Home School Movement

Timeline > Movements

Search Timelines:

Founder
John Holt and Raymond Moore
Time Period
1970
Description
The modern movement is traced to the 1970s when John Holt (with Libertarian counterculture values) and Raymond Moore (reflecting more evangelical views) independently argued that early formal education was detrimental to learning -- an argument that became known as "unschooling." It gained a boost in 1979 when Holt appeared on the nationally televised Phil Donahue Show and Moore was dubbed the father of the movement by Dr. James Dobson on the influential radio program, Focus on the Family. From that point, the movement began to reflect more evangelical values related to the "culture wars," opposing the secular influences of public education.

In 1985 there were about 50,000 students in homeschool, many of whom were evangelical Christians. However, by the 21st century, the movement had greatly broadened to include other Christian traditions, Muslims, Buddhists, special needs and nonreligious adherents.

In 2012, the estimated number of homeschoolers was 1.77 million.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Social Movements and Religion
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Social Movements and Religion in American History
Narrative
Legal precedence for homeschooling began in 1904 when the Indiana Appellate Court ruled that a school existed wherever instruction took place -- including the home. In 1950, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that schooling via a correspondence course met state educational requirements and in 1967 the New Jersey Superior Court ruled that homeschooling did not require a certified teacher. Subsequently, in 1972 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Wisconsin v. Yoder that children could be exempted from compulsory public education for religious reasons. For the next quarter century, court decisions involving homeschooling tended to result in its favor.

During the 1960s, books by R.J. Rushdoony (Intellectual Schizophrenia), Paul Goodman (Compulsory Miseducation) and John Holt (How Children Fail) challenged the hegemony of public education. Articles about homeschooling came to widespread public attention in Harper’s Magazine and Readers Digest in 1972 as well as Time Magazine in 1978.

The modern movement is traced to the 1970s, when John Holt (with Libertarian counterculture values) and Raymond Moore (reflecting more evangelical views) independently argued that early formal education was detrimental to learning -- an argument that became known as "unschooling." It gained a boost in 1979 when Holt appeared on the nationally televised Phil Donahue Show and Moore was dubbed the father of the movement by Dr. James Dobson on the influential radio program, Focus on the Family.

From that point, the movement began to reflect more evangelical values related to the "culture wars," opposing the secular influences of public education. Many in the movement also were supportive of courtship or betrothal, traditional roles of men or women, having large families, or Christian Reconstructionism. Dominant curriculum publishers were A BEKA, Bob Jones University Press and ACE or School of Tomorrow. In 1985 there were about 50,000 students in homeschools.

During the 1980s and 1990s, homeschool conventions proliferated and a host of state and national organizations were founded to assist with curricular needs, legal issues (Home School Legal Defense Association) and opportunities for sports (Homeschool Sports Network) or debate. This era also felt the influence of Reformed Theology, emphasizing homeschooling as a logical outworking of its theology rather than a reaction to secular culture. The Classical Model (with emphasis on Latin) and the "great books" concept reflected the motivation of many Roman Catholic, Reformed and Orthodox families.

By the 21st century, the movement had greatly broadened to include Muslims, Buddhists, special needs and nonreligious adherents. In 2000, National Black Home Educators was founded and by 2015 it claimed a quarter-million students.

Homeschool methodology and curricula were disparate. Materials included standard textbooks, homeschool-oriented publications and internet resources. For upper-level courses (e.g., science classes), cooperatives of various kinds were developed which provided opportunities for sports, drama and musical activities. In some states, homeschooler participation on public school sports teams or musical groups was allowed. While questions about academic quality were often raised, homeschoolers have been accepted at 1,000 colleges (including Ivy League) and scored equal to or better on grades and graduation rates.

According to the National Centers for Educational Statistics, homeschooling enrolled 850,000 students (1.7 percent of total students) in 1999; 1.1 million (2.2 percent) in 2003; 1.5 million (2.9 percent) in 2007; and 1.77 million (3.4 percent) in 2012. Actual figures may run much higher because no standard system of reporting homeschoolers exists.

Photographs

Homeschooling- Flickr- photo by IowaPolitics.com (CC BY-SA 2.0)

John Holt, 1983- Photo of John Holt is used with permission of HoltGWS LLC

Michael P Farris, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association- Wikimedia Commons- photo by UserB (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Book/Journal Source(s)
Kurian, George Thomas, and Mark Lamport (Eds.), 2016. The Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Web Source(s)
https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781442244320/The-Encyclopedia-of-Christianity-in-the-United-States-5-Volumes
If you enjoyed reading this entry, please buy the Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States at the link above.
Web Page Contributor
Mel R. Wilhoit

Bookmark and Share