The Politics of Homeschool Population
By Michael Farris
Homeschooling families are growing rapidly. This is true in two ways. First more and more families are deciding that home education is the best choice for their family. Secondly, it is my observation that many homeschooling families are committed to having large families. We note this in the applications we receive, in the families I meet as I travel, and with my own family and friends. My wife is now pregnant with our sixth child.
As a long-term political activist, it recently occurred to me: What if . . . homeschoolers averaged 5 children per family? What if . . . private schoolers averaged 3 children per family? What if . . . public schoolers averaged 1.8 children per family?
This is what would happen, assuming that by the end of this generation 5% of the children are being taught at home.
| ||Homeschool ||Private School ||Public School
|Our generation ||5% ||15% ||80%
|Our children ||12% ||21% ||67%
|Our grandchildren ||24% ||26% ||50%
|Our great-grandchildren ||42% ||27% ||31%
|Our great-great-grandchildren ||60% ||24% ||16%
I have long believed that when about one-third of the children are out of the public schools, we will have the political strength to end the public school financial monopoly in education. That will occur in just one generation. In just two generations, half of the population will be gone from the public schools. In just three generations, homeschoolers will be the largest group in America.
This assumes, of course, that all homeschoolers will marry other homeschoolers and they will homeschool their children. That is an excellent goal, but of course, will not happen exactly that way. However, it is fairly safe to say that our assumptions are conservative. At a minimum, it seems to me that homeschoolers will gain as many converts as we lose to other forms of education. In reality, other than the assumption of 5 children, our assumptions are extremely conservative. With AIDS, homosexuality, and abortion, the public school population is very unlikely to have 1.8 children, which is now the national average including all of our expanding families. Therefore, the relative strength of homeschoolers in the population may grow even more rapidly than these assumptions suggest.
Our goal should be to reform our families which will result in the reform of our nation. National dominance should never be our goal. After being the persecuted minority of homeschoolers, we will hopefully remember the tolerance we have desired, if and when we ever become the majority. Civil tolerance of all faiths and forms of education should be the goal of a truly educated person. Unfortunately, those who now claim to be educated are not willing at times to tolerate those of us who choose a different path.
But the problems which now best us politically—abortion, pornography, etc.—can be solved only when the national will to do something about them grips the minds of the populace. We can persuade others to join us. However, we are much more likely to succeed if we train children to join us. Why do you think humanists have been so interested in running the public school system?
We can turn America around. We can build society on the basis of solid families. We can influence the society around us by these good deeds and effective political action. We can live to see a real change in our beloved country.
But this will only happen if Christians in general, and homeschoolers in particular, are convinced that the Bible is true when it says that children are a gift from the Lord. If we believe that children are a nuisance, we will not be employing the greatest weapon in God’s arsenal to reform our society.
Michael P. Farris