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Home Schooling Popular Choice for Rural Families

An increasing percentage of rural families are choosing to home-school their children.

Most published research on rural home-schoolers is from the late 1990s, and at that time, rural home-schoolers represented 2.2 percent of the school-age population, compared with the national average of 1.7 percent, according to a new article on the Daily Yonder news Web site.

Those figures have grown considerably since then. In 2007, 2.9 percent of the country's children were home-schooled, and the geographic area with the highest percentage of home-schooled students was "rural," with 4.9 percent, according to the most recent National Center for Education Statistics. The nation had more than 1.5 million children taught at home in 2007.

Although some rural residents have been drawn to home schooling because of their isolated location, others say rural communities can be hostile toward the practice.

"Local schools can become prickly because lower student population census means funding cuts," said Scott Woodruff, a senior counsel at the nonprofit Home School Legal Defense Association, which works to protect parents' rights to home-school their children, in the Daily Yonder article. "People may lose their jobs, and schools may close. Administrators may become antagonistic especially if a family of five pulls out of the public school. There is more aggressive hostility and berating of our rural home-school families."

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