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
Homeschool Portfolios for the State of Florida
Basically there are two distinctions to be kept in mind: the law requires every county-registered homeschooler to keep a portfolio (as opposed to umbrella school homeschoolers or full time virtual school/public schoolers at home homeschoolers) regardless of the method of annual evaluation used and portfolios may be used as the annual evaluation of a home education program.
Madira Bickel Mound State Archeological Site
This ancient Native American site was the first in Florida to be designated a State Archaeological Site. Karl and Madira Bickel donated the mound and surrounding property to the state in 1948. The flat-topped ceremonial mound-composed of sand, shell, and village debris-measures 100 by 170 feet at the base and is 20 feet in height. Archaeological excavations have disclosed at least three periods of Native American cultures, the earliest dating back 2,000 years.
Ray's Arithmetic
Ray's Arithmetics teach arithmetic in an orderly fashion, starting from rules and principles, building knowledge piece by piece, leading pupils from simple to complex. From the very first pages, Ray's Arithmetics incorporate what has become the scourge of today's math students - story problems. Students must READ simple sentences which pose real life problems, decide whether to add, subtract, multiply or divide, and finally arrive at the answer - sometimes mentally - sometimes in writing.
Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve
The 46,000 acre Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve was established to protect one of the last unspoiled coastal wetlands on the Atlantic Coast, and to preserve historic and prehistoric sites within the area. The estuarine ecosystem includes salt marsh, coastal dunes, and hardwood hammocks, all rich in native vegetation and animal life. Archaeological evidence indicates 6,000 years of human habitation in the area. The arrival of Europeans over 400 years ago resulted in exploration, coloniz...
Dino Digs
Make your next vacation an educational one. Plan a summer dinosaur dig, searching for fossils. Mornings are spent excavating, and the afternoons you’ll visit museum galleries and take a behind-the-scenes tour to learn the art of preparing fossils for study and display.
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.
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!

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

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.
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

Articles
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:
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 6: 1995-1997
This is the final installment of Cheryl Seelhoff's series on the history of homeschooling in America.
The Politics of Survival: Home Schoolers and the Law
Twenty years ago, home education was treated as a crime in almost every state. Today, it is legal all across America, despite strong and continued opposition from many within the educational establishment. How did this happen? This paper traces the legal and sociological history of the modern home school movement, and then suggests factors that led to this movement's remarkable success.
Homeschooling Growth in the 1980s
Homeschooling was growing rapidly in the 1980s in the United States, after starting from a very small base.
The History of Homeschooling
This infographic from OnlineCollege.org features a graphical representation of the history of homeschooling, methodologies, statistics, and other interesting facts.
Battling for the Heart and Soul of Home-Schoolers
A look at the battle for the homeschooling movement and the demographics of homeschooling families that challenges the notion that all homeschoolers are conservative fundamentalists. This article is a critical look at the HSLDA.
A Fifteen Year Perspective
When Michael Farris and Michael Smith founded Home School Legal Defense Association in March of 1983, home schooling was just a tiny blip on the education radar screen. The concept of parents teaching their children at home was relatively obscure, and the families who chose to follow this non-traditional education route were fairly certain to face opposition from the educational bureaucracy and following legal entanglements, as well as from their own friends and family.
Marking the Milestones: Historical Times
This timeline highlights the important milestones in the fight for homeschool freedom in the United States.
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.
HSLDA: Our History
Although HSLDA has changed over the past 30 years—in terms of the size of our membership and staff and our physical location—our original vision and purpose remain unchanged. HSLDA exists expressly for the purpose of advocating family and freedom.
A Brief History of American Homeschooling
A short history of homeschooling in America from its roots in the family-centered lifestyle of the nineteenth century to today. Includes a general discussion of the evolution of homeschooling in the twentieth century.
Who Stole Homeschooling
A look at the change in the homeschooling movement from an inclusive philosophy to a more structured, compartmentalized, and politicized structure.
A Homeschooler's History of Homeschooling - Part 5: The Gentle Spirit Controversy
Cheryl Seelhoff discusses the controversy between her and other homeschool movement leaders.
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.
A Homeschooler's History of Homeschooling - Part 2: Influences
Cheryl Seelhoff continues her look at the history of homeschooling by examining the influences of unschooling, Raymond and Dorothy Moore, Bill Gothard, and more.
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 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.
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.
Links
American Education History Tour
John Taylor Gatto, author of "The Underground History of American Education," has composed this graphic representation of the real history of the education establishment in America.
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Featured Products

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Freedom and Beyond (Innovators in Education)
John Holt looks at the role that schooling in society plays in education.
Climb Inside a Poem for Children Big Book of Poems
The poetry anthology, Climb Inside a Poem: Original Poems for Children, uses the writings of contemporary children's poets, whimsical illustrations, and an expansive big book format (14"x 18") to create a 36-page poetry playground. The children's poems crafted expressly for this collection are written by acclaimed children's authors.
Smart Mouth
Ages: 8 years and up; For 2 or more playersSmart Mouth is a quick-thinking shout-it-out hilarious word game that helps build vocabulary skills. It includes variations of the rules for category play and for younger players. Players slide the Letter Getter forward and back to get two letters. The first player to shout out a word of five or more letters using those letters wins the round. The game includes tips for teachers. This is a fun game to play with children and adults together.
Idea Book For Cuisenaire Rods At The Primary Level
Grades K-4. Each 120 page book contains worksheets and has selected activities that cover the major math standards. Each page outlines the grade level, materials needed, settings, learning experiences, and are based on NCTM Standards.
The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, Revised and Updated Edition
"Outstanding...should be on every home educator's reference bookshelf."—Homeschooling Today This book will instruct you, step by step, on how to give your child an academically rigorous, comprehensive education from preschool through high school. Two veteran home educators outline the classical pattern of education—the trivium—which organizes learning around the maturing capacity of the child's mind: the elementary school "grammar stage," the middle school "logic stage," and the ...