Although the history of homeschooling can be traced back for many hundreds of years, and you will often here Aristotle quoted as being the father of homeschooling for his efforts in tutoring Alexander the Great, it was not really until the second half of the twentieth century that homeschooling as we know it today was born.
During the 1960s people began to speak out openly about the problems of the public school system and three people in particular were heard above the crowd.
The first was an Ivy League graduate who had sought to change the system from the inside but, when he discovered that this a case of bashing his head against a brick wall, he began what was to become a twenty year period during which he wrote extensively on the subject of education in general and homeschooling in particular.
John Holt was perhaps the most influential voice in those early days and his many books, starting with ‘How Children Fail’ in 1964, are still in print and are widely read today. Proposing a system which moved away from the authoritarian attitude of the public schools and the importance of curricula and schedules, John Holt focused his attention on the innate curiosity of the child and sought to structure learning around the interests and talents of each individual child.
But John Holt was not a lone voice and others too made a valuable contribution to the debate.
Raymond Moore for example, a devout Christian and ex-missionary, voiced the concerns of many parents about the lack of spiritual and moral guidance being given by our public schools and about the growing level of violence. Moore proposed that parents should take control over the education of their children and should focus not simply upon academic achievement, but should also upon ensuring that their children are taught the values which they will need if they are to be productive and valued members of our society.
There was also a third extremely influential voice raised at this time. Ayn Rand, a novelist and philosopher, did not speak or write specifically on the subject of homeschooling at any length but gave birth to the modern libertarian movement. Out of this movement a political party was born which, amongst other things, opposes a state sponsored education system and espouses an education system which focuses on the child as an individual and seeks to develop that child’s innate creativity.
These three voices together, while stemming from very different philosophies, were all singing from the same hymn book and gave birth to the idea behind modern homeschooling. This is s simple idea which places the intellectual and moral development of our children at the center of modern education.