The Amazing History Behind Homeschooling

May 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Home Schooling

It’s quite impossible to isolate the first instance of homeschooling in history. Homeschooling is a very old concept. In fact, Aristotle actually taught Alexander the Great over twenty-five centuries ago, at ‘home’! Schools didn’t exist until the later 19th century, so almost everyone underwent homeschooling. Halfway through the nineteenth century, most states in the United States passed laws which required parents to enroll their kids into public schools.

The modern concept of homeschooling began in the 60s, from three completely diverse sources. The first was John Holt, a brilliant man with counter-culture ideas on education, which he penned down for twenty years. The second was Raymond Moore, an author for whom homeschooling arose as a direct consequence of his religious concerns. The third was Ayn Rand, who indirectly led to homeschooling as a part of the modern liberalist movement which she induced into society.

John Holt coined a new term: Unschooling. Unschooling is a method of schooling that does away with using curricula and structure for education. Structured classes are known to damp down a child’s natural curiosity about the world, and John Holt aimed to stop this practice.

John Holt’s first book on education which was published in 1964 called How Children Fail shows his views on the public school system, which he said was authoritarian and needed reforms. Being a teacher in alternative schools after graduating from an Ivy League School, he tried to do these reforms, but later gave it up as impossible. Thus, he started a bimonthly magazine for parents who followed his ideals in 1977, called Growing Without Schooling.

Raymond Moore, on the other hand, tried to bring change due to his beliefs as a staunch Christian and experience as an ex-missionary. Basically, he viewed the whole public school system as a philosophy which taught ideals that were un-Christian in nature. Moore was of the belief that education was more than just a fact-feeding practice. After seeing the negative aspects and violence that was prevalent in public schools, he supported the idea of parents claiming responsibility for their children’s education. He advocated value instruction.

Ayn Rand was a woman who inspired a great movement. Although she wasn’t really a writer on education, she had a similar viewpoint on the public education system, and inspired a mass political movement in the 60s, which has since been against all forms of public ad state-sponsored learning, especially if this education is obligatory.

The libertarians motivated by Rand did more than just this; they promoted positive steps to bring back the idea of educating each child according to his or her mind and ability. As is common with most movements, the views of individuals may differ. However, the overall mindset in this case was fixated on individual freedom and the progression of rational thinking and creativity through homeschooling.

These three bases of the modern homeschooling concept grew and merged in the late 20th century, and carry on until today! Although the essence of the philosophies behind the three different thoughts varies, one thing remains common: they all agree that the public school system consistently falls short of providing quality education in a secure and heartening environment.

All three promoters of home schooling believe in placing the student’s intellectual and ethical growth at the core of the learning process.

And as the history of homeschooling since then tells us: Homeschooling is truly the ideal way to develop your child and give him or her the best future possible in the best environment that you can provide!