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
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...
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 PATCH...
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.
NCHE, The Beginning
Concerns about the arrests and court rulings against homeschoolers prompted the Goldens and the Manahans to form North Carolinians for Home Education (NCHE) with the intention of encouraging and organizing homeschoolers across the state. They began with organizational meetings in public libraries in early 1984.
The Modern Homeschool Movement Nexus
It is important that homeschoolers know the early history of NCHE and homeschooling in NC. Homeschooling is now widely accepted in North Carolina as a good alternative method of education. It was a much different climate for home education in the early 1980s.
A History of Homeschooling in North Carolina
In the late '80s a small group of concerned parents helped pass a law making NC one the most homeschooling-friendly states in the nation. 2013 marked the 25th anniversary of North Carolina’s homeschool law. It is now also the year the law was amended. It is good to reflect on our history while we also imagine and work for the future of homeschooling in NC.
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.
Victory!
he headline on the December 1987 Greenhouse Report read, “Will This Be the Last Year for Home Education?” This was not a sign of surrender, but a call to action.
The Skirmish Is Lost
NCHE appealed to its members to contact their legislators in visits to Raleigh and via telephone with three messages: 1) North Carolina homeschoolers are committed, conscientious, law abiding, intelligent and friendly people. 2) Home schools are an effective means of education. 3) Our desire is for our existing protection under the 1979 “Church School” law to be left untouched.
The Calm Before the Storm
While the NCHE leadership was praising God for the Delconte decision, they knew they would soon be in a fight to keep the right to educate their children at home. In the March/April Greenhouse Report (mailed on May 24, 1985) they warned, “…we must be more watchful than ever to protect our freedoms. Already the media, public educationists, and some legislators are saying, ‘now that it’s legal, we need to regulate it.’” In the same issue, NCHE encouraged homeschoolers to work to keep the then curr...
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...
John Holt: Teach Your Own Children...at Home
An interview with John Holt from 1980 from The Mother Earth News. Holt discussed his own schooling experiences, how he discovered the key to real learning, and how the idea of homeschooling developed. He also discussed some concerns that parents new to the idea of homeschooling have. There is a short description of some of the legal issues that homeschoolers have faced and where the homeschooling movement is headed.
Who Stole Homeschooling
A look at the change in the homeschooling movement from an inclusive philosophy to a more structured, compartmentalized, and politicized structure.
Home Schools in North Carolina
North Carolina, like other states, has come full circle in the education of its youth -- from home instruction in years past to teaching children in groups (called schools) and then since the 1980's a growing trend back to home instruction. This article details the history of homeschooling in North Carolina. Discusses the Delconte case, the Department of Public Instruction legislative efforts, and the status of home schools today.
Notable Homeschoolers
An interesting list of homeschoolers from history, along with a short description of homeschooling experience.
Resources
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

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.
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.
Articles
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.
NCHE, The Beginning
Concerns about the arrests and court rulings against homeschoolers prompted the Goldens and the Manahans to form North Carolinians for Home Education (NCHE) with the intention of encouraging and organizing homeschoolers across the state. They began with organizational meetings in public libraries in early 1984.
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.
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 5: The Gentle Spirit Controversy
Cheryl Seelhoff discusses the controversy between her and other homeschool movement leaders.
The Modern Homeschool Movement Nexus
It is important that homeschoolers know the early history of NCHE and homeschooling in NC. Homeschooling is now widely accepted in North Carolina as a good alternative method of education. It was a much different climate for home education in the early 1980s.
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.
The Skirmish Is Lost
NCHE appealed to its members to contact their legislators in visits to Raleigh and via telephone with three messages: 1) North Carolina homeschoolers are committed, conscientious, law abiding, intelligent and friendly people. 2) Home schools are an effective means of education. 3) Our desire is for our existing protection under the 1979 “Church School” law to be left untouched.
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.
Victory!
he headline on the December 1987 Greenhouse Report read, “Will This Be the Last Year for Home Education?” This was not a sign of surrender, but a call to action.
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 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.
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.
Home Schools in North Carolina
North Carolina, like other states, has come full circle in the education of its youth -- from home instruction in years past to teaching children in groups (called schools) and then since the 1980's a growing trend back to home instruction. This article details the history of homeschooling in North Carolina. Discusses the Delconte case, the Department of Public Instruction legislative efforts, and the status of home schools today.
The Calm Before the Storm
While the NCHE leadership was praising God for the Delconte decision, they knew they would soon be in a fight to keep the right to educate their children at home. In the March/April Greenhouse Report (mailed on May 24, 1985) they warned, “…we must be more watchful than ever to protect our freedoms. Already the media, public educationists, and some legislators are saying, ‘now that it’s legal, we need to regulate it.’” In the same issue, NCHE encouraged homeschoolers to work to keep the then current law unchanged, to comply with the law and to keep the quality of instructional programs high. They also advised, “Be ready to drop everything and go to Raleigh at a moment’s notice. The battle is only beginning.”
A History of Homeschooling in North Carolina
In the late '80s a small group of concerned parents helped pass a law making NC one the most homeschooling-friendly states in the nation. 2013 marked the 25th anniversary of North Carolina’s homeschool law. It is now also the year the law was amended. It is good to reflect on our history while we also imagine and work for the future of homeschooling in NC.
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.
Looking for Another State?
Featured Resources

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