The History of Homeschooling

By Aubrey Tuggle, 17

Are you homeschooled? Although you probably know many other homeschoolers, I bet you don’t know many adults who have been homeschooled. Perhaps even your parents weren’t homeschooled. I doubt that your grandparents were. But although homeschooling probably seems like a new idea, it has been around since the beginning of time. Literally.

The first homeschoolers were…..Adam and Eve! Although we don’t know exactly what they taught their children, we can safely assume that they were taught math, and practical skills such as farming and taking care of livestock. As history and culture progressed, Adam’s descendants taught their children more artistic skills, such as playing instruments, architecture, and sculpture. They also had history – tales of their ancestors were passed by word of mouth.

This way of life went on until the Roman Empire. At this time, rich parents would pay for their children to go to schools taught by great teachers. These schools were very expensive, and only the most privileged students had enough funds to go to them. Poorer children were educated at home, thus continuing the homeschooling legacy. In time, the roles were reversed, with privileged children being educated at home by private (and pricey) tutors. Alexander the Great was a notable example.

Many families homeschooled their children throughout history for economic reasons (since schools and private tutors could be exorbitant) and until the first case of compulsory education in the 1800’s, homeschooling was the norm. With the dawn of government- run schools, things changed. Public schools were suddenly affordable, and parents were eager to take advantage of the new- found luxury.

By the 19th century, homeschooling had become a rarity. People saw no reason to return to the old way of education when the new one worked fine. It wasn’t until the 1960s, when people began expressing dissatisfaction with the public school system, that homeschooling was once again turned to as an option.

A homeschooling movement, put into force by men like John Caldwell Holt and Rousas John Rushdoony, started. Both Holt and Rushdooney were concerned about flaws in the public school system and wondered if it was really providing the best education for America’s children. Raymond and Dorothy Moore, both experts in education, also helped fan the flames of the movement. As people’s eyes were opened to possible problems in the school system, homeschooling was increasingly considered as an option.

As a result, over 1.5 million kids are homeschooled today, including you!

About the Author: “I am a seventeen year old freshman. I am the oldest of three siblings under seven, so the house is never quiet! However, I still find time to pursue my hobbies of reading and writing. I would love to become a freelance writer, and am pursuing a writing career.”

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