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 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.
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...
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.
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
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
Brief History of Homeschooling Legislation in GA
This is a short listing of some of the legislation and advocates for homeschooling in Georgia.
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.
Georgia insight on History of Home Study Law in Georgia
This timeline details the important events leading to the growth of the homeschool movement in Georgia.
Who Stole Homeschooling
A look at the change in the homeschooling movement from an inclusive philosophy to a more structured, compartmentalized, and politicized structure.
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 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 History of Homeschooling in the United States and Georgia
About 60,000 - 75,000 of those 2 million students live in Georgia and are happily and legally learning at home. This has not always been the case. There were families quietly homeschooling their children in Georgia in the 1970’s. The operative word here is "quietly." In order to home school legally, a parent had to inform the local superintendent and get permission to operate as a private school. Most superintendents were not cooperative. The other option was to homeschool underground. If the local school authorities discovered parents who were homeschooling, they threatened them with fines and jail for failing to comply with the compulsory attendance law. These parents would either comply or quickly move out of the superintendent’s jurisdiction.
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.
History of Home Study Law in Georgia
A look at the history of home education in the state of Georgia from 1978 to the present. Discusses the influence of Georgians for Freedom in Education (GFE).
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.
Featured Resources

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They're Your Kids: An Inspirational Journey from Self-Doubter to Home School Advocate
For many people, their schooling was uncomfortable, tedious, and sometimes a waste of time and energy. This book offers the idea that the public school system is tragically flawed and that we are able to do better for our own children. Sam Sorbo, mom of three and wife of actor Kevin Sorbo, took the leap into homeschooling and found the joy and success she was seeking. Included are strategies for working parents, those who are scared to take the leap, and anyone who wants the best for their child...
Don't Waste Your Time Homeschooling: 72 Things I Wish I'd Known
Traci Matt, a veteran homeschool mom helps you make the most of your homeschooling efforts. She takes a look back at 20 years of successes and challenges, offering tested strategies to assist you on your home education journey. This book will help you learn ways to keep a peaceful home, stay out of the isolation trap, practice self-care, learn how to live with teens, and respond to the questions of others.
Crash-Proof Your Kids: Make Your Teen a Safer, Smarter Driver
Every year, six million sons and daughters will become first-time drivers. Fifty-eight percent of them will be involved in a car accident within a year of getting their license, and a significant portion of these crashes will be fatal. But here's the good news: research has shown that car crashes can be reduced by up to 30 percent when you, the parent, are actively involved in your teen's instruction and set certain limits. In Crashproof Your Kids, certified driving instructor and dad Timothy ...
A Charlotte Mason Education
The immensely popular ideas of Charlotte Mason have inspired educators for many decades. Her unique methodology as written about in her six-volume series established the necessary protocols for an education above and beyond that which can be found in traditional classroom settings. In A Charlotte Mason Education, Catherine Levison has collected the key points of Charlotte Mason's methods and presents them in a simple, straightforward way that will allow families to quickly maximize the opportuni...
Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum: A Guide to Catholic Home Education
In this book, Laura Berquist offers a curriculum based on the philosophy of the classical Trivium: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. This valuable tools helps home educators craft a liberal arts curriculum that is good for both the soul and the intellect. The material in the book covers grades K-12 and has detailed and practical advice. There is also a section for a high school curriculum and a list of resources.