PBS Chooses Homeschooling

PBS has teamed up with leading home schooling publication Homeschooling Parent Magazine to promote PBS' on-air and online educational content.

Public broadcasting has been emphasizing its educational charter of late--ncluding the TeacherSource area on its Web site (www.pbs.org/teachersource)-- as it seeks to defines its mission in the digital age, which includes reaching all school-aged children with educational programming. 

Each issue of the bimonthly magazine will "highlight lesson plans and curriculum materials on PBS," according to the noncom service.
PBS is targeting the 2 million--and growing--population of home-schooled children, calling it "a critical audience for PBS." According to a network spokesman, noncoms have been increasingly contacted by home schoolers asking for help in incorporating PBS material into their lesson plans.

The marriage of the home of controversial series Evolution and home schoolers, many of whom are fundamentalist Christians who challenge Darwin's theory, would seem to raise curriculum compatibility issues. Cyndi Simmons, Editor-In-Chief of Homeschooling Parent, doesn't agree. "I think compatibility is an individual question. There are 4,500 lesson plans that PBS offers, and they span such a broad range that there are things that parents can tap into. If they find something not to their liking, they can pass right over that."

Simmons points out that PBS is essentially a free database of lesson plans, which makes it attractive to homeschooling parents who "must undergird the costs of teaching tools and curriculum from their own pocketbooks; unlike their public-schooled counterparts, there is no tax infusion for the enormous costs associated with teaching children in a home-classroom setting."

The deal runs for a year.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.