History of Home Schooling
Home schooling was by far the most popular means of education in Colonial America. At that time almost every one was educated in the home by parents.
Slowly, public school (controlled and funded by state agencies) began to rise in popularity through in 1800s. During this time, more and more states adopted compulsory education laws, which required the attendance of all children in public schools, until age 16.
In 1918, the last state to enact such a ruling was Mississippi.
Home Schooling in the Supreme Court
In 1923, the Supreme Court ruled that the state's right over education is not absolute in Meyer v. Nebraska. When a teacher (hired by parents) was reprimanded for his curriculum, the Court told the school they had infringed on the liberty of parents to teach their children what they wanted.
In 1925, the Pierce v. Society of Sisters case was brought before the Supreme Court. The question was whether or not Oregon's compulsory education law (all children 8-16 had to attend public school) was constitutional. The Court decided it wasn't, but maintained that states had the right to require and regulate some form of schooling.
In 1972, the issue of Wisconsin's compulsory education law was brought before the Court when Amish parents sought to have their children receive a religious based education at home. In Wisconsin v. Yoder, the Court ruled that did have the right to teach their children at home.
Home Schooling Chronology
1960s - Rise of counterculture movements and information on deplorable conditions in public schools cause many to seek other alternatives.
1970s - Religious based groups embrace home schooling. Estimated 20,000 children home schooled in United States.
1980s - Spread of home schooling from exclusively religious to now secular children increases number from 60,000 in 1983 to 244,000 in 1988.
1990s - Those in favor of home schooling mobilize politically, number estimated to be 1 million.