January 31, 2008 News » Long Story Short

Long Story Short 

Most of us know homeschooling mainly via stereotypes and anecdotes: Homeschoolers are good spellers. Some manage to play football really well (at least, that's the case with Florida's Tim Tebow). And they can face social challenges.

Once it came out that Matthew Murray was homeschooled and had posted bitter rants online about his upbringing, his December shooting spree in Arvada and at New Life Church cast a cloud over the growing movement.

But none of these stories, by itself, says much about the thousands of families quietly doing math lessons at their kitchen tables. And I was surprised by my own reaction reporting this week's cover story ("One of these things ...," starting on p. 16).

Many homeschooling parents were enthusiastic to the point of contagiousness, and I saw the appeal of giving kids individual attention and the kind of nurturing environment that few, if any, public schools can provide.

The scarier part of parents controlling their kids' education: It's a largely unchecked phenomenon. In many cases, no one outside the family really knows what's going on, and researchers say good statistics on homeschooled kids are hard to come by.
Anthony Lane

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