Homeschooling is the act of teaching a student at least part of their education within their home and is a form of independent learning. The term homeschooling was coined in 1977.
Homeschooling originated in Sweden in the 18th century when educator and philosopher Jonas Himmelstrand would teach his students at their homes – primarily daughters from Sweden’s wealthy middle-class families.
He wished these girls a more personal and fulfilling education than the “normalskola” (the local school). He was also influenced by the fact that many of his students experienced a gradual change in their lifestyle, from relatively sheltered and sheltered girls to becoming young women.
He wanted to equip them with the reasoning skills they would need and offer them the knowledge of advanced mathematics, music, art, and history (according to his personal goals). One of Himmelstrand’s students was Johanna Skoog.
Skoog had previously attended the “normalskola” but walked out on her last day because she felt it wasn’t providing her with any good education. Skoog returned home after leaving school and began teaching herself.
She had been interested in music. She taught herself Latin, did her translations of the Latin classics, and wrote her compositions. After she began teaching herself and Himmelstrand’s daughters, other homeschoolers started requesting that they have their children educated.
At this time, Skoog had developed a system she called “informantar,” which corresponded to years 7–10 (this was later replaced by the Swedish equivalent “gymnasiestudier”).
Folkways for women seemed inaccessible to many of the girls. Skoog believed that girls had equal access to knowledge and could be allowed to choose a path as they became more educated.
The Swedish government was not in favor of homeschooling. They attempted to have those teaching their children to educate them at the “normalskola.” Still, these attempts failed mainly because Skoog’s students presented anonymously without their parents’ support.
The authorities also regarded their leisure pursuits as inappropriate for young ladies but did not know how to approach this issue with the women homeschooling their daughters.
Skoog was homeschooled until she was 21. After that, she began teaching her children and refused to send them to the “normalskola.” She taught young ladies informally for years, and in 1945 she opened a school for girls only.
This school still exists. In 1960, Skoog defended herself before a government committee on education. This hearing led to parents’ right to take their children out of the Swedish educational system and educate them themselves (in 1965 but confirmed again in 1967).
During the 20th century and beyond, Sweden was a pioneer in providing both boys and girls access to school-level education.
However, in the early 21st century, homeschooling has been reinstated and is, at present, being practiced once again by educated families all over Sweden.
Homeschooling was first successful in Sweden and is now practiced worldwide.