Is homeschooling cost-effective?

Scott David Gray (sdavid@tiac.net)
Mon, 7 Apr 1997 01:19:28 -0400 (EDT)

Dale Reed wrote the following words about home schooling and economics:

> I thought that Anne made her points well and I agree with them but also
> there is an economic issue.
>
> For $3500 or whatever it costs at Sudbury nowadays a homeschooler can
> pay for a lot of Violin lessons, math tutoring, time in Cyberspace,
> horse feed, a new banjo, and dues in whatever social clubs he or she
> wants to join and participate in. Could even pay for a new bicycle to
> ride to South America(read "Real Lives," by Grace Llewellyn). And the
> homeschooling student gets to chose his or her learning environments and
> teachers instead of having to compromise with a school's staff and other
> students.

Any household wealthy enough that one adult can afford to _not_ go to
work, is one which could fairly easily afford low-priced tuition. At
least in Massachusetts, you'd have a hard time finding any school
superintendants that would allow a child to home-school when no parents
are at home.
By itself, this is not an argument against homeschooling. However, I
think there is no evidence for homeschooling being an "economical"
answer.

Personally, I agree with Hannah's thoughts about the value of the
school community. I think its especially important to most kids at SVS
(or at least it was to me, when I was a student) that its _their_ place,
and not their parents'. Privacy is only one part of it; people also like
to feel that they are partners in the _building_ of a community.
Remember that when you're a kid you own very little. You live in
your parents' house and eat their food, and live in a household community
that was mostly formed by your parents. What dinnertable discussion is
like, the level of tidyness, how much space/privacy each member gets, etc,
are all aspects of a culture that was formed by your parents before you
were born -- or at least before you could talk. A kid remains a "guest"
at some fundamental level.
A kid at SVS is not just a part of the school community, but also
plays a role in the continuous inventing and reinventing of that community
and all the little sub-communities she involves herself with. Wanting to
make her own friendly communities, apart from the parents, doesn't mean
that the child dislikes the household community any more than an amateur
artist's desire to paint is a critique of Rembrandt.
Time away from the home setting does wonders. By having a life,
interests, and friends away from your family, you find yourself with more
interesting things to say _to_ your family -- and thereby help build, and
gain some sense of ownership of, the household community.

--Scott David Gray
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