Eight-year-old Ben Shapiro’s days are a blur of gymnastics, piano playing, and art history lessons. He can also be found doing fractions, reading a biography of Marco Polo, and, soon, delving into physics. But he’s not at school. And he’s not alone.
He is part of a fast-evolving home-school movement that is traveling away from the stereotype of child and parent at the kitchen table. Shapiro does spend most of his day with his mother, but not alone. Instead, she shuttles him from one group activity to another.
The home is no longer where all the action is in this new wave of home schooling. Although some instruction takes place at home, parents now choose from an increasing number of options that allow their children to interact with and learn alongside other home-schooled peers. The opportunities for socialization are numerous – swim lessons at the YMCA, staging a play with like-minded friends found over the Internet, or any of myriad academic courses offered at cooperative schools in the area.
“It all can be subcontracted,” said Marcia Coakley, who teaches her 14-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter at home in Medway. “There’s so many resources out there, it’s almost hard to decide.”