Home Schooling


When is the first time a well-known phrase appears in print?

FirstMention.com explores the history and origins of

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My two boys are heading back to school this week, and the eagerness shines through on their freshly scrubbed faces …

Awww, never mind.  They hate school.  They’re just not cut out for sittin’ all day.  The only way I can get them go some days is to bring out the ultimate threat.  If they don’t want to go to public school, they can get schooled at home…by their parents!

That’s usually enough to get them in motion.

The FirstMention of home schooling (sometimes a single word)  is a bit tricky to pinpoint, as the phrase does pop up here and there in the context of special situations, like an invalid who has to be schooled at home.

But I would put the FirstMention of homeschooling in its modern context as November 3, 1936, when the New York Times reported on a court case in New Jersey involving a mother who preferred to teach her son at home, rather than have him continue being beaten (by the principal, no less) in the schools in West Orange.

You can see home schooling make an appearance in the last paragraph of the excerpt, below.

Then finally, in 1985, the term appears again in the NY Times in its modern understanding, as an acceptable, if somewhat offbeat, alernative to public schooling.

My two boys never read my website, so it’s safe to say…your mother and I are not serious about the home schooling threat, guys.

Our FirstMention research is carried out in many sources, including historical newspaper archives, online family history records, state archives, and old books.