Acton Institute Powerblog

‘The Most Radical Form of Privatisation’

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When Christians are tempted to despair over our seeming inability to make significant cultural changes in America, there is one word that should give us reason to be optimistic: homeschooling. As The Economist notes:

Three decades ago home schooling was illegal in 30 states. It was considered a fringe phenomenon, pursued by cranks, and parents who tried it were often persecuted and sometimes jailed. Today it is legal everywhere, and is probably the fastest-growing form of education in America. According to a new book, “Home Schooling in America”, by Joseph Murphy, a professor at Vanderbilt University, in 1975 10,000-15,000 children were taught at home. Today around 2m are—about the same number as attend charter schools.

Although home schooling started on the counter-cultural left, the conservative right has done most to promote it, abandoning public schools for being too secular and providing no moral framework. Today the ranks of home-schoolers are overwhelmingly Christian, and 78% of parents attend church frequently. According to the National Household Education Survey in 2007, the main motivation for home schooling was for religious or moral instruction (36%), followed by school environment (21%) and the quality of instruction available (17%). After this comes concerns about special education, the distance of travel and even nut allergies.

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Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).


  • Quonium

    We have been homeschooling for nearly eleven years now. Our older daughter was recently accepted to Hillsdale College with an academic merit scholarship, and our younger daughter hopes to attend there as well.

    They will each enter college having successfully completed a rigorous classical curriculum that includes Latin, philosophy, logic, rhetoric, schola, and the rest of the liberal arts. One or both will also have enjoyed the following experiences:

    – starred in a soon-to-be-released professional short film
    – played multiple competitive team sports in a homeschool-specific league

    – privately toured a Hollywood movie set and met several household-named actors
    – completed over ten years of progressive ballet instruction and performed annually with international dance professionals
    – worked as a production assistant for an upcoming television series
    – learned to play several musical instruments
    – starred in four full-length, authentic Shakespeare productions, including “As You Like It”, “The Winter’s Tale”, “Macbeth” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

    Best of all, they are wonderfully virtuous, beautiful young ladies who love others as themselves, and the Lord with all their heart, mind and strength.

    I’ll take that over public school any day.