History of Homeschooling in the U.S.—Evolution

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History of Homeschooling in the U.S.—How Teaching at Home Developed Over Time

Are you about to start homeschooling but are still reluctant because of the olden associations with this way of teaching? Homeschooling is no longer reserved for highly religious families as it was in the past. will present the history of homeschooling in the U.S. and explain how it improved over time.

If you decide to take your child out of school to homeschool, we can help you create a letter of intent and send it to the local superintendent.

History of Homeschooling in America—How Teaching at Home Changed Over Centuries

Home-based education may sound outdated, but it’s gaining momentum in the 21st century. Parents still decide to teach their children at home and not only for religious reasons.

To better analyze the idea of homeschooling, we’ll present a brief overview of teaching at home in the:

  1. Colonial America
  2. 18th and 19th century
  3. 20th century
  4. 21st century

How Homeschooling Worked in Colonial America

In Colonial America, public schools were scarce and open only for boys. These institutions were usually managed by religious groups (primarily Puritans) who implemented the idea of mandatory public education. Most children in America still received their education at home until the 18th century.

How Homeschooling Worked in the 18th and 19th Century

In the 18th and 19th century, most students left homeschooling for the one-room schoolhouse. During the 1800s, education was voluntary, and attendance varied from season to season and even day to day. The average number of days students attended school was 78 and for only a few hours a day.

Homeschooling or domestic education was experiencing a rapid decline. By the end of the 19th century, 72% of children aged 5–17 were enrolled in public schools. They only had to attend schools 99 days per year and a few hours a day.

How Homeschooling Worked in the 20th Century

The 20th century was not a homeschooling era. By the end of the sixties, 87% of children (ages 5–17) were enrolled in public schools, and almost everyone else was in private schools. The average school attendance at that time was 162 days.

This was also the time when education was slowly moving from federal to state control.

The homeschooling movement exploded in the U.S. during the 1980s and 1990s due to concerns related to sex, drugs, and disorder, which penetrated American culture at the time. Christians became worried about exposure to negative beliefs and wrong values from the religious perspective.

What You Should Know About Homeschooling in the Modern Times

Never have more children been homeschooled in the United States than in the 21st century and not for religious reasons. Nowadays, parents opt to homeschool because of:

  • Illnesses
  • Special learning needs
  • Gifted children
  • Safety reasons
  • Bullying
  • Racism
  • Flexibility
  • The opportunity to bond with their children

The process also became significantly easier because of modern technology, an abundance of available curricula, and various teaching methods available. Only a few states still impose strict homeschooling requirements, but the rest have pretty lax statutes. You can check out the rules in each in the table below:

North CarolinaPennsylvaniaMaryland
New JerseyTennesseeNew York State
Washington StateMissouriColorado
UtahSouth CarolinaMassachusetts
LouisianaIowaWest Virginia
New MexicoMississippiHawaii
NebraskaNew HampshireMaine
DelawareMontanaRhode Island
AlaskaSouth DakotaWyoming
North DakotaDistrict of ColumbiaVermont

The only mandatory step is to send a notice of intent to homeschool to the superintendent of your school district, although some states skip this formality entirely. The letter informs the school that your child will be homeschooled and shouldn’t be marked as absent.

Use DoNotPay To Write a Notice of Intent To Homeschool

If the state you reside in requires sending a letter of intent to homeschool, you should use DoNotPay for the task. We can generate this document for you fast and without any trouble. You can choose between:

  • Downloading the PDF and sending it yourself
  • Having us mail the letter in your stead
  • Having the letter notarized

To get your letter of intent, you should:

  1. Choose the Notice of Intent To Homeschool product
  2. Provide us with the information about your school district
  3. Answer a few questions about you and your child

The Benefits of Homeschooling

If you are still indecisive about embarking on a homeschooling journey, here are some advantages to consider:

  • Tailoring the education to your child’s needs, abilities, and goals
  • Having your child learning in a safe environment
  • Focusing all your attention on one student
  • Being your child’s teacher and spending more time with them
  • Adjusting the teaching pace and method

Do You Have More Questions About Homeschooling? DoNotPay Has the Answers!

If you don’t quite grasp the concept of homeschooling, maybe reading these helpful articles can clear things up:

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