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Students' Perspective on Home-Schooling

The article "Learning at Home," Feb. 26, is informative and interesting, but it only presents a view of home-schooling from the perspectives of parents, teachers, and adults. I agree that parents must be willing to put time and effort into home-schooling, but whether or not they hold a college degree, their child can still learn.

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Home-schooling is not a one-sided endeavor. From my experience of being home-schooled since first grade, I know if I want to learn something and my parents are unable to "teach" it to me, I am able to find it out for myself. I taught myself block-carving and printing, and had a children's book published last year.

I feel I have put at least as much effort into my education as my parents have. People should bear in mind that children will not sit around and do nothing just because an adult is not scheduling their lives every minute of the day.

I also disagree with Sam Stringfield, the principal research scientist at the Center for the Social Organization of School at Johns Hopkins University, who says, "It's implausible to believe that the child would become a strong mathematician." Just because the parent didn't have a good background in math doesn't mean a child couldn't pursue math on his or her own if the motivation was there.

I hope home-schooling can be recognized as an educational decision where parents and children work together equally, and that the children are given at least as much credit as the parents.

Lydia J. Musco Royalston, Mass.

One of the chief concerns of home-schooling critics is that children taught at home have "inadequately prepared parents" and "weak curricula." In some instances this is true. However, I would like to add that our public schools are doing no better.

During my third and fourth grade years I was taken out of school to be taught by my mother. As is the fear of the critics, my mother was not adequately prepared, and I learned little more than any other child does over summer vacation. Nevertheless, when I was put back in school at the beginning of fifth grade I was at the head of my class and was able to adjust quickly to the more "rigid" curriculum.

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If parents are so inadequate please explain why children who are home taught are doing "25 percent better than the state's public school average."

I suggest that it is because our schools are no more adequately prepared, and have as weak a curricula as do most parents. Our education system must shape up and rise to the highest level that it can so that our children will be challenged. When that finally happens it will no longer be necessary for parents to have their children home-schooled.

Heather Garrett Rexburg, Idaho

Mothers help with gang problems

I read the opinion-page article "Priority: Safer, Saner, Stronger Communities," March 1, with more than a passing interest. The author's statement that "federal bureaucrats can't hope to match the wisdom of local leaders" hits the bull's-eye when it comes to dealing with social issues and problems.

In my town, which had serious rumblings from gang problems, a group of mothers got together and took the necessary action to keep their youngsters from gang-recruitment or gang-involvement. Almost spontaneously, city, school, and citizen assistance sprang up to expand upon the efforts of these good mothers.

Today a thriving, successful recreation and learning structure is entering its third year of operation as Save Our Youth Center. Its good works and its services to the youths of the nearby community come mostly from citizen-volunteers, all of whom have given freely and generously to sustain this most impressive activity.

Lefteris Lavrakas Costa Mesa, Calif.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to "Readers Write" and may be sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet e-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM.

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