Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Meet Young Ben Domenech



May 31, 1997; Saturday 6:19 am Eastern Time

Transcript # 97053103V26


SECTION: News; Domestic

LENGTH: 471 words

HEADLINE: A Look At One Family's Efforts At Home Schooling

GUESTS: LEXIS-NEXIS Related Topics Full Article Related Topics Overvie

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BYLINE: Denise Dillon, Kyoko Altman

Rebecca Sealfon(ph) became the first child ever to win the National Spelling Bee who was educated through home-schooling.

The Domenech family discusses their home-school program works with their family.


DENISE DILLON, CNN ANCHOR: Teaching kids the three Rs at home is becoming more and more popular, and while some parents insist it's a way to counteract the problems in public schools, others say kids are missing out.

CNN's Kyoko Altman has more.


CHILD: Mom, mom.


CHILD: I don't understand this.

DOMENECH: If y equals 2, you have to have at least two points so that you can see the change, which is where I was going with you, but...

CHILD: I only did one point instead of two.

DOMENECH: All right, well, let's...

KYOKO ALTMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's another school day at the Domenech house in Purcellville, Virginia, where mom teaches 15-year-old Benjamin, 12-year-old Emily, 10-year-old Alice, and little Florence, who's almost three. Like the Domeneches, more American children, at least half a million, are getting their education at home, three times more than ten years ago.

The practice evolved out of religious tradition, but an increasing number see home education as an alternative to public schools, ridden with problems from overcrowding to crime.

DOMENECH: I visited several schools, and just felt like the atmosphere at home would be a little bit easier for him to concentrate and move at his own pace.

BENJAMIN DOMENECH: My mom really does make sure we learn something. I mean, you can't just go halfway.

ALTMAN (voice-over): Rebecca Sealfon(ph) was the first home- schooled student to win the National Spelling Bee. She says a flexible study schedule was the key to her success.

REBECCA SEALFON(ph): I think it's very unnatural to have like 45-minute periods, and they ring the bell and you go to something else.

ALTMAN (on camera): But critics caution home-schooling may not be for everyone. They argue parents may not be qualified to teach, and that home-schooled children may be isolated.

PAUL HOUSTON, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS: They really don't have much of an opportunity to interact with other kids, and I think that you end up being stunted socially in that situation, because it's very difficult to work in a work environment if you've not been around people.

ALTMAN (voice-over): Benjamin disagrees.

B. DOMENECH: Home schooling makes you a very independent person and makes you very defined.

ALTMAN (voice-over): His mom admits home-schooling is a full- time job.

J. DOMENECH: It's kind of like the guy on Ed Sullivan with the plates, you know, he's turning the plates and making them stay in the air at...

ALTMAN (voice-over): For now, educators say there's no conclusive evidence that home-schooling is better for children, but for some, there's just no place like home.

Kyoko Altman, CNN, Washington.