‘…for a growing number of local students, their classroom is their living room and their teacher is their mom or dad, as the number of parents choosing to home school — or even “unschool” their children — climbed to nearly 3,000 students, according to New York City Department of Education.’
Farran Powell, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer
UPPER WEST SIDE — For most students in New York City, the end of August means stocking up on school supplies, picking up uniforms or school clothes, and wondering who their new teachers and classmates will be.
But for a growing number of local students, their classroom is their living room and their teacher is their mom or dad, as the number of parents choosing to home school — or even “unschool” their children — climbed to nearly 3,000 students, according to New York City Department of Education.
Rina Crane, 38, who lives in Kingsbridge Heights with her husband Mark, a 49-year-old MTA train operator, decided to home school her daughter in 2010 after feeling dissatisfied with the public school in their neighborhood.
“She’s very bright and the teachers couldn’t give her extra work and had to just focus on the kids that were behind, ” Crane said of her 7-year-old daughter, who spent several weeks at P.S. 86 before her mom pulled her out. Crane had attended the same grade school as a child in the 1970s.
According to the New York City Department of Education‘s special home school division, which monitors the children enrolled in home school education, the number of parents who choose to educate their children at home rose from 2,350 in the 2008-2009 school year to 2,766 in 2011- 2012.
The citywide growth came amid an uptick in homeschooling rates nationwide, growing at a pace between 7 to 15 percent each year, according to the National Home Education Research Institute. The research group estimates that more than 2 million children in the U.S. are home schooled.
Home school experts say that most NYC parents who choose home schooling make their decision based on financial reasons and dissatisfaction with the public school system, rather than a religious motivation, which is more common statewide as well as nationwide.