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 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 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.
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:
Who Stole Homeschooling
A look at the change in the homeschooling movement from an inclusive philosophy to a more structured, compartmentalized, and politicized structure.
Links and Items
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!

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
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 History of Homeschooling
This infographic from OnlineCollege.org features a graphical representation of the history of homeschooling, methodologies, statistics, and other interesting facts.
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 History of Homeschooling in South Carolina
A look at the history of homeschooling in South Carolina, including a discussion of the development of the laws regulating home education.
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 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.
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.
A Homeschooler's History of Homeschooling - Part 5: The Gentle Spirit Controversy
Cheryl Seelhoff discusses the controversy between her and other homeschool movement leaders.
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Featured Resources

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Learning Adventures
Each book in the Learning Adventures series covers skills and concepts for grades 4-8, with a history-based approach. Each contains a year's worth of lesson plans in a daily format. All subjects except math are covered.
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Homeschool Open House
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Guerrilla Learning: How to Give Your Kids a Real Education With or Without School
If you’ve ever felt that your child wasn’t flourishing in school or simply needs something the experts aren’t supplying, you’re ready to become a "guerrilla educator." this books explains what’s wrong (and what’s useful) about our traditional schools and shows you how to take charge of your family’s education to raise thinking, creative young people despite the constraints of traditional schooling. Filled with fun and exciting exercises and projects to do with children of all ages, this rem...