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No. 4

In This Issue

Special Feature
Homeschooling Comes into Its Own (1996–2005)
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compiled by Court Report Staff
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By the mid-1990s, homeschooling was beginning to come into its own. Large educational conferences provided curriculum, training, and connection with other homeschoolers. Homeschoolers demonstrated their proficiency on equal footing with public school students in national competitions, from spelling bees to LEGO robotics.


In the previous Court Report, the 1990 Idaho statewide commencement ceremony should have been attributed to Idaho Homeschool Graduation, not Christian Homeschoolers of Idaho State. HSLDA regrets this error and any confusion it may have caused.

The developing world wide web opened the door to a universe of instantaneous communication and free educational materials. Suddenly, children across the country could access some of the finest art, science, and history resources around the globe with the click of a mouse! And parents could quickly answer each other’s teaching questions and share urgent legislative and court news.

As homeschooling expanded around the nation, the battleground for homeschool freedom shifted from local school districts and state legislatures to front porches (social worker visits), city halls (daytime curfews), and state departments of motor vehicles (driver’s education bills). When homeschooling parents in other countries found themselves facing government opposition, American homeschoolers provided an effective, unified voice that helped win more freedom overseas.

Homeschool graduates forged the way into colleges, universities, the military, and the job market nationwide, establishing a solid reputation for those who would follow. They successfully worked through the clashes sometimes caused by nontraditional students merging with the bureaucracy of very traditional institutions. As these graduates married and their own children reached school age, they launched a second generation of homeschoolers. Homeschooling was here to stay!

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.

Impacting the Federal Arena

Homeschoolers made a difference by:

Mike Farris and John Ashcroft
HSLDA/Peter Curtis Photography Inc.
Senate Resolution 183 designated the week beginning September 19, 1999, as National Home Education Week.
  • Stopping progress of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1995)
  • Fighting immunization requirements & tracking (1998)
  • Removing dangerous language from the Religious Liberty Protection Act (1998)
  • Securing a ban on national testing (1998)
  • Protecting homeschoolers from vocational education measures (1998)
  • Stopping citizen tracking measures (1998)
  • Securing language to protect homeschoolers against college discrimination (1998)
  • Halting a national ID card (1998)
  • Protecting homeschoolers from job training measures (1998)
  • Instituting a groundbreaking five-year pilot program through the Defense Reauthorization Act which allows homeschoolers to enter all military branches with Tier 1 status (1998)
  • Repealing worst measures of Goals 2000 & outcome-based education (2000)
  • Exempting homeschools, religious schools, & private schools from federal regulation in House Resolution 1, the No Child Left Behind Act (2001)

Senate Resolution 183 designated the week beginning September 19, 1999, as National Home Education Week.

Key Court Decisions
Pustell family Brunelle Family

In the combined case of Brunelle & Pustell (Nov. 1991–Dec. 1998), the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts unanimously struck down the efforts of the Lynn Public School Committee to force homeschoolers to submit to unwarranted home inspections.

Kennedy Family

In Kennedy (Nov. 1995–Feb. 1997), a federal judge ruled that police officers violated the Kennedys’ constitutional rights when they forced entry into the family’s home.

Calabretta Family

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in Calabretta (Feb. 1995–Aug. 1999) that child abuse investigations are subject to Fourth Amendment requirements. Any government official, including a social worker, must have valid consent or emergency circumstances plus probable cause to enter a home.

Stumbo Family

After an anonymous report of a 2-year-old’s brief dash outside minus her clothes sparked a social services investigation of a homeschooling family, the North Carolina Supreme Court held in Stumbo (Sept. 1999–Jul. 2003) that social workers should be guided by common sense and must be constrained by the Constitution.

Homeschooling Goes Mainstream
Card family

Several high-profile figures, including those listed below, found homeschooling to be the best choice for their children.

  • Michael Card (above), songwriter and artist
  • Steve Green, songwriter and artist
  • Lisa Whelchel, television personality and author
  • Darrell Waltrip, NASCAR driver and commentator
Homeschool Magazines

More homeschooling magazines appeared: The Link (1995), The Old Schoolhouse (2001), and Home School Enrichment (2003).

Homeschool debate

The first annual National Home School Debate Tournament was held in 1997 in Purcellville, Virginia.

David Beihl

Thirteen-year-old David Beihl of Saluda, South Carolina, became the first homeschooled student to win the National Geographic National Geography Bee in 1999.

Rebecca Sealfon

At the 70th annual Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in 1997, 13-year-old Rebecca Sealfon of Brooklyn, New York, became the first homeschooled student to win the event.

Education Week

Mike Farris was named to the top 100 faces in education by Education Week in 1999.


Random House Webster’s College Dictionary included the word homeschooling in 1991.

The Pyromaniacs, a team of nine homeschooled students, Pyromaniacsages 14–17, won first place against 49 other robotics teams from around the world at the 12th Annual Trinity College Fire Fighting Home Robot Contest in 2005.

Homeschooling statemen

Homeschoolers gained an increasing presence in the political leadership of our nation. In 1998, HSLDA reported that at least 40 homeschooling parents were serving in either state or federal legislative office.