to educate their children in their own homes, says Susan Saulny of the New York Times.

Parents say in-home teaching arrangements offer unparalleled levels of academic attention and flexibility in scheduling, in addition to a sense of family cohesion and autonomy over what children learn; to them, these advantages make up for the lack of a school social life, which they say can be replicated through group lessons in, say, ballet or sculpture, says Saulny.

But unlike traditional home-schoolers, these families are not trying to get more religion into their children's lives, or escape what some consider the tyranny of the government's hand in schools, ordinary education just doesn't fit their lifestyles, says Saulny:

  • From 1999 to 2003, the number of children who were educated at home increased by 29 percent to 1.1 million students nationwide; nearly 21 percent of them used a tutor.
  • The growing number of home-school support groups and companies that supply teachers and curricula have made it easier for the new model to develop.
  • Moreover, tutoring is more in the public consciousness these days because of the No Child Left Behind law and the vast array of test prep tutoring services being pitched to an increasingly tested national student body.

Furthermore, although many who follow the new model are wealthy, increasing numbers of middle class families more sociologically and racially diverse have begun to school their children at home, says Saulny.

Source: Susan Saulny, "The Gilded Age of Home Schooling," New York Times, June 5, 2006.

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