History of Home Schooling
Before public schools emerged, children were educated in the home by their parents. They were taught arithmetic, practical skills, and to read and write. Some wealthy families preferred hiring a tutor for their children (Koetzsch, 1997). In the 1840s, prominent leaders such as Horace Mann lead a movement to institute public schools in the United States (Thattai, 2001). These reformers argued that public schools would create good citizens, unite society, and prevent crime and poverty. As a result of their efforts, public elementary schools evolved in American society by the end of the 19th century. Massachusetts was the first state to pass a compulsory attendance law, ruling that all children had to attend at least elementary school (Thattai, 2001). By 1918, all states had the compulsory attendance law. Catholics weren’t happy with the public education system, so they instituted private schools (Thattai, 2001). When public institutions emerged, home schooling nearly vanished in the United States (Koetzsch, 1997).
Education critics began voicing concerns about public schools in the 1960’s (Hess, 2002). Some of the complaints against public schools included, preaching alien values, failing to adequately educate, and adopting unhealthy approaches to child development (Hess, 2002). Many parents joined the de- schooling movement based on a popular book by John Holt called How Children Learn. John Holt was a professor in Boston, who believed that children are born with the desire to learn and educate themselves. The book states that all children need the following for a successful education; materials, access to the “real world”, emotional support, freedom to explore, and time to assess ideas. Holt believed that public schools did not provide any of these key factors of learning. He also believed that parents are the best teachers for their children where home and the “real world” are the best learning environments. Many parents followed Holt in his ideas about education and still home school their children based on Holt’s philosophy (Koetzsch, 1997).
The Christian home school movement began in the United States during the 1980’s. Conservative Christian families believe in a literal translation of the bible and generally have conservative social views. Public schools and American society are a threat to their beliefs and values. Conservative Christians believe that public schools are anti-religious, dominated by materialism, plagued by violence, full of sexual promiscuity, and plagued by drug use. Approximately 80 percent of home schooled children are Conservative Christians (Koetzsch, 1997). By the late 1980’s, many parents were turning to home schooling as an alternate form of education. By 1998, all fifty states had laws allowing home schooling (Koetzsch, 1997).
Advantages and Disadvantages to Home Schooling
There are many reasons why parents decide to home school their children. ...