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Home education gaining in popularity

Home education gaining in popularity

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SALT LAKE CITY — More people around the nation are home schooling their children, for a variety of reasons.

Petter Olsen shows the schoolroom set up in his Saratoga Springs home. This is where his children are taught according to their own style, pace and needs.

"We mainly felt we could provide our kids a custom experience," he said. "They could move faster or slower, or repeat a concept if they were not getting it."

They already use a program from the Waterford Institute for their middle child, and next year will try Washington Online for their older daughter. Olsen says technology will only help the trend of growth in home schooling numbers.

"The cost savings are huge, ability to customize is huge. Those things will help us turn around education as a nation," he said.

32nd Annual Convention and Curriculum Fair
  • June 8 - 9
  • Utah Valley Convention Center
    220 W. Center Street, Provo
  • Keynote speaker: Catherine Levison
  • Registration and more info:

Olsen is the president of the Utah Home Education Association. He says more people are home educating, regardless of ideology, religion, status or what have you.

He says there are so many hardworking, dedicated teachers and professionals in the public school system. But some parents decide to home school because they want to control the curriculum. Others are worried about social issues like bullying and values in public schools, while others want to meet their children's individual learning needs.

Residents can learn more at the Utah Home Education Convention this weekend.

A 2007 home-schooling survey by the National Center For Education Statistics — the most recent data available — shows a little more than 1.5 million children were being home-schooled nationwide. That represents an increase from 1.1 million students in spring 2003.

The center will release new home-schooling statistics this fall.

A Home School Legal Defense Association study in 2009 showed home-schoolers, on average, scored 37 percentile points above public school students on standardized achievement tests.


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