The NYT published an interesting article on the beginnings of home-schooling in the U.S:
In the ’70s, home schooling was still against the law; it wasn’t until 1993 that it became legal in all 50 states. In her article, my mother laid out the basic tenets of her approach to educating us. “They work at their own pace,” she wrote. “They have no assignments to complete. . . . I am not teaching the children. I am permitting them to learn.” . . .
After Mom’s article appeared, multiple letters to the editor expressed “fear for the Heidenry children.” Readers wondered if we would ever be able to adjust to the “real world” or were destined to be “social misfits” and underachievers. My siblings and I still hear echoes of this social disapproval. Many to whom we recount our early years seem troubled by our unorthodox upbringing. In the age of Tiger Mothering and helicopter parenting, no one can understand how our parents’ experiment could have been anything but hard on us . . .
Home schooling is still embraced by those with progressive ideas (Julian Assange was taught at home), but what was once the province of the bohemian few is now more likely to be embraced by religious conservatives. Today, according to a poll by the Department of Education (PDF), 83 percent of parents who home-school their children — nearly two million children are now taught at home — do so out of “a desire to provide religious or moral instruction.” . . .
. . . It is not surprising then that art — and travel — is what stands out most in our minds when we think back on those years . . .
Fueled by repeated readings of the four siblings’ exploits in “The Chronicles of Narnia,” we imagined that occasional loneliness and displacement was the price of adventure. When instead of Narnia, our portable classroom landed in relatively mundane St. Louis, we consoled ourselves with less magical explorations. James’s favorite activities were unsupervised science experiments, guided by Childcraft encyclopedias, using a donated microscope and beakers. Mary preferred “being left alone to read and making marmalade.” John and I can still recite much of the 1,000-word “Highwayman,” by Alfred Noyes, the long est of the many poems we were made to memorize.
. . . (A recent nationwide study shows the current median income for home-schooling families is between $75,000 and $79,999.) . . .
Very interesting article! What would legalizing home-schooling do for families and children in countries like Guatemala? Probably a lot. It is well known that in developing countries many children are educated in private schools where parents pay for the day [see the work of James Tooley]. What I found very interesting about this NYT article is that the family income [that is the author's family] was actually relatively low, which means that families in developing countries could be able to afford home-schooling. Educational online technology is so developed now that one would think home-shcooling would be, if not easier, probably cheaper and very exciting. More than the importance of a legal approval however, the US case shows that the initial action was taken by parents who preferred a different education system. It was a bottom up initiative that later motivated legal changes. In a way home-schooling started as a cultural change from bellow.
The first question that comes to mind is how home-schooled kids compared with kids educated in traditional schools. I found the article "Performance in Home Schooling: An Argument against Compulsory Schooling in the Netherlands" by Henk Blok (International Review of Education, 2004) -- you can download the whole article here:
Although home education is a growing phenomenon in many Western countries, it is almost non-existent in the Netherlands. Under Dutch educational law, children must be educated in the school system. Home schooling is thought to endanger children's development. This study examines — primarily American — analyses of performance in home schooling. Its leading question is: How do home-schooled children develop in comparison with school pupils? It concludes that home-schooled children perform better on average in the cognitive domain (language, mathematics, natural sciences, social studies), but differ little from their peers at school in terms of socio-emotional development. This positive finding may be attributed partly to socio-economic factors. However, it is also suggested that the quality of the learning environment, including one-to-one tutoring, could also be a contributing factor.