This study fills a gap in the existing literature by providing a piece of historical research on the issue, using the state of Georgia as a test case. It first describes and explains the national debate on home schools with particular emphasis on the writings of John Holt and Raymond Moore, the two men most influential in providing an intellectual base for the movement and who played significant roles in Georgia's home education story. Next, the study turns to the emergence of home schools in Georgia in the 1970s and 80s and the ensuing public policy debate in the state's bureaucracy, courts, and legislature. The focus here is those Georgia families who played major roles as pioneers in the unfolding drama, that is, the three families that went on trial for violation of the state's compulsory school attendance law and the three families that formed the lobby groups which helped secure a new law favorable to home educators during the 1984 session of the General Assembly. Finally, it examines the schooling that Georgia's home school pioneers provided their children and offers an update of the children's lives since 1984.
Although this study deals with an extremely small segment of the Georgia school population, and many of the events described probably went unnoticed by much of the state, we must not confuse smallness with insignificance. The home school movement in Georgia and the surrounding public policy issues help us understand, in part, the larger disaffection with public education in America and the weakening of the common school ideal which has captivated the American mind for more than a century. Specifically, this work gives us a more complete picture of one element of educational dissent in the U.S., home schooling, and how the state of Georgia dealt with that dissent.