Parents have been homeschooling their children since time immemorial. However, the rise of public schools and compulsory education in the mid 19th Century led to a dwindling of the practice to the point where it virtually disappeared. No one knows the precise beginning of the modern homeschool movement, but by the late 70’s it became a growing grassroots phenomenon.
The movement began slowly, but as the movement grew, homeschool families became more politically active and many states came to accept the practice either by benign neglect or through the passage of laws explicitly permitting it.
Today, the movement has grown to become one of the fastest growing alternatives to public education. Estimates of the number of homeschooled children often top one million with some estimates placing the number closer to two million. Homeschooled students often make the news for their academic achievements, such as placing first in the national spelling bee. Studies have shown that homeschooled students academically outperform their peers in both public and private schools and are well socialized.
The methods and pedagogy of homeschooling parents vary widely, ranging from the “unschool movement,” which focuses on child directed learning, to “classical education” that stresses formal education in the liberal arts including languages such as Latin. There are many varieties of home education and thus it defies simple categorization. What all homeschoolers agree upon is that providing true choice in education includes securing the right of parents to choose to educate their children at home.
For a current list of Home Education Organizations serving families in Pennsylvania, please click here.