A Historical Timeline of the Modern U.S. Homeschooling Movement

A Historical Timeline of the Modern U.S. Homeschooling Movement 

By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator


The following is a historical timeline of the modern U.S. homeschooling movement from 1960 through 2013. It details the various and divergent aspects of homeschooling — from the conservative Christian subcultures to the unschooling movement pioneered by John Holt — while focusing on the later influence Michael Farris and HSLDA have had on the public image of homeschooling. The purpose of this timeline is to educate the public about how homeschooling has evolved over the years and also reveal divisions that have plagued it since its beginnings. Please feel free to make suggestions for changes or additions in either the comments or by emailing us at homeschoolersanonymous@gmail.com.



Raymond Moore begins debate about the problems of institutional schooling. (1)

R.J. Rushdoony begins to advocate homeschooling. (2)


Paul Goodman writes “Growing Up Absurd.”

R.J. Rushdoony writes the book, “Intellectual Schizophrenia,” what Gary North calls “a short but trenchant critique of tax-funded, “neutral” public education.” (3)


Raymond Moore cofounds the Hewitt Research Foundation with Carl Hewitt. (4)

R.J. Rushdoony writes what many of his followers consider to be his masterpiece, the book, “The Messianic Character of American Education.” It is a critique of the educational philosophies of over two dozen of the major founders and philosophers of American progressive education, from Horace Mann to John Dewey. (5)


Paul Goodman writes “Compulsory Miseducation.” Between this and “Growing Up Absurd,” Goodman argues “that compelling children to attend school is not the best use of their youth, and that education is more a community function than an institutional one. This idea was developed and amplified over the years by many authors, but most forcefully by John Holt.” (6)

John Holt writes “How Children Fail.” This book “created an uproar with his observations that forcing children to learn makes them unnaturally self-conscious about learning and stifles children’s initiative and creativity by making them focus on how to please the teachers and the schools with the answers they will reward best, a situation that creates a fake type of learning.” (7)

Francis Schaeffer first encounters the writings of R.J. Rushdoony. He makes Rushdoony’s book, “This Independent Republic,” the basis of a seminar for students at L’Abri in Switzerland. (8)


R.J. Rushdoony founds the Chalcedon Foundation. (9) The Foundation not only plays a role in the Religious Right in general. (10) It also explicitly affirms Reconstructionism and Dominionism and also explicitly affirms homeschooling as one of the most important institutions for implementing those ideas. (11) Later the Chalcedon Foundation will go so far as to say, “Home education is the only model for education given in the Bible.” (12)


John Holt writes a follow-up book, “How Children Learn.”


Paul Lindstrom founds the Christian Liberty Academy as a result of dissatisfaction with government schools.  From this academy was developed a homeschool curriculum known as CLASS. Many of the early seminal court decisions which helped to win the right to homeschool involved homeschoolers who were affiliated with CLASS. (13)


Ivan Illich writes “Deschooling Society,” which influenced Holt. After “Deschooling Society” appeared, Holt studied and corresponded with Illich at length. (14)

Everett Reimer writes “School is Dead: Alternatives in Education.”

Edith Schaeffer writes her book, “The Hidden Art of Homemaking,” which would later inspire Mary Pride in her writings. (15)


Raymond Moore writes “The dangers of early schooling” for Harper’s Magazine. (16)

Reader’s Digest distributes condensed version from Moore’s piece for Harper’s as “When Should Your Child Go To School?”, reaching millions of readers. (17)

John Holt writes “Freedom and Beyond,” where he “openly questioned and analyzed the free school movement…he recasts the problem as a social one rather than a technical one.” (18)

Shamanist/writing coach Hal Bennett writes “No More Public School,” which “explains how you can take your child out of public school and educate him at home.” (19)


R.J. Rushdoony writes his book, “The Institutes of Biblical Law.” Gary North says that this book, which , “took the Ten Commandments as the ordering principle [to] be applied to modern life” and “that civil government must be shrunk drastically to meet biblical standards,” “launched the Christian Reconstruction movement.” (20)


John Holt first brings “children’s rights” into play in “Escape from Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children.” (21)


Raymond Moore coauthors “Better Late Than Early” with his wife Dorothy.


In “Instead of Education: Ways to Help People Do Things Better,” Holt not only described actual non-compulsory schools, learning centers, and informal learning arrangements in action, but also proposed “a new Underground Railroad to help children escape from schools.” (22)


John Holt starts “Growing Without Schooling,” a bimonthly magazine for those who desired educational activities outside a traditional school framework. (23) “Growing Without Schooling” is “the nation’s, and probably the world’s, first periodical about homeschooling was born.” (24)

Holt also coins the term “unschooling” in 1977. (25)


Raymond Moore first does a radio show with Focus on the Family, prompting James Dobson to later say, “I consider Dr. Raymond Moore to be the father of the modern home school movement. The avalanche of mail we received at Focus on the Family after our initial broadcast with Ray in 1979 confirmed that his pioneering theories on education had found a receptive audience.” (26)


Mike Farris begins his relationship with Tim and Beverly LaHaye as head of the legal department of Concerned Women for America. (27)

Pat and Sue Welch start “The Teaching Home” magazine. (28)


Mike Smith hears Raymond Moore on Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio program and decides to start homeschooling. As he was professionally a lawyer, he “quickly found himself inundated with requests to defend homeschooling families in Southern California.” (29)

R.J. Rushdoony starts being an “expert witness” in school court cases. (30)

Francis Schaeffer writes his book, “A Christian Manifesto.” (31)

Tim LaHaye creates the Council for National Policy. (32) Michael Farris is a member of the Council. (33)

Bill Gothard writes his book, “Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts: Research in Principles of Life.” (34)


Raymond Moore appears on Focus on the Family twice. According to HSLDA’s Mike Smith, Moore’s interviews with Focus on the Family “laid the foundation for the early explosion of the home-school movement.” (35)

Mike Farris travels from Washington to Utah to tape a radio program with Tim and Beverly LaHaye. HSLDA says, “Raymond Moore, a guest on the program, was there to discuss homeschooling. By the end of the day, Dr. Moore had convinced Mike, as well as the LaHaye’s daughter, to homeschool.” (36) Many others credit these interviews as foundational. (37)

The Coalition on Revival is formed. (38) Michael Farris is a member of the Coalition. (39)


Michael Farris and Michael Smith create HSLDA. (40)

Mark and Helen Hegener begin publishing Home Education Magazine. (41)

Cathy Duffy begins her career as a “curriculum specialist” for the homeschooling movement. (42)

Francis Schaeffer’s daughter, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, writes her treatise on Christian education, “For the Children’s Sake.” (43)

Tim LaHaye founds the American Coalition for Traditional Values. Michael Farris is a member. (44)


Bill Gothard creates the Advanced Training Institute (ATI), “a homeschooling program with a curriculum that is based on the Sermon on the Mount.” (45)


Chris Klicka becomes HSLDA’s first full-time employee in June.

John Holt dies. (46)

Francis Schaeffer’s son, Frank Schaeffer, is a literary agent and discovers an author named Mary Pride. (47) Mary Pride writes her book, “The Way Home.” (48) Starting with this book, Pride is considered by some to be “the Spiritual Mother of the Quiverfull Movement.” (49)

“Conservative estimates were that the number of homeschooled children in 1985 was 50,000.” (50)


R.J. Rushdoony becomes an “expert witness” in homeschool defense cases. (51)

Changes in tax regulations for Christian schools boost homeschooling numbers to record highs. (52)

Large-scale (1000 or more attendees) homeschooling conferences began to spring up across the nation. (53)


Raymond Moore and John Holt’s different backgrounds and lifestyles are reflected in the homeschooling constituencies they attracted. (54)


In June, Mike Farris begins working full time with HSLDA. In 1983 he had moved from Washington to Washington, D.C. to work with Concerned Women for America.

Michael Farris signs the Coalition for Revival’s 1986 manifesto, which declares, “We believe American can be turned and once again function as a Christian nation.” Farris later denies signing it. (55)


Mike Smith moves from CA to Washington, D.C. to work full time with HSLDA as well.


Gregg Harris writes “The Christian Home School.” (56) According to HSLDA, “his work helped launch the Christian homeschooling movement in the United States, Canada, Australia and Mexico. Over 180,000 families attended his seminars.” (57)


Bill Gothard changes the name of an organization he created in 1961 (called Campus Teens, and then later Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts in 1974) to the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP). (58)

Cheryl Seelhoff starts her homeschooling magazine, “Gentle Spirit.” (59)


Brian Ray creates the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI). (60)


Christopher Klicka, an attorney for the HSLDA, notes that, during the 1990-91 school year, less than 2,000 homeschoolers sought assistance from HSLDA. (61)

Sue Welch reprints an article from Cheryl Seelhoff’s magazine “Gentle Spirit” in her magazine, “The Teaching Home.” (62)


Homeschooling is recognized as a legal option in every state. (63)


Michael Farris runs unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. (64)


Michael Farris creates the Madison Project. (65) The project “raises money for conservative candidates through our network of grassroots conservatives.” (66)

Gregg Harris’ son, Josh Harris, creates “New Attitude,” a magazine aimed at teenage homeschoolers. (67)

H.R. 6 sends cataclysmic divisions through a seemingly united front of homeschooling. (68)

In October, Raymond Moore vehemently attacks not only HSLDA for how it handled H.R. 6 but also all four of the “Pillars of Homeschooling” in his White Papers, or “The Ravage of Home Education Through Exclusion By Religion.” (69)

Larry and Susan Kaseman argue in Home Education Magazine that HSLDA hurt homeschooling’s reputation and might be undermining the homeschool movement itself. (70)


“The number of homeschooled children is between 500,000 and 750,000.” (71)

Christopher Klicka writes his book, “Home Schooling: The Right Choice.” In this book, Klicka cites many Reconstructionist writers, including R.J. Rushdoony and David Barton. (72)


Cathy Duffy presents John Taylor Gatto with the “Alexis de Tocqueville” Award from the Alliance for the Separation of School and State. (73)

“Thirteen-year-old Rebecca Sealfon of Brooklyn, New York, brought new attention to the growing phenomenon of homeschooling when she became the first homeschooled child to win the National Spelling Bee.” (74)

Josh Harris writes “I Kissed Dating Goobye,” one of the foundational texts about courtship for the homeschool movement. (75)

Cheryl Seelhoff, publisher of the “Gentle Spirit” homeschooling magazine, sues three of the “homeschool pillars” — Sue Welch, Gregg Harris, and Mary Pride — as well as others for “defamation, slander, intentional infliction of emotional distress, intentional interference with commerce, and violation of  the Sherman Antitrust Act.”  (76) Michael Farris provides counsel to the defendants. (77)

Michael Farris’ daughter, Christy Shipe, starts a homeschool debate league through HSLDA. (78)


In the court case Seelhoff vs. Welch, the jury rules that “the defendants Welch entered into an illegal conspiracy in restraint of trade in violation of the Sherman Act, that damges were caused and determined the damages to Cheryl’s business were in the amount of $445,000. In antitrust actions, awards are automatically trebled, so Cheryl was entitled to receive in excess of 1.3 million dollars from Sue Welch.” (79) Prior to the trial, “Welch’s co-defendants Gregg Harris, Christian Home Educators of Ohio and its then-chairperson, and Bill and Mary Pride settled with plaintiff Gentle Spirit publisher and editor Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff.” (80)

“Mary Pride, publisher of Practical Homeschooling magazine, distributes 100,000 copies of the publication. Pride’s much-lauded The Big Book of Home Learning has sold close to a quarter million copies.” (81)

“The HSLDA, which has 45 employees, has 53,000 families as dues-paying members.” (82)


HSLDA holds its “Proclaim Liberty” conference in Washington, D.C., where many Republican presidential candidates show their support for homeschooling. (87)


Patrick Henry College opens its doors. (83)

Salon covers the internal conflicts within homeschooling between “conservative” homeschooling groups (HSLDA, the “Four Pillars”) and others. Mark Hegener, co-founder of Home Education Magazine, is on record saying that HSLDA is “part of a socially conservative constituency network using home schooling as a way to further its political goals.” (84)


R.J. Rushdoony dies. Gary North writes a eulogy, acknowledging Rushdoony’s influence over the rise of the Religious Right. (85)

HSLDA’s homeschool speech and debate league becomes a separate organization, the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association (NCFCA). (86)


Michael Farris creates Generation Joshua, “an organization for the mobilization of Christian youth to participate in politics and get out the vote.” (88)


Tim and Beverly LaHaye present Michael Farris with the “Alexis de Tocqueville” Award from the Alliance for the Separation of School and State. (89)

Lila Rose creates LiveAction, a group “known for controversial stings against Planned Parenthood clinics.” (90) Rose is a former NCFCA debater. (91)


1.9 to 2.4 million primary- and secondary-age children are being schooled at home. (92)

Gregg Harris’ kids, Alex and Brett Harris, create “The Rebelution,” “a Christian ministry/organization directed at youth, describing itself as ‘a teenage rebellion against low expectations.'” (93) Alex and Brett are former NCFCA debaters. (94)


July 13, Raymond Moore dies. (95)

August 20, HSLDA’s Michael Smith writes a eulogy to Moore in Washington Times; no mention of the White Papers is made. (96)

Home Education Magazine calls HSLDA out for whitewashing the HSLDA/Moore controversy. (97)

Michael Farris creates ParentalRights.org, a parental rights advocacy group. (98)

Alex and Brett Harris of the Rebelution create “The Modesty Survey.” (99)

Religion and morality become the most common reason for homeschooling. (100)

The homeschool industry generates $650 million in sales annually. (101)

The Gospel Coalition is formed, which is “a coalition of people for the sake of promoting the gospel.” Prominent homeschool figures such as Josh Harris and Voddie Baucham are on the Coalition’s council. (102)


Alex and Brett Harris of the Rebelution write “Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations.” (103)


Homeschooling is Legal runs a series entitled, “HSLDA Destroys German Homeschool Movement.” (104)


Reb Bradley writes an article entitled, “Homeschool Blindspots,” for the Virginia Home Educator magazine in Fall 2011. Josh Harris agrees with it and reposts it on his blog. (105)


Michael Farris is featured on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360° on December 7, 2012 as a leading opponent of U.S. ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act. “The treaty failed on December 4 to garner the two-thirds vote in Congress necessary for ratification, largely because of opposition from HSLDA and Heritage Action for America.” (106)

A group of international scholars found the International Center for Home Education Research. They contrast themselves with Brian Ray’s HSLDA-affilianted  NHERI by saying, “we are not an advocacy group.” (107)


Gay rights advocate and sex advice columnist Dan Savage recommends homeschooling in cases of gay kids being bullied. (108)

HSLDA sends up flares about “German homeschool case” that “may impact U.S. homeschool freedom,” going so far as to say, “The Attorney General of the United States thinks that a law that bans homeschooling entirely violates no fundamental liberties.” (109)

Joe Carter from the Gospel Coalition supports Michael Farris and HSLDA’s role in the Romeike case and argues that Christian parents have a fundamental right to homeschool. (110) This is the same Joe Carter who, in 2011, said Michelle Goldberg wrote “the dumbest article I’ve read all year” because she believes Dominionism is a real thing, which he thinks is merely a “never-ending paranoia of the theocracy conspiracy-theorists” (111)


Sources and Notes

(1) http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2007/aug/20/honoring-moores-achievements/

(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeschooling: “In the 1960s, Rousas John Rushdoony began to advocate homeschooling, which he saw as a way to combat the intentionally secular nature of the U.S. public school system. He vigorously attacked progressive school reformers such as Horace Mann and John Dewey and argued for the dismantling of the state’s influence in education in three works: Intellectual Schizophrenia (a general and concise study of education), The Messianic Character of American Education (a history and castigation of public education in the U.S.), and The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum (a parent-oriented pedagogical statement). Rushdoony was frequently called as an expert witness by the HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) in court cases.”

(3) http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north33.html

(4) http://www.hslda.org/courtreport/V23N5/V23N503.asp

(5) Gary North says, “This book became the academic touchstone for leaders of the independent (non-parochial) Christian school movement, which was just beginning to accelerate in 1963. It provided them with both the theological foundation and the historical ammunition for making their case against compulsory, tax-funded education.” (http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north33.html)

William Edgar also credits this book as early inspiration for homeschooling: “Many have credited Rushdoony with being an early inspiration behind the home school movement. He certainly was the strongest possible advocate of religious education, consistently favoring private over public schooling. In The Messianic Character of American Education (1963) Rushdoony decried the American public school system, tracing its ideology back to John Dewey and other secular thinkers who believed in the natural goodness of children and the role that education could play in liberalizing society.” (http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/the-passing-of-r-j-rushdoony-40)

Furthermore, Joseph McAuliffe says, ” One of his early books, The Messianic Character of American Education, was a major influence in the fledgling home school movement in California. During the 1960s, Rushdoony was called upon in court cases as an expert historian on home schooling as a legitmate alternative to public education.” (http://forerunner.com/revolution/rush.html)

(6) http://mhla.org/information/resourcesarticles/holtorigins.htm

(7) Ibid.

(8) http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/the-passing-of-r-j-rushdoony-40

(9) http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north33.html

(10) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalcedon_Foundation: “Named for the Council of Chalcedon, it has also included theologians such as Gary North, who later founded his own organization, the Institute for Christian Economics…The Chalcedon Foundation provides educational material in the form of books, newsletter reports and various electronic media, toward advancing the theological teachings of Rushdoony’s Christian Reconstructionism movement. It is notable for its role in the influence of Christianity on politics in the U.S. and has been described as ‘a think tank of the Religious Right.'”

(11) http://chalcedon.edu/about/: “Chalcedon’s activities include foundational and leadership roles in Christian reconstruction. Our emphasis on the Cultural or Dominion Mandate (Genesis 1:28) and the necessity of a return to Biblical Law has been a crucial factor in the challenge to Humanism by Christians in this country and elsewhere. Chalcedon’s involvement in and commitment to Christian education began with its inception when founder Rousas John Rushdoony pinpointed the Christian and home schools as the most important institutions in reversing the influence of secular Humanism.”

(12) http://chalcedon.edu/research/articles/why-you-should-homeschool-your-christian-child-part-iv-ten-reasons-why-you-should-homeschool-your-ch/

(13) http://walkerhomeschoolblog.wordpress.com/2005/11/: “[Paul Lindstrom founds] the Christian Liberty Academy, a church-related day school in 1968 as a result of dissatisfaction with government schools.  Around 1970, from this was developed a homeschool curriculum known as CLASS (Christian Liberty Academy Satellite Schools, now Christian Liberty Academy School System).  Many of the early seminal court decisions which helped to win the right to homeschool, such as the 1979 Nobel case in Michigan, the 1982-1985 Budke case in Minnesota, and the famous 1993 DeJonge case also in Michigan all involved homeschoolers who were affiliated with CLASS.”

(14) http://mhla.org/information/resourcesarticles/holtorigins.htm: “Holt studied and corresponded with Illich at length, and was deeply influenced by Illich’s analysis, particularly with his analysis that school serves a deep social function by firmly maintaining the status quo of social class for the majority of students.”

(15) http://www.religiondispatches.org/books/1219/rdbook%3A_wifely_submission_and_christian_warfare

(16) http://harpers.org/archive/1972/07/the-dangers-of-early-schooling/

(17) http://www.moorefoundation.com/article/42/about-moore-home-schooling/moore-foundation/moore-publications-list

(18) http://mhla.org/information/resourcesarticles/holtorigins.htm

(19) Ibid.

(20) http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north33.html.

William Edgar also says, “The movement inspired by R. J. Rushdoony is often given the label Theonomy…Some of Rushdoony’s followers prefer the term “reconstructionist,” because…the result will be a Christian civilization and a thousand year reign of Jesus Christ….Rushdoony’s Institutes—despite the reference to Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion in its title—reproaches the reformer for refusing to advocate the complete submission of the state to the Mosaic law.” (http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/the-passing-of-r-j-rushdoony-40)

(21) http://mhla.org/information/resourcesarticles/holtorigins.htm: “One tactic Holt wrote about was to fight for children’s rights — which he thought would not only help kids escape bad schools, but also help them escape bad social situations — by granting children the full protection and responsibilities of US citizenship. Holt’s Escape from Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children (1974) continues to stir passions on both sides of the argument, particularly now that some of the scenarios Holt discusses, such as giving children the right to choose their own legal guardian, the right to control their own learning, and the right to legal and financial responsibility, have come into our courts twenty- five years later.”

(22) Ibid: “Holt proposed removing children from school legally or as an act of civil disobedience. While the education establishment barely recognized this particular book of Holt’s, it struck a chord with some parents. Some wrote to Holt explaining that they were teaching their children at home legally, others that they were doing so underground. Some were rural families, some city dwellers, others were in communes. Intrigued, Holt corresponded with them all and decided to create a newsletter that would help put these like-minded people in touch with one another.”

(23) http://walkerhomeschoolblog.wordpress.com/2005/11/.

(24) http://mhla.org/information/resourcesarticles/holtorigins.htm

(25) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeschooling

(26) http://walkerhomeschoolblog.wordpress.com/2005/11/

(27) http://www.politicalamazon.com/fcf-homeschooling.html

(28) http://www.teachinghome.com/about/index.cfm

(29) http://www.hslda.org/courtreport/V19N1/V19N103.asp

(30) http://chalcedon.edu/research/articles/why-you-should-homeschool-your-christian-child-part-iv-ten-reasons-why-you-should-homeschool-your-ch/

(31) This book argued that, “Christians needed to take bold action to restore biblical principles and erase divisions between religion and civic life. To ignite the movement, Schaeffer mapped out a battle campaign—a crusade against abortion, which, he said, ‘would be worth spending much of our lifetimes to fight against.’…If Schaeffer was Reconstruction’s John the Baptist, Rushdoony was its pope.” (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2005/12/nation-under-god)

(32) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_for_National_Policy

From http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2005/12/nation-under-god: “The Council for National Policy—a group that holds meetings for right-wing leaders, once dubbed ‘the most powerful conservative group you’ve never heard of’—was founded in 1981 as a project of top John Birch Society figures (see ‘The Fountainhead’). Its members included Rushdoony, Gary North, Tim LaHaye, former Reagan aide Gary Bauer, and activist Paul Weyrich, who famously aimed to ‘overturn the present power structure of this country.'”

(33) http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Michael_P._Farris

(34) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Gothard

(35) http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2007/aug/20/honoring-moores-achievements/

(36) HSLDA says, “Raymond Moore, a guest on the program, was there to discuss homeschooling. By the end of the day, Dr. Moore had convinced Mike, as well as the LaHaye’s daughter, to homeschool! Mike flew home to Washington and told his wife Vickie that he thought they should homeschool Christy, their oldest daughter, who was entering the second grade. What Mike didn’t know was how fervently Vickie had been praying that Mike would be led to homeschool. She had heard of homeschooling on a Focus on the Family radio broadcast and been drawn to it, but she didn’t think Mike would be in favor of it.The Farrises started homeschooling in the fall of 1982; Vickie and Christy made the cover of the Seattle Times. As news of the Farris’ homeschooling venture hit the streets, other homeschooling parents who were having legal struggles, started contacting Mike for help. While they wanted a good, Christian lawyer, most couldn’t afford to pay for legal representation.” (http://www.hslda.org/courtreport/V19N1/V19N103.asp)

(37) Susan Beatty, founder of CHEA of California (http://www.cheaofca.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.viewPage&pageID=506&nodeID=1); Beth Wolsey and Marcia Mantel, co-founders of CHEO (http://www.chesca.org/history.php); Mary Pride, Practical Homeschooling (http://www.home-school.com/Articles/whats-our-next-step-the-future-of-homeschooling.php): “That famous radio interview catapulted homeschooling into the Christian mainstream. Prior to that time, homeschooling had been growing quietly behind the scenes, as parents from all parts of the political and religious spectrum had become increasingly concerned about their children’s future in both the public and private school systems.”

(38) http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2005/12/nation-under-god: “Another group, the Coalition on Revival, brings together influential evangelicals to produce joint statements and theological white papers. North and DeMar are among the coalition’s most influential members; one of its founding documents is signed by 116 Christian right activists, including Rushdoony, mega-evangelist D. James Kennedy, and Roy Jones, a top staffer at the Republican Senatorial Committee.”

(39) http://www.politicalamazon.com/fcf-homeschooling.html

(40) http://walkerhomeschoolblog.wordpress.com/2005/11/

HSLDA says, “Mike Farris’ work took him to Sacramento, California, where he met Mike Smith for the first time. Mike [Farris] explained to Mike [Smith] his idea of starting a legal defense association for homeschooling families. His idea embraced the notion that if the education establishment attacked one homeschooling family, the whole homeschooling community would effectively come to their defense.” (http://www.hslda.org/courtreport/V19N1/V19N103.asp)

(41) http://homeedmag.com/about.php

(42) http://cathyduffyreviews.com/

(43) http://thecommonroomblog.com/2010/07/carnival-of-homeschooling-239.html

(44) http://www.politicalamazon.com/fcf-homeschooling.html: “Tim  LaHaye was attempting to start a television ministry that failed. In 1983 he started the American Coalition for Traditional Values which was similar to the now defunct Moral Majority, its goal being to mobilize Christians to register and vote. Some accounts indicate Michael Farris was deeply involved with ACTV while others do not mention his involvement. ACTV closed down shortly after the 1986 elections. Tim LaHaye withdrew from his television ministry when it was publicized that his church was funding an anti-Catholic group. In 1985 he further withdrew after it became known that CWA had accepted ‘generous help’ from the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church which teaches the divinity of the Rev. Moon in direct conflict with Christian teachings. In 1987 Rev. LaHaye was forced to resign as co-chair from Jack Kemp’s presidential campaign because newspapers  printed divisive passages from his writings, which were anti-catholic and anti-Semetic.”

(45) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Gothard

(46) http://mhla.org/information/resourcesarticles/holtorigins.htm: “His final book, Learning All the Time: How Small Children Begin To Read, Write, Count And Investigate The World, Without Being Taught, which contains a lot of writing that Holt did for GWS, was published posthumously in 1989.”

(47) http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/20/us/20beliefs.html?_r=1&

(48) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1453699309/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=familiesthatflou&linkCode=as2&camp=217153&creative=399701&creativeASIN=1453699309

(49) http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nolongerquivering/2011/06/nlq-review-sex-mom-and-god-by-frank-schaeffer/

(50) http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-294.html

(51) http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/the-passing-of-r-j-rushdoony-40: “Rushdoony was often called upon as an expert witness to defend the rights of home–school advocates against their detractors. In 1983 the Home School Legal Defense Association was formed under the leadership of people inspired by Rushdoony’s attacks on secular education. By 1990 over fifteen thousand families in all fifty states belonged to the Association, and today home schooling is more popular than ever.”

(52) http://www.synergyfield.com/homeschooling_parent/homeschooling/a-brief-history-of-american-homeschoolin/: Changes in tax regulations for Christian schools “forced the smaller among them to close down by the hundreds. Suddenly, the parents of the students attending these schools were faced with a choice between government school attendance and homeschooling. For many, this really wasn’t a choice at all, and these Christian families became part of a large second wave of homeschooling, joining earlier homeschoolers and boosting the numbers to record highs.”

(53) http://mhla.org/information/resourcesarticles/holtorigins.htm

(54) http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-294.html: “The constituencies Raymond Moore and Holt individually attracted reflected the backgrounds and lifestyles of the two researchers. Moore, a former Christian missionary, earned a sizable (but hardly an exclusive) following among parents who chose homeschooling primarily to impart traditional religious mores to their children–the Christian right. Holt, a humanist, became a cult figure of sorts to the wing of the homeschooling movement that drew together New Age devotees, ex-hippies, and homesteaders–the countercultural left…In the 1970s the countercultural left, who responded more strongly to Holt’s cri de coeur, comprised the bulk of homeschooling families. By the mid-1980s, however, the religious right would be the most dominant group to choose homeschooling and would change the nature of homeschooling from a crusade against “the establishment” to a crusade against the secular forces of modern-day society.”

(55) http://www.politicalamazon.com/fcf-homeschooling.html: “Farris’s name appears among ninety-seven Christian intellectuals who signed the Coalition for Revival’s 1986 ‘manifesto’ which declares, ‘We believe America can be turned around and once again function as a Christian nation as it did in its earlier years.’ The document lists  Farris and Virginia C. Armstrong as co-authors of the section entitled ‘The Christian World View of the Law,’ which states, ‘We affirm that a society must inevitably choose between conflicting legal foundations and views of law and should choose Christian views and a Christian foundation because the Christian system is vastly superior to all alternatives.’ Farris denies ever signing the document or co-writing the section on a Christian view of the law although Armstrong recalls that she and Farris wrote different parts of the section and ‘he certainly seemed to be in general agreement’ of the finished version.”

(56) http://www.amazon.com/Christian-Home-School-Gregg-Harris/dp/094349706X?ie=UTF8&tag=cmasonideas-20&link_code=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969

(57) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregg_Harris

(58) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Gothard

(59) http://homeedmag.com/seelhoffvs.welch/news.html

(60) http://www.nheri.org/about-nheri.html

(61) http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-294.html

(62) http://homeedmag.com/seelhoffvs.welch/news.html

(63) http://www.home-school.com/Articles/whats-our-next-step-the-future-of-homeschooling.php

(64) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Farris

(65) http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/madison-project

(66) http://madisonproject.com/about-us/

(67) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua_Harris

(68) http://walkerhomeschoolblog.wordpress.com/2005/11/: “In the 1970’s and 1980’s, it seems as if homeschoolers from both of these wings of the movement generally presented a united front to support homeschooling freedoms.  However, an underlying tension between the two groups has always been present and in more recent years a lot of public disagreement has been noted, especially after the H. R. 6 incident in 1994.”

(69) http://homeedmag.com/newscomm/hslda-touting-raymond-moore/: “Part of the white paper is about the nationwide alarm HSLDA set off in early 1994. The alarm was to stop the danger that only HSLDA saw from an amendment to the House portion of the then-Congressional bill H. R. 6, a $12 billion reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).”

(70) http://www.homeedmag.com/INF/FREE/free_HR6.html: “The reason homeschoolers need to work at the federal level now to remove dangerous federalizing amendments from H. R. 6 is that HSLDA and others overreacted to the Miller amendment and then proposed and supported these amendments instead of simply clarifying the Miller amendment or having it deleted.The actions HSLDA is taking are affecting all homeschoolers. Whether HSLDA is acting out of good intentions, misunderstanding, or a desire for power, the effect is the same. Homeschoolers who value their freedom to homeschool and who oppose the federalization of homeschooling would do well to consider the effects of HSLDA’s actions.”

(71) http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-294.html

(72) http://www.politicalamazon.com/fcf-homeschooling.html: “The Home School Legal Defense Association/Foundation has many links to Reconstructionism. In his well-researched 1995 book, Home Schooling: The Right Choice, HSLDA attorney Christopher Klicka frequently quotes Reconstructionst writers, notably Rushdoony and Barton. In addition to including Rushdoony’s ‘The Difference Between Christian Education and Humanistic Education’, the book’s forward was written by D. James Kennedy and many of the ideals expressed seem Reconstructionist, however, he does not state specifically that he is a Reconstructionist.”

(73) http://www.schoolandstate.org/Bios/HistoryTocqueville.htm

(74) http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-294.html

(75) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua_Harris

(76) http://www.heir.org/oldsite/nw90626.htm

(77) http://homeedmag.com/seelhoffvs.welch/news.html

(78) http://www.hslda.org/courtreport/v13n6/v13n601.asp

(79) http://www.homeedmag.com/seelhoffvs.welch/truth.html

(80) http://www.heir.org/oldsite/nw90626.htm

(81) http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-294.html

(82) Ibid.

(83) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Farris

(84) http://www.salon.com/2000/10/02/homeschooling_battle/

(85) http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north33.html: “Rushdoony’s writings are the source of many of the core ideas of the New Christian Right, a voting bloc whose unforeseen arrival in American politics in 1980 caught the media by surprise. This bloc voted overwhelmingly for Ronald Reagan. Two weeks after Reagan was inaugurated, Newsweek (Feb. 2, 1981) accurately but very briefly identified Rushdoony’s Chalcedon Foundation as the think tank of the Religious Right. But the mainstream media did not take the hint. They never did figure out where these ideas were coming from. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were on television, and the media’s intellectuals, such as they are, believe that television is the source of world transformation. Rushdoony in 1981 was almost unknown outside of the leadership of New Right/New Christian Right circles. So he remained at his death.”

(86) http://www.ncfca.org/?i=12690&mid=1000&id=311956

(87) http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/washingtontimes/199909250.asp

(88) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Farris

“Generation Joshua (Often called “GenJ” by its members) is an American Christian youth organization founded in 2003[1] that aims to encourage young people to learn about and become involved in government, history, civics, and politics. Generation Joshua is a division of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), and is based in Purcellville, Virginia which is a non-profit 501(c)4 organization.All partisan activities are operated and funded by the HSLDA PAC…Generation Joshua campaigns solely for conservative candidates who support pro-life and otherwise socially conservative platforms. The group’s focus on youth has led some atheists to characterize its mission as making “Christian nationalism palatable to the MTV generation”.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Joshua)

(89) http://www.schoolandstate.org/Bios/HistoryTocqueville.htm

(90) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_Action_(organization)

(91) http://www.therebelution.com/blog/2007/05/lila-rose-fighting-for-the-unborn/

(92) http://www.christianexaminer.com/Articles/Articles%20Sep07/Art_Sep07_02.html

(93) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rebelution

(94) http://www.therebelution.com/blog/2007/05/lila-rose-fighting-for-the-unborn/

(95) http://www.moorefoundation.com/article/23/about-moore-home-schooling/moore-foundation/history-of-moore-academy/death-of-raymond-moore

(96) http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2007/aug/20/honoring-moores-achievements/

(97) http://homeedmag.com/newscomm/hslda-touting-raymond-moore/

(98) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Farris

(99) http://www.therebelution.com/modestysurvey/

(100) http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009030.pdf: “In the 2003 and 2007 NHES, parents were asked whether In the 2007 NHES, parents also were asked which one of their selected reasons for homeschooling was the most important. The reason reported by the highest percentage of homeschoolers’ parents as being most important was to provide religious or moral instruction.”

(101) http://www.christianexaminer.com/Articles/Articles%20Sep07/Art_Sep07_02.html

(102) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gospel_Coalition

(103) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rebelution

(104) http://hsislegal.com/hslda_destroys_german_homeschool_movement/

(105) http://www.joshharris.com/2011/09/homeschool_blindspots.php

(106) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Farris

(107) http://icher.org/icher.html

(108) http://blogtown.portlandmercury.com/BlogtownPDX/archives/2013/01/29/if-your-gay-kid-is-being-bullied-at-school-and-he-begs-you-to-homeschool-him

(109) http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/2013/201302110.asp

(110) http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/02/15/do-christian-parents-have-a-fundamental-right-to-homeschool/

(111) http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2011/08/16/dominionismists-the-new-birthers/


17 responses to “A Historical Timeline of the Modern U.S. Homeschooling Movement

  1. Great work! I’ve read so much of these works and followed the founders and writers all through my 23 years home schooling, yet never knew how much and in what ways they were all connected. This will be very useful. Thanks, Ryan

  2. Don’t know if it was intentionally left out, but John Taylor Gatto’s “Dumbing Us Down” was very instrumental in my early years of homeschooling my kids. This was a very interesting run-down of the history and politics of the “homeschool movement”. Thanks.

  3. Pretty good I only see one mistake which is just because Wikipedia got it wrong. Josh Harris began publishing New Attitude Magazine in 1993 I was one of the early subscribers the subscription was a birthday present. The early issues covered the Mike Farris Lt. Governor campaign which sticks in my memory since my family happened to be taking a cross country trip and was passing through Virginia during election season.

    I am going to have to ask my Mom and Mother-In-Law which of the books mentioned they read in the early days. I remember some of the titles as being on the bookshelf when I was a kid. Both my husband and I were homeschooled from the early days my family started in 1983 and his family in 1982. Both of our mothers were teachers and the idea of homeschooling didn’t come from a book or radio broadcast. My husbands father had strongly disliked school and suggested to his mother that couldn’t they just do it at home since she was a teacher. My Mom wasn’t happy with traditional education which she felt only served 25% of children and heard of a homeschooling family through the grapevine and convinced my Dad to homeschool before I was even born! I wonder how many other families there were who like us made the decision to homeschool before hearing about the founders and leaders of the movement.

  4. This is fascinating. I was born in 1984, and I was homeschooled all the way through high school. I would assume I started school in 1991. My mom passed away nearly 3 years ago, but she was the instigator of many aspects of homeschool community in my hometown, and she sold supplemental materials at homeschool conventions around the country for most of my life.

    This is really interesting–I didn’t realize just how new the homeschooling model was at the time my parents made that decision. My parents made a radical decision for the times. No wonder so many people questioned them. I went on to get a college education and have a good career that I love now, but who knew how the whole homeschooling idea would actually work! For me, I see homeschooling as a valid option alongside private schools and public schools for my future children, and many of my friends who were homeschooled have continued on that route with their own kids.

    Thanks for sharing this timeline!

  5. Interesting stuff! I wonder though, and perhaps someone can answer this, isn’t the Christian homeschooling movement just as restrictive and ideological as the public school system? From what I’ve heard about patriarchy adn quiverfull and the various fundamentalist types involved in it, it sounds rather oppressive. Wouldn’t a kid be freer in a public school, provided he or she received religious instruction at church and at home? Doesn’t it make mroe sense?

    • Jon, I personally think patriarchal and authoritarian Christian homeschooling is far more souls crushing that public school. One of the biggest compounding factors that makes homeschooling so potentially dangerous is social isolation. If you have abusive parents, homeschooling means you are with them 24/7. Public schoolers escape 5 days a week.

  6. @nick, “If” could be……. but facts and statistics stand better….Please do your research before you pull out the social word and the abuse word. There will be always abuse in any situation including inside the doors of public schools. I am sorry that you feel you must escape. That is sad . We can not define public schools or homeschools by the horrible things that take place.. The socialization has been proven false many times over. Please go to your local college Library and read Dumas, T. K., Gates, S., & Schwarzer, D. R. (2010). EVIDENCE FOR HOMESCHOOLING: CONSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS IN LIGHT OF SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH. Widener Law Review, 16(1), 63-87.and search for more Dumas, T. K., Gates, S., & Schwarzer, D. R. (2010). EVIDENCE FOR HOMESCHOOLING: CONSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS IN LIGHT OF SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH. Widener Law Review, 16(1), 63-87. It is a beautiful act to work to understand.

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  8. Almost hidden in the 54th footnote is this gem:

    “Holt, a humanist, became a cult figure of sorts to the wing of the homeschooling movement that drew together New Age devotees, ex-hippies, and homesteaders–the countercultural left…In the 1970s the countercultural left, who responded more strongly to Holt’s cri de coeur, comprised the bulk of homeschooling families.”

    Although later co-opted by the Christian Right, the fact that the homeschooling movement largely began (and was popularized) on the left is not mentioned during the timeline itself.

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