Home school rise in Florida; yea, that explains it

From the Miami Herald posted on Sat, Apr. 19, 2008 BY KATHLEEN McGRORY and MARICE COHN BAND / MIAMI HERALD STAFF click to read more.
Once illegal in the state, home schooling has entered the educational mainstream, with several thousand South Florida children getting lessons at home.     Ginny Pared teaches her 7-year-old son Jason about currency.Nine-year-old Tyler Jones has an easy commute to school.     He rolls out of bed, dresses, bounces down the stairs of his family’s Coral Springs home, and slides into a seat at the kitchen table.     Today’s lesson: possessive nouns.     Tyler’s mother, Carrie Jones, lugs an oversize whiteboard into the kitchen, props it on an easel, and leads her son through a dozen exercises in his grammar workbook.     ”Piece of cake, mom,” Tyler says afterward. “What’s next?”     Tyler is one of several thousand South Florida children for whom home doubles as school. Statewide, more than 55,000 students are home-schooled — a remarkable number, experts say, considering that the practice was illegal in Florida a little more than two decades ago.     What was once seen as an alternative for parents seeking a faith-based education is increasingly becoming a choice of mainstream parents.     Over the past decade, the trend has given rise to a multimillion-dollar industry. Co-ops and support groups abound. Online, virtual support groups and lesson plans are just a click away.    ‘There’s this notion among some parents that the public schools are failing, and that they can provide a better education to their kids,” said Eugene F. Provenzo Jr., an education professor at the University of Miami. “They believe they’re presenting their kids with a less technocratic culture, and one that’s more desirable.”     The U.S. Department of Education estimates that there are 1.1 million home-schoolers nationwide — a little more than 2 percent of the school-age population.

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