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More central Maine families choosing home schooling option

Nilf Meldrum hid behind his mother Barbara Meldrum on his first day at Farmington’s Mallet Elementary School.

Now 23 and a computer programmer in California, Nilf loved mental algebra games as a kid. But he was so shy that his teachers assumed he was slow and sent him to remedial classes. When he later tested above the 98th percentile, they sent him for gifted education, which meant more work.

“He never had his needs met in school,” said Barbara Meldrum, of Wilton. “Everything I’m saying about him applies to other kids as well. They punish kids for being intelligent.”

When two suicides by Nilf’s peers happened in Mt. Blue High School, Barbara Meldrum began thinking of alternatives. She tried a mixture of public, private and home schooling for her second son. For her youngest son, it was home school all the way.

The Meldrums are part of a rising home-school trend statewide. Maine now has 4,595 registered home-schoolers, compared with 3,502 five years ago. In the same period, home schooling numbers in central Maine have gone up 44 percent, from 746 to 1,075. Cities such as Augusta and Waterville have nearly doubled home-schooler numbers. Read more…

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