The New Face of Home Schooling ; More and More, African-American Families Redefine 'Homeroom'

By Jonsson, Patrik | The Christian Science Monitor, April 29, 2003 | Go to article overview

The New Face of Home Schooling ; More and More, African-American Families Redefine 'Homeroom'


Jonsson, Patrik, The Christian Science Monitor


There are 200-odd houses in Durham's Eno Trace, but the Smiths' home, at 13 Warbler Lane, is a bit unusual. The first clue: a wooden school desk in the middle of the den.

While other kids stream to bus stops on Monday morning, the two oldest Smith girls - Courtney and Erika - head out to babysit: lessons in physics and American history often wait until nightfall. Meanwhile, E.J. and Cassie, the two youngest, sit back on the couch and fill their notebooks with essays. When they get into trouble with composition, they yell one word: "Mom!"

It used to be predominantly Southern whites who taught their kids at home rather than sending them to integrated schools. But today, what's happening in this well-groomed, mostly black subdivision points to a new reality: Thousands of African-American parents are home-schooling their kids in a growing backlash against America's public-education system - schools that many parents deem too dangerous, too judgmental, or just bad fits. And they're confronting Pythagoras and Shakespeare in venues far beyond the living room: De facto districts are springing up from suburban churches to YMCAs.

But while many point to black home schooling as a means of empowerment, others say the trend turns its back on a major victory of the Civil Rights struggle: equal access to public schools.

"What our fathers believed in the 1950s is that if it was a white school, it had to be better," says Joyce Burges, who has home- schooled four children in Baker, La. "But in the last five years, more and more black parents are saying about those same schools: 'I'm not going to sacrifice my children to a system where they're suffering.' "

A fundamental wrinkle

The total number of black home-schooling families remains small: While roughly 9.5 million African-Americans are enrolled in public schools, about 120,000 are learning at home. But that's up from just a few thousand in 1998 - a fundamental wrinkle in how minorities are educated in America. In 1997, about one percent of home-schooled students were African-American. Now, that figure is closer to 5 percent. Within a few cul-de-sacs of the Smiths' house, for instance, a dozen black families home-school.

"African-American families are increasingly looking at their own environment and asking a difficult question: How can I give my child the opportunities for success and achievement?" says Charles Christian, a sociologist at the University of Maryland at College Park. "They're simply taking a stronger and stronger leadership role over their families."

In the new black suburbs of Atlanta; Richmond, Va.; and Prince Georges County, Md., the home-schooling movement is burgeoning. And a bevy of new groups and resources is feeding it: In Maryland, a group of black housewives-turned-home-schoolers has banded together as the Mocha Moms, and in Atlanta, a home-schooling organization is a hub for tips and tutors.

In Chapel Hill, N.C., stay-at-home mom Jennifer James got so excited about home schooling that she started a national association of black home-schooling families. "Right now, it's all so new - and people are looking for a lot of information," says Ms. James.

The scene here in Durham may be the most typical: It's in this enormous swell of the black middle class, in particular, that home schooling is taking off. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The New Face of Home Schooling ; More and More, African-American Families Redefine 'Homeroom'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.