HomeschoolingThe History and Philosophy of a Controversial Practice

HomeschoolingThe History and Philosophy of a Controversial Practice

James G. Dwyer and Shawn F. Peters

Print publication date: 2021

ISBN: 9780226627113

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

Homeschooling—pervasive in colonial times, an anomaly a half century ago, today a national movement—now has a two-faced nature, one ugly and threatening as seen by critics, the other beautiful and wholesome in defenders’ eyes. The reality is that today it is no one thing. Nearly two million American families are doing it, for a great variety of reasons and with a widely divergent range of approaches, by parents whose abilities also vary considerably. The authors posit that homeschooling can be for many children far superior educationally to what the local public schools offer, but also that it can be grossly deficient academically and serve as a cover for serious child maltreatment. After presenting a nuanced historical account of how the practice and public policy of homeschooling has evolved from America’s earliest years to the present, the book analyzes what stance the state ought to take today toward the practice, in light of its potential to be wonderful or worrisome.