Homeschool or home school (I don’t think there is a correct way of spelling it yet) has been around forever, but really took off as a viable choice of education in the late 1980’s. Just think. Where did the early Americans attend school? Where did George Washington or Ben Franklin go to school? I am sure there were some community classrooms, and I know there were Dame Schools taught by local ladies in the neighborhood (without college degrees), but many of our famous fore-fathers were homeschooled. If you check statistics, those early Americans were a very literate group. The Puritans, just off of the Mayflower, enacted a law called the Ole Deluder Satan Law that all kids must learn to read. Even as our country began to grow and education laws were enacted, public schools were few and far between. The school bus system could not possibly have been in place until the 1900’s and even then it was very limited. Children were homeschooled and they did quite well. Of course, the public school system grew and every community had some sort of classroom, but there were still people who lived so far out in the woods, that they had to homeschool their children – even people of my generation. Many missionaries homeschooled their children. It was a very normal thing, and no one thought much about it. There were no laws against it – it was necessary.
Somewhere in the 1980’s more and more people began to homeschool. Many did so because of religious reasons feeling that God had been taken out of the schools or their children could no longer get any sort of religious learning along with their regular schooling. You have to wonder why churches did not pick up the ball here, but those churches that did start private schools were very expensive and many had long waiting lines. There was also a movement toward homeschooling by those who were not religious. Maybe they felt schools were not adequately educating their children and in some cases it may have been rebellion against "the establishment". I think some people started homeschooling when discipline was removed - schools became dangerous. There were lots of reasons to homeschool. I do know that if you join a homeschool group, many are religious groups and many are not.
Whatever anyone’s reasons were, homeschooling began to grow. This did several things. It freaked people out. "What do you mean by not sending your children to our public school? What’s wrong with our school? You are not qualified to teach – you are just a parent." It also angered the public school people. "You have to attend our school. We have compulsory attendance laws. We get funded by how many students we have enrolled in our classes – no matter what a sorry job we do." Then as homeschooling proved to be a success, PS folks including the NEA got really upset. "What do you mean by doing such a great job without spending so much money? Money is the answer to all education problems, and we need more money from the government. How can you possibly succeed when you do not have all the latest technology and new buildings?" With all of this anti-homeschooling, homeschool parents were fighting just to be able to raise their children the way they felt was best. There were all sorts of court cases across America. Home School Legal Defense Association (hslda.org) was established to help parents fight for their rights. You mean it is not in the Constitution that you have a right to raise your children as you want? You mean the government can tell you how and what you can do with your kids? Does this sound a little anti-American or socialistic?
When we began homeschooling some states had tough laws concerning homeschool. New Mexico had laws that you had to be a certified teacher. Did you know that in most private schools you do not have to be certified to teach? That is how some parents got around the law – they claimed to be a private school. Other parents just went "underground", and some got waivers from the state. Eventually, the law was challenged and overcome. Today, many states have laws protecting homeschool or at least okaying it. Texas and Oklahoma are good places to homeschool. Some states are still struggling with anti-homeschooling rules. You can visit the HSLDA website to see what the laws are in your state. Most homeschooling families today do not realize the fight that went on to assure the right to educate their own children.
It seemed to me that whether you choose homeschool, private school, or public school, Americans would want to fight for their individual rights in raising their children. But I was wrong. It amazed me how many people were willing to give up their parental rights thinking "the State knows best." Who says so? Since when? Like I said yesterday, it takes strong parental commitment. If your kids are in public or private schools, you still need to be watching those teachers and administrators like a hawk. Who is ultimately responsible for your child?