Continuing the theme of last week’s post, here follows a round-up of more recent treatments of homeschooling in the mainstream press.
First, here is a human-interest piece from the New Yorker about homeschooled child actors. Rebecca Mead describes the lives of several of the child actors who are starring in the West End Theater production of “Snoopy!!!” Several of the children are also in the Metropolitan Opera’s Children’s Chorus. For these New York kids, homeschooling is a way to escape the predictable and prepare for more creative work. One of the kids, 18 year-old Cole Houston, who was the lighting designer and stage manager for the play, just received a full scholarship to M.I.T. despite not having a high school diploma.
Next comes a story from The Economist profiling several religious homeschooling families. This article is the sort that used to appear regularly in mainstream outlets back in the 1990s, explaining to their audience the basics of this strange new phenomenon of homeschooling. This kind of article appears far less frequently these days now that homeschooling is no longer new news for most. This article stresses the recent NCES findings of continued growth, especially among religious conservatives. It speculates (citing Michael Farris) that having Barack Obama in the white house will only increase the trend of conservatives away from public schools.
A very short note in the American School Board Journal describes how some Baltimore area families were forced to turn to homeschooling after a new policy took effect whereby students found engaged in arson or detonating explosives were permanently expelled from school. 34 children under the age of 16 were expelled last year and had to either attend private school or homeschool.
Over in Southern Illinois, here’s a sensational case that has made the national news about Diane Dobbs, a grandmother who hid her daughter and grandson in her home for two years during a custody dispute with the grandson’s father, Mike Chekevdia. The boy was homeschooled during this time, hidden out of fear that the father would sexually abuse him. “Good Morning America” ran a story on this case, which you can read and see here.
Finally, here’s a story from the St. Petersburg Times about homeschooled 10-year-old Alana Whiting, an up and coming tennis talent from Florida. Her mother pulled Alana and her sister from school “to have more time with them” and “so the kids could spend time on their activities.” The story describes Alana’s gruelling but rewarding hours training to become an elite tennis player.
As I said last week, these stories once again illustrate the breadth of experiences going by the name homeschooling. The families chronicled in The Economist have long been the most common type, but they are joined by child athletes, actors, and even troublemakers and fugitives.