More Parents Choose To Home School Kids

The U.S. Department of Education estimates the number of students taught at home grew 29 percent in the past five years.

WEWS-TV in Cleveland studied this new trend and learned the reasons parents give for educating their children at home are as varied as the number of lesson plans now available to them.

Some parents said they are anxious about school violence and terrorism. Others said they can teach their children better than anyone else.

Allie Curtis' favorite subject is art.

"You get to paint and stuff like that," Allie said.

Like many first-graders, Allie also studies phonics and math. But unlike most first-graders, her classroom is inside her Akron, Ohio, home and her mom, Debbie, is her teacher.

Debbie Curtis enrolled Allie in the Ohio Virtual Academy -- an online public charter school.

"Our school district was not where we wanted it to be," Curtis said. "Disruptions within the classroom is really what hinders learning."

As Allie gets older, she'll have to take proficiency tests just like public school students. At the end of every month, Curtis sends a portfolio to a teacher assigned to Allie, and the teacher checks Allie's progress.

Heidi Bogue, of Wadsworth, prefers a more traditional approach to home educating her oldest son, Josiah. She uses books to teach him vocabulary, science and history. Bogue chose to home school her son so the family could spend more time together.

For this kind of home schooling, a parent can either turn in an academic portfolio, or the child is tested each year. Bogue's background is not in teaching, but she says the books easily break down the lessons.

"All I need to do is flip open to the page where we're at for that day and it'll tell me what I need to do," Bogue said.

Rebecca Lowry is the chief academic officer for the Cleveland Municipal School District.

"I think we all recognize a parent's right to homeschool. We believe, however, that the public school system can offer far more opportunities than parents can offer themselves," Lowry said.

In Cleveland, public schools lose about $5,000 for every child who's not enrolled, the television station reported. But for Rebecca Lowry, the issue is more than money. She used to work with students in another state who were re-entering the public school system after being home schooled.

"So often what we would see would be that children were from two to three to four years behind and it was detrimental to them," Lowry said.

Yet many home schooled students who go on to college have above average SAT scores.