Home based education has grown encompass a variety of both informal and formal learning methodologies, ranging from independent homeschooling that can be anything from classical to unschooled in nature, to online learning programs,to dual enrollment programs and blended learning options.
The origins of homeschooling as a breakaway movement from public education, varies somewhat depending upon who’s giving the history. Some see modern homeschooling as an outgrowth of secular education reform movements started by John Holt and Ivan Illich in the 1960s. Others identify religious origins. However it sprouted, homeschooling, the practice of fully family directed learning, has blossomed into a vibrant and thriving educational choice for an estimated 1.5 million U.S. students (NCES). Homeschooling is legal in all fifty states, although laws vary widely by state.
On average, home school students show high academic achievement , increased civic involvement and greater maturity than many of their peers. And yet there are no hard or fast rules, no one-size-fits-all formula, for providing the most effective homeschool program – which is the whole point. Homeschooling, and other home based learning options, have grown in response to the recognition that everyone learns differently. Homeschooling can be as expensive, or as inexpensive, as families choose to make it. There are plenty of prepackaged curricula available, and innumerable community learning opportunities in libraries, at museums and nature parks, and through informal learning cooperatives shared with other home learning families.
Homeschooling has evolved over the years to embrace a variety of learning tools, not the least of which has been the Internet. The growth of online learning, while fueled in large measure by new technologies, got additional impetus from dissatisfaction with institutionalized learning models that yielded mixed results, at best. The ability to combine a variety of educational tools in the service of personalized learning continues to evolve and to revolutionize how we think about education.
Visit our Resource Directory for more on Home Based Learning options.
See also: LIFE 2008 Tapestry of Homeschool Survey (PDF report)