The History of Homeschooling

Homeschooling refers to the alternative education of children at home by parents or tutors, rather than in a formal setting of public or private school. This was the system of education before the public and private schools were introduced for formal education. In many places, homeschooling is a legal option for parents who wish to provide their children with a different learning environment than exists in nearby schools. While academic and religious reasons dominate the motivations for homeschooling, parents cite numerous other reasons ranging from dissatisfaction with the schools in their area to the desire for better academic test results. It is also an alternative for families living in isolated rural locations and those who choose, for practical or personal reasons, not to have their children attend school.

For much of history and in many cultures, enlisting professional teachers was an option available only to small elite. Thus, until relatively recently, the vast majority of people were educated by parents and in the context of a specific type of labour that they would pursue in adult life, such as working in the fields or learning a trade. They asserted that formal schooling before ages 8-12 not only lacked the anticipated effectiveness but was actually harmful to children. Their primary assertion was that the bonds and emotional development made at home with parents during these years produced critical long term results that were cut short by enrollment in schools and could neither be replaced nor afterward corrected in an institutional setting. Recognizing a necessity for early out-of-home care for some children - particularly special needs and starkly impoverished children and children from exceptionally inferior homes, they maintained that the vast majority of children are far better situated at home, even with mediocre parents, than with the most gifted and motivated teachers in a school setting assuming that the child has a gifted and motivated teacher.

There are different methodologies of Homeschooling depending on type of curriculum and the medium of learning like unit learning, online learning or community learning. The reasons for homeschooling vary from religion, morality to the feeling that school have a poor learning environment. It is not uncommon for the student to experience more than one approach as the family discovers what works best for them vary in official curriculum and attendance requirements.

Homeschooling is legal in many countries. Countries with the most prevalent home education movements include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Some countries have highly regulated home education programs as an extension of the compulsory school system; others, such as Germany and Brazil, have outlawed it entirely. In other countries, while not restricted by law, homeschooling is not socially acceptable or considered undesirable and is virtually non-existent. Although there are some studies that show that homeschooled students can do well on standardized tests, some of these studies compare voluntary home school testing with mandatory public-school testing.

To summarize - Homeschooling is here to stay and is proving to be a serious alternative to the present schooling system.

Melissa Murdoch has a passion for life span development and education, and believes wholeheartedly that a healthy society begins at home. For further information on how to get started in homeschooling, please visit

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