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 History of Homeschooling
This infographic from OnlineCollege.org features a graphical representation of the history of homeschooling, methodologies, statistics, and other interesting facts.
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 invol...
Marking the Milestones: Historical Times
This timeline highlights the important milestones in the fight for homeschool freedom in the United States.
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 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.
Links and Items
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.
Articles
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Looking for Another State?
Featured Resources

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this site.

In Their Own Way: Discovering and Encouraging Your Child's Multiple Intelligences
Children learn in differing ways. Thomas Armstrong specializes in helping parents identify the unique areas in each of our children that enhance their special way of learning and expressing creativity. This work on multiple intelligences talks about the eight different kinds of multiple intelligences, showing you how to discover your child's particular areas of strength. 
A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling
In 1991, shortly after receiving both the New York State and New York City Teacher of the Year Awards, John Gatto resigned to begin a new career as an education reform advocate. In this collection of 16 essays, Gatto analyzes the problems of American education and suggests solutions for revitalizing the system — prescriptions that run counter to current trends.
Homeschool Bravely: How to Squash Doubt, Trust God, and Teach Your Child with Confidence
It's time to change your perspective to transform the way you plan, teach, and homeschool. This book helps you to see homeschooling as a calling. With this mindset, you'll be able to dismiss the stress of impossible expectations. Find strategies to help you juggle the logistics of homeschooling with different ages, be a good support for a struggling learner, set realistic goals, dismiss the guilt, and weather any criticism. You can be a hopeful homeschooler! God uses all for good and can transfo...
Idea Book For Cuisenaire Rods At The Intermediate Level
Grades 2-5. Idea Book designed for use with Cuisenaire Rods.
Life in America
Life in America was designed by home schooling parents to meet the needs of families. Features unit studies in a box, with all resource material supplied.