Once upon a time, all children were homeschooled. But around 150 years ago states started making public school mandatory and homeschooling eventually became illegal. It wasn’t until the 90’s that all states made it legal again. Today, with more than 2 million homeschoolers making up 4% of the school-aged population, it’s the fastest growing form of education in the country.
1840: 55% of children attended primary school while the rest were educated in the home or by tutors.
1852: The “Common School” model became popular and Massachusetts became the first state to pass compulsory attendance law. Once compulsory attendance laws became effective, America eventually relied entirely on public and private schools for educating children. Homeschooling then became something only practiced by extremely rural families, and within Amish communities.
1870: All states had free primary schools.
1900: 34 states had compulsory attendance laws.
1910: 72% of children attended primary school.
1960: Educational reformers started questioning public schooling’s methods and results.
1977: “Growing Without Schooling” magazine was published, marking a shift from trying to reform public education to abandoning it.
1980: Homeschooling was illegal in 30 states.
1983: Changes in tax law forced many Christian Schools to close which led to soaring homeschooling rates.
1993: Homeschooling become legal in all 50 states and saw annual growth rates of 15-20%.