History of Homeschooling in America
How did homeschooling start? When did it become legal? Who were the key players in making homeschooling the social movement it is today? The story of the history of homeschooling in the United States is a compelling tale of dedication, innovative ideas, and personal conviction and sacrifice. We have put together a history of this educational and social phenomenon, hoping it will inspire you to learn from the early and more recent pioneers of home education in America.
What is Homeschooling?
Homeschooling means different things to different people. It is a movement rich in diversity and schools of thought. Explore what homeschooling is from different perspectives.
The Legal Journey
Learn about the legal, social, political, and philosophical journey towards legal homeschooling in the United States.
Important People
Who are the pioneers in the homeschooling movement? These are the movers and shakers of the early homeschooling movement and also a look at those who have continued work through the years.
Famous Homeschoolers
Know of anyone who was homeschooled? We'll bet you do. Browse through these listings of famous people in history that were educated at home. You might be surprised!
The Business of HSing
Explore the business side of homeschooling. As the number of homeschoolers continues to grow, the art of marketing to homeschoolers increases in significance. We take a look at the demographics of the homeschool market and homeschooling businesses. Also of interest is the relationship between the homeschooling market and corporate entities.
What's Popular
A Homeschooler's History of Homeschooling - Part 4: H.R. 6
Cheryl Seelhoff continues her look at the history of homeschooling by examining the importance of the HSLDA's response to H.R. 6, a House of Representatives bill addressing issues in elementary and secondary education. The HSLDA warned that this bill might require certification of home educating parents, in contrast to the opinions of other members of the homeschooling movement.
The Good, The Bad, The Inspiring
A look back at the history of the Home School Lega Defense Association with Michael P. Farris, J. Michael Smith, Christopher J. Klicka, and David E. Gordon. Hear about the early years of HSLDA, the way home schooling has changed, and some of their most memorable cases.
The Lessons of H.R. 6
For eight days in February, 1994, the home schoolers of this nation gave Congress a lesson on the power of grassroots politics it is not likely to forget. It began when an amendment was introduced to H.R. 6, an enormous education reappropriations bill, which would have required all teachers in America to be certified in each and every course they teach. (See article on “The Battle of H.R. 6.”) This provision would have encumbered public schools—especially small public high schools. It would have...
What Is Homeschooling?
Patricia M. Lines discusses the basics of homeschooling and the special concerns surrounding it, including legal issues, the success of homeschoolers, colleges, and more.
Real-Life Homeschooling: The Stories of 21 Families Who Teach Their Children at Home
The book that shows homeschooling in action! What does it really mean when parents say they homeschool their child or children? For Rhonda Barfield -- a homeschooler for the past 10 years -- the definition is as diverse as the 21 families she studies in this eye-opening book. Real-Life Homeschooling From the city to the country, apartments to split-levels, you'll enter each household and see education in action. Discover the challenges and rewards of tailoring instruction to each child's nee...
Who Stole Homeschooling
A look at the change in the homeschooling movement from an inclusive philosophy to a more structured, compartmentalized, and politicized structure.
The Battle of H.R. 6
House Resolution 6 of 1994 was a reappropriations bill for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Ordinarily such bills deal with public education and would have little, if any, impact on home educators. But that year, a few small wording changes affected thousands upon thousands of home schooling families, and resulted in over a million phone calls to Congress.
The History of Homeschooling
This infographic from OnlineCollege.org features a graphical representation of the history of homeschooling, methodologies, statistics, and other interesting facts.
A Call to Righteousness
This essay by Michael Farris outlines why it is so important to fight for homeschool rights.
History of Homeschooling
Home in education has been around as long as Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve had no teachers or school to send their children to, so they simply had to do it themselves. It has been the case during much of history that they were simply no schools to send children to, leaving parents with no alternative but to homeschool.
Marketing to Homeschoolers with Social Media
How homeschoolers interact with social media. Myths about using social media for marketing to the homeschool audience. Social media preferences for the homeschool market.
Homeschoolers: Who Are They And How Do You Market to Them?
Maureen McCaffrey Williamson examines the homeschool market and shares several resources for contacting with the homeschool market, including mailing lists of homeschoolers, periodical available for advertising, and more.
Some Thoughts On How We Got The Homeschool Law We Have
Each state has its own rules and regulations because each state is different. Washington has the kind of law it has because that was the best we could do at the time.
A Homeschooler's History of Homeschooling - Part 3: 1990-1992
The years 1990-1992 marked an important turning point in the homeschooling movement. Cheryl Seelhoff looks at this important time. She explores educational philosophies as a source of division, the home-centered living movement, the issue of remarried homeschoolers, the expertization of homeschooling, and more.
On the Edge of the 21st Century
The right to home school is based on two fundamental principles of liberty: religious freedom and parental rights. Whenever one of these two freedoms is threatened, our right to home school is in jeopardy. Here are the battles we think home educators will be facing as we enter the next century:
Resources
Real-Life Homeschooling: The Stories of 21 Families Who Teach Their Children at Home

The book that shows homeschooling in action!

What does it really mean when parents say they homeschool their child or children? For Rhonda Barfield -- a homeschooler for the past 10 years -- the definition is as diverse as the 21 families she studies in this eye-opening book.

Real-Life Homeschooling

From the city to the country, apartments to split-levels, you'll enter each household and see education in action. Discover the challenges and rewards of tailoring instruction to each child's needs while catering to his or her inquisitiveness and curiosity. See why the number of children being taught by their parents is growing nationwide -- at home, there are no overcrowded classrooms, no unknown dangers lurking in the halls, and no doubts as to the quality of the education.

Whether you are just contemplating homeschooling or are a veteran seeking fresh ideas and help in overcoming obstacles -- look no further: Real-life Homeschooling shows just how practical and rewarding it is to educate children and provide them with what they need most -- you!

So You're Thinking About Homeschooling: Fifteen Families Show How You Can Do It
Confused and intimidated by the complexities of homeschooling, many sincere parents never get past the "thinking about it" stage. Now Lisa Whelchel - herself a homeschooling mother of three - introduces fifteen real families and shows how they overcome the challenges of their unique homeschooling situations. This nuts-and-bolts approach deals with common questions of time management, teaching weaknesses, and outside responsibilities, as well as children's age variations, social and sports involvement, learning disabilities, and boredom. Seeing a wide variety of successfully homeschooling families in action will give parents the confidence to make their own dream of home-based education a reality.
Homeschool Open House
Personal insights from 55 families worldwide about a real day of homeschooling. Includes homeschool illusions, family culture, learning and family style, parenting strategies, chores and organization, family management, personal empowerment, decision making, change flexibility, resources, and questions to consider before deciding to homeschool. A private tour of homeschooling homes and reflective thoughts from families. Also includes five year follow-ups from families in HOMESCHOOLING: A PATCHWORK OF DAYS.
Homeschoolers' Success Stories : 15 Adults and 12 Young People Share the Impact That Homeschooling Has Made on Their Lives
Despite their growing numbers, many homeschoolers still find their experience somewhat isolating. This collection of short biographies aims to alleviate some of that loneliness. While the stories profile modern-day homeschool grads and students, famous homeschooled personalities from the past are offered up early in the book for historical inspiration. John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, photographer Ansel Adams, poet Robert Frost, and songwriter Irving Berlin join the long list dug up by author Linda Dobson. And just in case there were any doubts that fame has eluded today's homeschooled, Dobson throws in actresses Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Love Hewitt, the Hanson singer siblings, and conservative commentator William F. Buckley Jr. The people whose stories are told here are successful entrepreneurs, Ivy League students, and athletes, such as Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor and U.S. ski team member Todd Lodwick. But to Dobson's credit, she unearths a healthy array of "regular folk" as well. Their stories are no less interesting and, most importantly, they dispel the notion that homeschooled children are over-the-top achievers and freaks of nature. Among the subjects here are an Arkansas state trooper, a private chef, an art gallery owner, and a Cost Guard Reserve seaman.

Each chapter begins with a photo and yearbook-style sketch of the personality, complete with favorite areas of study and a memorable quote. The biographies are short and insightful, with the author often injecting her own thoughts. Dobson, the mother of three homeschooled children, has written numerous books on the topic (The Homeschooling Book of Answers and Homeschooling: The Early Years, among them) and is a news editor and columnist for Home Education Magazine. In her casual, succinct writing style, she brings to life personalities that have little in common beyond their method of education. Some were taught at home completely; others for only a few years. They offer advice, warnings, and fond memories. And their overriding message is that homeschooled people are just as diverse and interesting as the students found in traditional schools. "We are not alone," is the cry heard from these pages. --Jodi Mailander Farrell

Homeschooling: A Patchwork of Days: Share a Day With 30 Homeschooling Families
From a bedroom community in Nebraska to a farm in Vermont, from families who rely on workbooks to those who have sworn them off, this in-depth examination of the lives of homeschoolers covers a wide range of people and methods. When author Nancy Lande started homeschooling more than 10 years ago, this is the book she wanted that didn't exist. What better way to create your homeschool than reading about others and picking and choosing the styles that appeal to you? Lande has corralled a variety of homeschoolers and, with some deft editing, allowed them to speak for themselves. Every chapter features a different household on any given day. Many of the writers are mothers, but a stay-at-home dad and several children tell their tales as well. Their detailed descriptions start in the waking hours of morning and get down to the nitty-gritty information of everyday life in a homeschool: how moms fit in showers, how chores are divvied up, how reading and research are gently initiated, how parents set aside time for themselves.

These writers invite the reader into their homes and advise, "Don't mind the mess." Their passages are often funny and unflinchingly honest. They aren't embarrassed to tell you they whipped out SpaghettiOs for a hurried lunch or stole a peek at CNN while ignoring the chaos in the playroom. Some of the families have created highly structured school environments within their homes, with desks and sharpened pencils. Others promote freestyle learning, with their children sprawled across the house working on projects or reading in between walking the dog, playing games, and riding bikes. The majority of families here live in Pennsylvania, the author's home state, but one writes from as far away as Scotland, another lives on a mountain in Alaska, and yet another checks in from a college town in Texas. Their learning logs, reading lists, and journal entries, along with family photos, help illustrate the book. The quilt they piece together is a great service to those wondering how to approach homeschooling. --Jodi Mailander Farrell

Articles
A Brief History of Homeschooling
Patrick Farenga looks at the history of homeschooling from before the founding of our country to present day. He includes discussion of the work of some important people in the homeschooling revolution.
A Homeschooler's History of Homeschooling - Part 1: Early American Education Through 1990
This is the first part of a comprehensive series on the history of homeschooling in America.
Homeschooling: Back to the Future?
Explore some of the history of the homeschooling movement, why some parents choose to homeschool, the basics of homeschooling, and more. The article includes some homeschooling statistics and demographic information. Also included is a discussion of the influences of Dr. Raymond Moore and John Holt on the emerging homeschool movement.
A Homeschooler's History of Homeschooling - Part 5: The Gentle Spirit Controversy
Cheryl Seelhoff discusses the controversy between her and other homeschool movement leaders.
Marking the Milestones: Historical Times
This timeline highlights the important milestones in the fight for homeschool freedom in the United States.
Some Thoughts On How We Got The Homeschool Law We Have
Each state has its own rules and regulations because each state is different. Washington has the kind of law it has because that was the best we could do at the time.
On the Edge of the 21st Century
The right to home school is based on two fundamental principles of liberty: religious freedom and parental rights. Whenever one of these two freedoms is threatened, our right to home school is in jeopardy. Here are the battles we think home educators will be facing as we enter the next century:
A Homeschooler's History of Homeschooling - Part 6: 1995-1997
This is the final installment of Cheryl Seelhoff's series on the history of homeschooling in America.
The History of Homeschooling
This infographic from OnlineCollege.org features a graphical representation of the history of homeschooling, methodologies, statistics, and other interesting facts.
The Good, The Bad, The Inspiring
A look back at the history of the Home School Lega Defense Association with Michael P. Farris, J. Michael Smith, Christopher J. Klicka, and David E. Gordon. Hear about the early years of HSLDA, the way home schooling has changed, and some of their most memorable cases.
A Homeschooler's History of Homeschooling - Part 4: H.R. 6
Cheryl Seelhoff continues her look at the history of homeschooling by examining the importance of the HSLDA's response to H.R. 6, a House of Representatives bill addressing issues in elementary and secondary education. The HSLDA warned that this bill might require certification of home educating parents, in contrast to the opinions of other members of the homeschooling movement.
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Featured Resources

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Help for the Harried Homeschooler : A Practical Guide to Balancing Your Child's Education with the Rest of Your Life
Homeschooling moms and dads can be overwhelmed by the demands on their time. Between their children’s educational needs; their roles as spouse, parent, and more; and their own individual desires and goals, these mothers and fathers struggle to ...
Reading Made Easy
Reading Made Easy is a phonics-based program, featuring 108 easy lessons, designed to be taught in less than 30 minutes per day. It is fully scripted and has original Christian content and stories. Includes hands-on writing and drawing activities. Re...
Habits: The Mother's Secret to Success (Charlotte Mason Topics - Volume 1)
This work contains a selection of the writings of Charlotte Mason, a British educator. Her writings from the 1880s are still relevant today and contain ideas that can be easily and successfully incorporated into homeschooling. This book focuses on th...
Discovery of the Child
Maria Montessori went beyond the conventions of the day to seek a new way of knowing and loving a child. In THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD, she describes the nature of the child and her method of working more fully with the child's urge to learn. With 16...
Real Lives: Eleven Teenagers Who Don't Go to School
Grace Llewellyn, author of the The Teenage Liberation Handbook, offers the stories of 11 teens who made the decision to reject traditional schooling methodologies and take their education into their own hands. The essays highlight offer a day-in-the-...