The Economist on homeschooling

Education: Keep it in the family via The Economist

Every morning five-year-old Tristan starts his school day by reading in bed with his mother. He especially likes Enid Blyton. And even though he often doesn’t bother to get out of his pyjamas in time for his first class of the day, at the age of five he has a reading age of between seven and eight. He is also ahead of his peers in a variety of subjects—all, his mother reckons, thanks to home schooling. Three decades ago home schooling was illegal in 30 states. It was considered a fringe phenomenon, pursued by cranks, and parents who tried it were often persecuted and sometimes jailed. Today it is legal everywhere, and is probably the fastest-growing form of education in America. According to a new book, “Home Schooling in America”, by Joseph Murphy, a professor at Vanderbilt University, in 1975 10,000-15,000 children were taught at home. Today around 2m are—about the same number as attend charter schools.

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