Carmen spied this article and shared it with me. We think there are some race, class and general parenting issues to dig into here. From the New York Times:
ONE morning early last month, long after that frantic hour between 7 and 8 when most New York City parents were hustling their 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds out the door and into their first day of kindergarten, Benny Rendell, the 5-year-old son of Joanne Rendell, a novelist, and Brad Lewis, a New York University professor, lay sprawled asleep in his bed, enjoying what his mother described as his first day of unkindergarten.Benny stayed asleep, as is his habit, until well past 11 a.m., while his mother, whose first book, “The Professors’ Wives’ Club,” was just published by NAL Accent, worked on her new novel. When Benny awoke, he and his mother slowly made their way to a friend’s house in Brooklyn, with Benny reading the subway stops out loud on the way, and counting out change at a vegetable stand.
They spent the afternoon in a Fort Greene backyard; while Benny played with his pals in the mud, the grown-ups looked on, and shared a cold one.
Ms. Rendell, 34, and Mr. Lewis, 51, are no slouches in the academic department — with two Ph.D.’s and an M.D. between them, the two fell in love at an academic conference and Mr. Lewis is now a faculty in residence in one of N.Y.U.’s only residential colleges. Nonetheless, they have made the semi-radical (for New York, anyway) and anti-academic choice to keep Benny out of the school system, for now. They are part of a community of like-minded parents who are opting to enrich rather than formally educate their not-yet-school-age children (6 is the age that New York City law requires parents to register their children as home-schooled). They discovered one another through the New York City Home Educators Alliance (nychea.org), a home-schooling bulletin board.
Benny’s parents aren’t home-schooling in the traditional sense, by hewing to a curriculum, nor are they strictly “unschooling,” that is, following the teachings of John Holt, a progressive educator who promoted a child-led learning movement that is a wildly democratic subset of the home-schooling world. Rather, theirs is an ad hoc, day-by-day exploration into what it means to be a stay-at-home parent and child in an accelerated culture like New York. In a city where the race to be on top can start in infancy, the disconnect between these parents’ choices and the New York City norm is vast, as Ms. Rendell learned recently. Read more…