History of Homeschooling

Pioneer Homeschoolers Chose Individuality Over Uniformity.

The history of homeschooling is filled with strong people who knew what they wanted... and the status quo was not it.

Ever try to tell your kids what life was like in "olden" days?

  • We went to the library to look up information, instead of typing questions into a search engine.
  • We found pay phones around most corners, to call home. Does anyone remember the party line? Now a days even many kids have their own cell phones.
  • If we missed a TV show that we wanted to see, that was our tough luck.
  • And every weekday, we left home to go to school.

It seems to my kids as if we've always had home computers and DVRs. And it seems to some people that we've always left home for school.

The truth is the history of homeschooling started long long ago. Public schooling started in the mid 1800s, and became compulsory in 1918, when reformers promoted public schooling as a way to create a more uniform culture in America.

Before that, parents taught their own children. And don't think those children weren't learning. Some of our greatest inventors, composers, scientists, statesmen, writers, artists, and even presidents grew from the fertile soil of home education.

During the 1950s and 60s, Americans began favoring individuality over uniformity. Civil reformation spread to education. In 1964, John Holt proposed a simple idea in his book, How Children Fail. He said children will learn, if their natural curiosity isn't squelched by institutionalized teaching.

With the popularity of Holt's philosophy, and a renewed respect for children as individuals, the modern homeschooling movement began. By this time, only Utah and Nevada allowed homeschooling. Parents kept their children out of classrooms any way they could-legally, and illegally. Simultaneously, lobbyists, parents, and lawyers pushed for change.

At first, modern homeschoolers had to make their own curricula or modify textbooks designed for classrooms. By 1998, all fifty states had passed laws allowing homeschooling. When publishers saw the financial advantage of curricula designed with homeschool families in mind, homeschool material choices exploded onto the market. Everyday life for a homeschooling family sure has changed.

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