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The concept of homeschooling has been known to mankind for a long time. The concept aims to bring the formal school structure within a residential environment and imparting education through less formal means.

Before the introduction of compulsory school education laws, a major part of childhood learning was done through homeschooling. In some countries, it is considered as a healthy alternative to conventional public school education and is legally permitted; however, in most regions, this practice is considered as a violation of the law. In America, students are home schooled on an extensive scale.

Where it all began

The history of homeschooling is pretty long yet fascinating. Ever since the colonial period, homeschooling has been a common practice among the American families. In the early 1800s, this was due to lack of public educational facilities; but through the century it spread drastically while homeschooling was a limited part of the education system. The control of the public was shifting towards the state-centered system. Homeschooling soon began to reoccupy it’s domain during the 1970s and has occupied a significant share in the primary education system ever since.

People had started to understand the hidden darker side of the public schooling system. By the mid-1960s, a great concern among the crowd was the growing secularism in the public system, this was further complicated by the inclusion of drugs and sex with the rising pop culture trends during those times. This lead to fundamentalist Christian believers to get involved in the movement. Though the initial motive of the movement was for a liberal education reform, it was now part of a religious and political agenda. This was the cultural disenchantment of the 1960s.

The Christian Idea of homeschooling

The movement took to the religious stands as the Christian fundamentalists looked to it as an excellent opportunity to oppose the non-Christian education system. They considered state lead education system to be materialistic and attributed them as humanists’ means to dominate the society. They labeled public schools are ‘Satanic hothouses.'  Gregg Harris, in his book ‘The Christian Homeschool’, emphasized the religious aspects of homeschooling.

The modern homeschooling movement

The movement for Modern homeschooling made to the stands in the 1970s, and it was then that the movement actually began. An educational theorist and support of school reform, John Holt gave an argument against the formal schooling methods and began opposing the system. The argument stated that the education system lays emphasis on mindless learning which was destroying the essence of creativity. Instruction in an oppressive school environment would not create scholars, rather turn students into competent employees. Holt founded a newsletter ‘Growing without schooling’ in 1977 to spread his ideas and encourage parents to withdraw their kids from the formal school system.

Raymond Moore, an educational theorist, supported the message with his argument that the primary level schooling was ruinous for children, and proposed that kids until the age of eight should be home schooled to develop an all-round educational and moral structure. With the movement catching to its pace, the idea of homeschooling was legalized throughout the nation. However, some states formulated certain regulations to ensure control.

A legal regulatory body, the Home School Legal Defence Association (HSLDA) was founded in 1983. Groups of homeschoolers collaborated with public school officials to develop a successful education system for children taking into account the aspects of the conventional school system and mold them into the essence of homeschooling. However, the involvement of religious fundamentalists made the process a tedious task. With the help of various organizations and their legal efforts to represent the ideas of the homeschoolers formulated the policies and reforms.

 Present landscape of homeschooling

Transformations and changes over the years have led to the current definition of homeschooling. At the moment, the reasons to opt for homeschooling have diversified to different perspectives. Some of these include the unsatisfactory efforts of the public school system, religious aspects and attention to children’s special needs.

Though the main ingredients that led to this transformation have faded, the idea of homeschooling has managed to maintain its followership.  The present statistics indicate that about 3% population in the United States practice homeschooling. The figures are expected to rise exponentially with online education and distance learning programs coming into the equation.