As a story in the Wall Street Journal recently noted, homeschooling is adapting to new environments:
The San Francisco Schoolhouse…started classes Tuesday in the Richmond district with an initial enrollment of four first-graders…Unlike most homeschooling, in which a child is primarily taught by his or her own parents, students in co-ops often share teachers and sometimes are taught in shared classrooms outside the home. In the case of San Francisco Schoolhouse, the families will share the cost of paying for two teachers and parents will serve as field-trip directors.
In an age when parents fret about their two-year-old’s chances of getting into Harvard and savvy tutors charge an arm and a leg for SAT prep classes, homeschooling co-ops offer an opportunity to middle-class parents to customize their children’s education without the expense of a good school or the poor teaching at more affordable institutions.There may be an opportunity for entrepreneurs in these co-ops as well. A connected person might find success in coordinating teachers, parents, field trips, classroom lessons, and, eventually, exam and college application preparation.It’s still a new system but homeschooling co-ops are on the rise. If a co-op provides a solid and diverse education at less than the cost of private school, expect them to pop up all over the US soon. In any case, this phenomenon underlines a key aspect of the change taking place in America’s schools. The public schools are not going to be replaced by a single alternative system; new forms of education are going to appear.A truly forward thinking community would try to accelerate this process, offering vouchers and other incentives to parents and community groups who are willing to create the schools of the future. Ultimately, parents should have the option to spend education money on whatever program they believe will best serve their children.