Fourth, groups of homeschooling families may band together to become a private school. These schools are not regulated. Only students under the first option must submit to an annual standardized test or assessment. Under the first option, parents must provide equivalent hours of instruction as public schools. Planned and supervised instruction must include occupational education, science, math, language, social studies, history, health, reading, writing, spelling, and art and music appreciation.
Teacher qualification requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways. Standardized tests on an annual basis are required, but need not be submitted to the school district. Under the second option, parents must be supervised by a certified teacher who evaluates the student's progress.
The approval method must be approved by the board and is for a term equal to that of the school district. Under the notice option, parents submit evidence that they possess a high school diploma or its equivalent, and provide an outline of the program of instruction. No testing is required under the first option; testing and evaluation under the latter option may be fulfilled in several ways. Instruction must provide a "sequentially progressive curriculum of fundamental instruction" in reading, language arts, math, social studies, science, and health.
Parents must provide information annually to show compliance. Standardized tests are not required, and no teacher qualifications are specified. This program must provide a "sequentially progressive curriculum" in reading, writing, math, civics, history, literature, and science. The law does not delineate teacher requirements or call for standardized testing. About the Author: Isabel Lyman is a homeschooling parent who holds a doctoral degree in the social sciences.
A former newspaper columnist, Lyman writes on various issues related to education, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal and other national publications. Compulsory education laws in the United States began in Massachusetts and spread throughout the nation during the latter half of the nineteenth century. By , every state had some form of legislation concerning compulsory education.
The concept of school at home was familiar to the wealthier classes of most colonial powers; governesses and tutors trained the male children of the wealthy in preparation for university studies. Girls in such families received a different form of tutoring, with lessons in foreign languages usually French , music, reading, and needlework. In the United States , such "school at home" situations were rare by the s; private schools and college preparatory academies filled the needs of the wealthier classes, while public schools, funded through taxes, provided education for all children.
At the same time, the quality of public schools differed widely, especially for non-white children. The Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education ended the former "separate but equal" doctrine that had permitted race-based schools, changing the social landscape of public education in the U. The modern homeschooling movement did not begin with one particular person or family.
Raymond and Dorothy Moore published books on child development, the evolution of modern schools, and analyses of the impact of schools as social institutions on children and society at large. John Holt 's book How Children Fail stressed the negative effects of forced schooling on children; according to Holt, compulsory curricula strips the natural curiosity and drive to learn from children, forcing them to learn only enough material to please authority figures, and to inhibit intrinsic motivation.
The publication of Ivan Illich's Deschooling Society viewed all structured schools as tools for maintaining social class and for training children to stay within their place in such a hierarchy; Holt used Illich's ideas to fight for children's rights, a relatively new legal and social concept in the mid—s. While education reformers debated such concepts, a quiet but steady stream of parents began to homeschool.
Some worked as religious missionaries abroad and needed a flexible education method; others addressed their children's special needs through a homeschooling approach.
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In the early s, changes in federal tax laws forced many small Christian schools to shut down; the parents of the children enrolled turned to homeschooling as a viable opportunity to preserve family culture, keep secular influences to a minimum, and to teach their children a parent-approved curriculum. Curriculum publishing houses such as Calvert and A Beka had met the needs of missionaries or itinerant families needing educational materials, and soon these companies filled a growing demand for at-home work. In the mid—s, David and Micki Colfax gained national attention when three of their four home-schooled sons attended Harvard.
The Colfax's story was the subject of an article in Time magazine, bringing attention to the emerging homeschooling movement. By the early s, homeschooling came to be associated with the religious right in the U. The Home School Legal Defense Association, founded in , works with all homeschoolers, though nearly eighty percent of the group's membership homeschools for religious reasons. Homeschooling is defined simply as the "education of school-aged children at home rather than at a school.
They [homeschools] range from the highly structured to the structured to the unstructured, from those which use the approaches of conventional schools to those which are repulsed by conventional practice, and from the homeschool that follows homemade materials and plans to the one that consumes hundreds of dollars worth of commercial curriculum materials per year.
Homeschoolers like to say that the world is their classroom. Or, as John Lyon, writing for the Rockford Institute, has observed,.
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Schooling, rather obviously, is what goes on in schools; education takes place wherever and whenever the nature with which we are born is nurtured so as to draw out of those capacities which conduce to true humanity. The home, the church, the neighborhood, the peer group , the media, the shopping mall …are all educational institutions. Modern learning theories aside, homeschoolers believe that the student who receives his instruction simultaneously from the home and the community at large will be a more culturally sophisticated child than the one the bulk of whose learning experiences is confined to a school.
The historical record offers noteworthy examples of the "world is my teacher" model. Those famous Americans' parents were pioneers. The seeds of what has grown into the modern-day American homeschooling movement were planted by two unrelated individuals about 30 years ago. In Raymond Moore, a former U. Department of Education employee, laid the groundwork that would legitimatize homeschooling as one of the great, populist educational movements of the 20th century. Moore, who holds an Ed. Two of the questions the Moores and a team of like-minded colleagues set out to answer were, Is institutionalizing young children a sound, educational trend, and what is the best timing for school entrance?
Those professionals recommended "a cautious approach to subjecting [the child's] developing nervous system and mind to formal constraints.
In the process of analyzing thousands of studies, 20 of which compared early school entrants with late starters, the Moores began to conclude that development problems, such as hyperactivity, nearsightedness, and dyslexia, were often the result of prematurely taxing a child's nervous system and mind with continuous academic tasks, like reading and writing. The bulk of the research, which overwhelmingly supported distancing young children from daily contact with institutionalized settings, convinced the Moores that formal schooling should be delayed until at least age 8 or 10, or even as late as Raymond Moore explained the upshot of his research, stating, "These findings sparked our concern and convinced us to focus our investigation on two primary areas: formal learning and socializing.
Eventually, this work led to an unexpected interest in homeschools. The books, which are written from a Christian perspective but offer a universal message for all interested parties, have sold hundreds of thousands of copies and offer practical advice to parents on how to succeed as home educators. The Moores advocate a firm but gentle approach to home education that balances study, chores, and work outside the home in an atmosphere geared toward a child's particular developmental needs.
During the s and early s, another voice emerged in the public school debate, a voice for decentralizing schools and returning greater autonomy to teachers and parents. John Holt, an Ivy League graduate and a teacher in alternative schools, was decrying the lack of humanity toward schoolchildren, even in the most compassionate school settings.
Holt was also a critic of the compulsory nature of schooling. He wrote,. To return once more to compulsory school in its barest form, you will surely agree that if the government told you that on one hundred and eighty days of the year, for six or more hours a day, you had to be at a particular place, and there do whatever people told you to do, you would feel that this was a gross violation of your civil liberties.
Holt, who had long advocated the reform of schools, became increasingly frustrated that so few parents were willing to work toward change within the system. Consequently, after his own years as a classroom teacher, he observed that well-meaning but overworked teachers, who program children to recite right answers and discourage self-directed learning, often retard children's natural curiosity.
He chronicled his litany of complaints in How Children Fail.
Holt came to view schools as places that produce obedient, but bland, citizens. He saw the child's daily grind of attending school as preparation for the future adult grind of paying confiscatory taxes and subservience to authority figures. Holt even compared the dreariness of the school day to the experience of having a "full-time painful job. To disseminate his views, in Holt founded Growing without Schooling , a bimonthly magazine about and for individuals who had removed their children from school.
The magazine became a tool that allowed home educators, particularly those who might be described as the "libertarian left," an opportunity to network and exchange "war stories.
In summary, Holt espoused a philosophy that could be considered a laissez faire approach to home-based education or, as he called it, "learning by living. What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children's growth into the world is not that it is a better school than the schools but that it isn't school at all.
It is not an artificial place, set up to make "learning" happen and in which nothing except "learning" ever happens. It is a natural, organic, central, fundamental human institution, one might easily and rightly say the foundation of all other human institutions. The constituencies Raymond Moore and Holt individually attracted reflected the backgrounds and lifestyles of the two researchers. Moore, a former Christian missionary, earned a sizable but hardly an exclusive following among parents who chose homeschooling primarily to impart traditional religious mores to their children—the Christian right.
Holt, a humanist, became a cult figure of sorts to the wing of the homeschooling movement that drew together New Age devotees, ex-hippies, and homesteaders—the countercultural left. The two men earned national reputations as educational pioneers, working independently of one another, eloquently addressing the angst that a diverse body of Americans felt about the modern-day educational system—a system that seemed to exist to further the careers of educational elites instead of one that served the developmental needs of impressionable children.
In the s the countercultural left, who responded more strongly to Holt's cri de coeur, comprised the bulk of homeschooling families. By the mid—s, however, the religious right would be the most dominant group to choose homeschooling and would change the nature of homeschooling from a crusade against "the establishment" to a crusade against the secular forces of modern-day society.
Buttressed by their national media appearances, legislative and courtroom testimony, and speeches to sympathetic communities, Holt and Moore worked tirelessly to deliver to an often-skeptical public the message that homeschooling is a good, if not a superior, way to educate American children; that it is, in a sense, a homecoming, a return to a preindustrial era, when American families worked and learned together instead of apart.
Today, the growing popularity of homeschooling is evidence that the work of Moore, Holt, and other similar-minded reformers snowballed into a grassroots revolution. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute posits that homeschooling is growing at the rate of 15 percent to 40 percent per year. Conservative estimates were that the number of homeschooled children in was 50, Patricia Lines, a researcher with the U.