More opting to stay home

Parents are one of their children’s first teachers, teaching them to walk, talk and tie their shoes. But once children reach 5 years old, parents decide who will teach them reading, writing and arithmetic.

Some families choose free public education, while others choose to pay for private school. But a growing number of families are choosing a third alternative – home schooling.

There are about 850,000 home-schooled students in the United States, according to a 1999 National Household Education Survey. The number of home-schooled students in Kansas is not available because the state requires families to register as unaccredited private schools, making it difficult to differentiate between the two, said Kathy Toelkes, Kansas State Department of Education director of communications and recognition programs.

Mike Neal, assistant dean of the University of Kansas School of Education, estimates the number of Kansas students educated at home at about 3 percent, but said the number is rapidly changing.

A better education was one of the most often listed responses among respondents to the National Household Education survey about why they chose to home school, followed by religious reasons and a poor learning environment at school. Read more…

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