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Home Schoolers Content to Take Children's Lead

On weekdays, during what are normal school hours for most students, the Billings children do what they want. One recent afternoon, time passed loudly, and without order or lessons, in their home in a North Side neighborhood here.  In a traditional school setting, such free time would probably be called recess. But for Juli Walter, the children's mother, it is "child-led learning," something she considers the best in home schooling.

"It is not clear to me how they will transition to a structured world and meet the most basic requirements for reading, writing and math," said Luis Huerta, a professor of public policy and education at Teachers College of Columbia University, whose national research includes a focus on home schooling.  "As school choice expands and home-schooling in general grows, this is one of those models that I think the larger public sphere needs to be aware of because the folks who are engaging in these radical forms of school are doing so legally," said Professor Huerta of Columbia. "If the public and policy makers don't feel that this is a form of schooling that is producing productive citizens, then people should vote to make changes accordingly."

This article appeared in the November 26 edition of the New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/26/education/26unschool.html

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