Looking Back While Walking Forward
The end of the year is fast approaching; it’s a good time to take a look back, way back. Grab a mug of hot cider, pull up a comfortable chair, and let’s reminisce together by remembering the pioneers of homeschooling, retracing the hard-fought battles, and being ever mindful of the resultant freedoms we enjoy today.
If you are teaching history to your teen this year, include a lesson on the history of homeschooling. Both of you may be surprised at the many benefits you are blessed with as a result of those early days.
|Both of HSLDA’s high school consultants homeschooled their children from kindergarten through the 12th grade. Learn more >>
Prior to compulsory education laws in the United States, education mostly took place in the home. Public education brought changes causing children to leave home to attend schools that hired professional teachers. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, books advocating that not all children fare well with a one-size-fits-all educational program hit the bookstores. Raymond Moore’s book, Better Late than Early: A New Approach to Your Child’s Education (1989) stirred families to consider the possibility of educating their children at home.
These early pioneers soon raised the hackles of public school officials and truant officers. Some of these parents were threatened with jail if they did not enroll their children in a school environment. They persisted in their quest and trusted the Lord while they sought legal help. Two attorneys (Mike Farris and Mike Smith) heeded their cries and together founded HSLDA in March of 1983. Through the years, HSLDA worked with state homeschool organizations and legislatures to pass laws in all 50 states to make homeschooling legal and free.
Most curricula wasn’t specifically written for teaching children at home during these initial years. Undeterred, the pioneers developed their own courses (this was before the internet), used their public libraries for resources, revamped Christian school texts, and created original material. Above all, they desired to foster a love of learning in their children and to instill godly character. As a result, many of these fledgling, novice entrepreneurs grew into successful homeschool businesses that benefit your families today.
Each year through the next decade, more and more families chose to homeschool their children. More and more publishers appeared on the scene, designing all types of curricula and resources for families to use. Home computers opened whole new possibilities for education, and homeschoolers led the way. Many families persevered and taught their teens all the way to high school graduation. Community colleges saw the financial advantages and admitted homeschool high school students in dual enrollment programs. These students were soon knocking on college and university doors for admission. At first the schools were uncertain as to how to evaluate these applicants, but it didn’t take long for them to recognize the caliber of the students.
The new millennium brings better homeschool legislation in many states, resulting in less oversight. Colleges, employers, and the military, eagerly recruit homeschool graduates. They recognize the character and commitment your young adults bring to education and the marketplace. In addition, many early homeschool alumni are presently homeschooling their children, adding another generation to the waves of homeschoolers.
The next innovation is the influx of online learning and alternatives for obtaining a college degree. Different types of education are being accepted at a greater number of schools in the United States. There are colleges that offer many courses and degrees online, allowing students to work at their own pace and on their own schedules. (Has a certain homeschool ring to it, doesn’t it?) Many also grant credit by examination through such avenues as Advanced Placement courses, CLEP, and DSST tests. (You can find more information about these tests on our high school website.)
Homeschoolers are quick to discover and put to use great new sources of materials.
Universities, curricula publishers, companies, and organizations have found ways to give away their products for free—and homeschoolers benefit from their ingenuity. In our curriculum section of the high school website, find an assortment of free resources to use all the way through high school.
By the time some of your teens graduate high school, there will be new avenues not yet created and developed through which they will be able to receive post high school education, making it look completely different from today. All of this—could it be because of what those early pioneer homeschool families started by taking education back into the home?
Today you not only have freedom to choose how to educate your children, but there is a myriad of materials, resources, and support for you to complete the journey with success. No longer do you need to fear taking your children outside your home during the school day or instructing them not to tell people they are homeschooled. Instead, they can participate in internships, volunteer in the community, or serve others while being proud to be homeschooled.
We don’t know what the future holds, but we hope that by remembering the sacrifices and courage of early homeschool families, you will be inspired to continue teaching your teens through high school. If you would like to read about the personal stories of many families who sacrificed much in the early days of homeschooling and paved the way for you to do so, check out Chris Klicka’s book, Home School Heroes (please ignore the incorrect cover art on Amazon).
HSLDA remains vigilant on your behalf to preserve the hard-won freedoms. We also enjoy serving you through the high school program and member consultations.
In the same way that early homeschoolers brought changes, you too are making a difference in your families, your neighborhoods, and our country. The Lord provided for them and He’ll do the same for you. All He requires of you is to trust in His Almighty power for such a time as now!
Have a blessed Christmas and we’ll look forward to seeing you in 2013,
Becky Cooke and Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Consultants