Elite Private Schools Shift to a Homeschool Model

Source: Penelope Trunk blog, Sep 2012

The top private k-12 schools in the U.S. charge just under $40,000 per year in tuition. They are important to watch because they are not constrained by budget or standards in public schools or even typical private schools. Instead, they are geared toward getting students into top colleges.

The problem is that in any given year, the school can only send two kids to each Ivy League school. Which means that half the graduating class will have to get some other value from the school. This requirement for another source of value is interesting. These private schools have the ability to look at what works to raise happy, productive adults, and they can do exactly what the research says.

The newest school in this bunch, Avenues, launched this fall with a program that basically mimics what upscale homeschoolers are offering to their kids. I am fascinated that the school is essentially an endorsement of homeschooling over public school:

  • Parents spend the day with their kids.
  • There’s no set schedule.
  • Classrooms are not the focus.
  • Kids do apprenticeships instead of curriculum.
  • Focus is on specialization rather than well-roundedness.
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