The Home School Court Report
No. 3

In This Issue


Special Feature
Homeschooling Gains Momentum (1986–1995)
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compiled by Court Report Staff
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As the number of homeschoolers grew and laws changed, confidence and freedom grew. Parents learned their rights as homeschoolers. They ventured out on daytime field trips together, started admitting to friends and relatives that they did this thing called “homeschooling,” and boldly sought to expand their children’s educational and social opportunities.


1,708 HSLDA members in July 1985
46,255 HSLDA members in July 1991

Average annual cost of education per child in 1990:
$489 Homeschool
$4,902 Public school

Whenever a battle for freedom faced a homeschooler—in a courtroom, at the town hall, or before the state legislature, homeschoolers rallied around each other. Unity brought confidence and success. Recognizing this, homeschoolers organized support groups, book fairs, and statewide conferences on home education.

Media attention shifted from suspicion to curiosity to grudging approval. The American public became more familiar with and friendly towards homeschoolers. Homeschoolers became more visible—volunteering in their communities, participating in local and national children’s contests, and starting their own sports leagues and musical ensembles. Homeschooling was gaining poise and respect.

Please note: This compilation highlights some of the people, organizations, and publications that helped grow the modern homeschooling movement. We apologize for any omissions on our part.

Homeschoolers get Organized
Homeschooling magazines

More homeschooling magazines appear: Home Education Magazine (1983) by Mark & Helen Hegener; Home School Digest (1988) by Skeet Savage; Homeschooling Today (1992) by Greg & Debbie Strayer; Practical Homeschooling by Mary Pride.

Basketball tournament

First annual National Home School Basketball Tournament (March 12–14, 1992), San Antonio, TX.

Cathy Duffy

Cathy Duffy published the first of her curriculum guides—Christian Home Educators’ Curriculum Manual—in 1986.


Curriculum options expanded as regular textbook companies, such as Saxon Publishers, began selling to homeschoolers.

Early statewide homeschool commencement ceremonies:

  • 1986: Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators
  • 1988: Home Educators Association of Virginia
  • 1988: Tennessee Home School Association
  • 1990: Christian Homeschoolers of Idaho State

Early recognition of homeschooling:

  • 1987: Maine celebrated its 1st annual Home Education Week. The State House is pictured at right.
  • 1989: The first proclamation of Home Education Week in Texas was signed by Governor William Clements. It is now an annual Texas tradition.
  • 1989: Governor John Ashcroft proclaimed Missouri’s first Home Education Week.
Homeschoolers in the Legislatures
North Dakota protest

As part of a rally on Feb. 20, 1989, at North Dakota’s State Capitol, 150 homeschoolers from 11 states celebrated a “Bismark Tea Party,” flooding the office of legislators with hundreds of tea bags bearing the message: “The consent of the governed for home schooling, too!”

North Dakota governor

On Apr. 7, 1989, North Dakota Governor George A. Sinner signed into law H.B. 1421, the state’s new homeschooling law, which repealed the teacher certification requirement.

In August 1991, Oregon became the first state to pass a bill allowing homeschooled students to participate in public school interscholastic activities. To date, 27 states have passed such laws or regulations and many other states allow participation through sports associations.

Homeschoolers take on the federal government

Homeschoolers took on Uncle Sam—H.R. 6 (March 1994). When a provision in this federal bill threatened homeschooling, over 1 million phone calls from concerned parents overwhelmed congressional switchboards. The provision was defeated.

Washington monument

Homeschool laws or regulations passed 1956–2006:

  • 1956: Nevada
  • 1982: Arizona, Mississippi
  • 1983: Montana, Wisconsin
  • 1984: Georgia, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Virginia
  • 1985: Arkansas, Florida, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, Wyoming
  • 1986: Missouri
  • 1987: Maryland, Minnesota, Vermont, West Virginia
  • 1988: Colorado, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina
  • 1989: Hawaii, Maine, North Dakota, Ohio
  • 1990: Connecticut, New Hampshire
  • 1991: Iowa
  • 1996: Michigan
  • 1997: Alaska, Delaware
  • 2003: Maine
  • 2006: Utah
Colfax family

In Homeschooling for Excellence, published in 1987, David and Micki Colfax shared their homeschooling journey and how three of their four children went to Harvard. Their story captured the attention of national media and inspired thousands of other families with proof that homeschooling works.

Colleges began recruiting homeschoolers: The Family Times (May 1993) announced that “Hillsdale College…has begun recruiting home schoolers as students…. According to Vice President for Student Admissions, Dr. Bob Blackstock, ‘They’re almost too good to be true. We’ve not yet had a poorly trained home-schooled student. They have been exceptional.’”

As the public and the media came to understand home education, media coverage became more favorable.