Homeschooled 12-year-old Passes High-School Exam

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Homeschooled 12-year-old Passes High-School Exam

In a remarkable vindication for supporters of homeschooling, Lee Na-ra, a 12-year-old girl in Pusan, has passed the national high school entrance examination. Na-ra took the exam after studying with her parents at home for the six months since she graduated from elementary school.

Na-ra's parents, Lee Seung-hee and Park Kay-hae, decided to try to homeschool their daughter shortly before Na-ra graduated elementary school. It was a difficult and risky decision to make, but the Lees were extremely dissatisfied with the Korean school system, which they feel suppresses individuality. They initially thought about sending their daughter to an 'alternative' school but got the impression that ones they visited were too "elitist".

So, with Na-ra's consent, they decided on homeschooling. Na-ra says,"I can read as many cartoons as I want while also dedicating myself to studying." Mr. Lee taught Na-ra three hours a day with middle-school textbooks. Mrs. Lee, a middle-school teacher, also helped out.

Na-ra studied from nine in the morning to three in the afternoon and spent the rest of the day watching cartoons or drawing. She didn't take extra art or music lessons. She would play with her friends during the weekend and attend lectures at a local YMCA.

Na-ra's ambition these days is to become a cartoonist. She reads cartoons every day and plans to undertake formal study of animation someday. Na-ra will complete her high-school-level education at home.

"I'm happy that my daughter loves learning at home," says Mr. Lee, "and I'm planning to home-school my fifth-grader son."

Na-ra says her friends envy her for her academic success and freedom to "do what she wants to do."

by Chung Yong-baek

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