History of Contemporary Homeschool

July, 2017

Homeschooling, though not a new phenomenon, has become an increasingly popular social movement in America. Homeschoolers have more than doubled over the years, with homeschool, according to Murphy (2013) becoming a more popular choice among parents, making homeschool more mainstream in American culture than an unconventional mean of education (Murphy, 2013). But how did contemporary homeschool start?

Murphy (2013) examined the historical roots of contemporary homeschool and found that scholars have two viewpoints on the subject. The first being that contemporary homeschool is a “continuation” of traditional homeschool ideologies and methods used before compulsory education gave rise, and the second viewpoint is that contemporary homeschooling is “new and unique, not a resurgence of an old idea” (Murphy, 2013). However, each belief, predates contemporary homeschool to that of the twentieth century, with John Holt and Raymond Moore as contemporary homeschool’s founding fathers; Holt the speaker of liberalistic ideals and Moore as the speaker for the religious right (Murphy, 2013). Holt’s ideologies focused on child-centered learning, learning flexibility and for children to determine their own interests and educational pursuits (Murphy, 2013). Whereas, Moore’s beliefs were more centered around the Christian right and argued that children were being sent to compulsory educational school systems too young- which was harmful to a child’s development- and that children needed to be guided by their parents and not by governmental institutions (Murphy, 2013). Regardless, of which platform one chooses to support homeschool, both are equally important to the growth of contemporary homeschooling. Though, it is not surprising, that through Holt and Moore’s ideologies of why parents should homeschool, secular homeschools have gained acceptance with the traditional and non-traditional homeschooling models.

-A.B. Salinas


Murphy, J. (2013). Riding history: The organizational development of homeschooling in the US. American Educational History Journal, 40(2), 335-354.

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