November 10th, 2003


Unhappy in Class, More Are Learning at Home

Unhappy in Class, More Are Learning at Home
NYT November 10, 2003

In Penny Kjellberg's modest living room in Stuyvesant Town,
one of her 11-year-old twins conjugates French verbs while
cuddling a kitten. The book shelves sag with The
Encyclopedia of the Ancient World, "The Complete Idiot's
Guide to Understanding Einstein" and Ken Burns's videos
about the Civil War. Ms. Kjellberg's other daughter devours
a book about Ulysses with periodic romps outdoors when she
grows antsy.

The Kjellberg twins, Caroline and Jessica, were in a highly
regarded public school until two years ago. But they were
bullied, their mother said, and referred to psychiatrists
when, miserable, they misbehaved in class. So Ms.
Kjellberg, neither a hippie nor a fundamentalist, decided
to educate them at home.

"I was always too afraid to take that giant step outside
the mainstream," she said. "But now that circumstances have
forced us out, our experience here on the sidelines is so
good that I find it harder and harder to imagine going

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