Until the incorporation of public school education in the nineteenth century, home schooling was seen as the predominant method of instruction for children of every economic, social, and cultural stratum. With the introduction of child labor laws and the onset of compulsory education, schooling was taken from the confines of the home and centered within the walls of the public school. For a wide array of reasons, home schooling has gained a renewed consternation with the public as the influx of participants continues to grow. Once considered an underground sector of education, home schooling is now recognized as a legal practice in all 50 states and therefore deemed a viable alternative to public school education. For these reasons and countless more, home schooling has proven itself to be not only an acceptable form of education, but the fastest growing sector of education today. .
Before diving into the pros and cons of home schooling, one must first grasp the basic concept as well as the reasoning behind the huge influx of the home schooling population. Home schooling can simply be defined as parents educating their children in non-traditional environments, such as in the home or the surrounding community, rather than utilizing the free public education system. In 1985, approximately 50,000 children were being home schooled and today it has been estimated that nearly 1.5 to 2 million children (about 3 to 4 percent of school-aged children nationwide) are partaking in the home schooling phenomenon (Lines, 2000, 12). Once considered a social fad, home schooling has broken ground with a surprising growth rate of 15 to 20 percent per year (Lines, 2000, 12), and with the escalating concern over the public school system the growth of the home schooling movement is inevitable.