HOME SCHOOLING Is not a new phenomenon. Indeed, it has a long history in the United States, from the aboriginal Americans to the first Europeans who settled in the New World. Notable Virginians such as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Cyrus McCormick (inventor of the mechanical reaper), and George Wythe (justice of the Virginia High Court) were all instructed at home.
The practice was largely forgotten after the late-19th-century arrival of the European socialist Progressive movement. The Progressives established a tight grip on education, emphasizing the training of obedient, compliant citizens through state-funded schools. One of the measures designed to get students out of the home and into government schools was compulsory school attendance laws -- enacted in Virginia in 1908.