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Evidence suggests that home-schooling in America is a growing trend. In a weeklong web-only series, reports on the challenges and creative opportunities presented by this approach to education.

Mackenzy Blackwell woke up with a huge smile on Sept. 7. “First day today!” he reminded his mom — as if she could have forgotten.

While her son had slept soundly, dreams of third grade dancing in his head, Jillian Blackwell had been up half the night worrying.

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The first day of school was a bigger deal for the Blackwells than it was for most families, because Mackenzy had been home-schooled since kindergarten.

“I teared up afterward as I walked away from the class, and I was the last parent to leave,” said Blackwell, a marketer in Farmington Hills, Mich. “But I realize that for him, it was something I needed to do.”

More than 1.5 million children, about , are home-schooled, and every year a number of kids go from home-school to traditional school, and vice versa. Making the switch from home to a regular school can be challenging: a new social scene, different academic expectations, and a teacher who doesn’t answer to “Mom.” Sometimes, though, the ones who have the toughest time adjusting are the parents.

The reason for switching from home to regular school may be financial — the parent who was the teacher has to go back to work. In other cases, parents decide that a traditional school environment would be better for their child.

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