C O V E R S T O R Y
How Many Home Schoolers Are There?
People think that the number of home schoolers is very small. Estimates range from 250,000 students to 1,000,000 students who are being taught at home. Dr. Brian Ray of Seattle Pacific University is currently conducting a study to try to get the most exact answer to that question to date, but no one seems to question that the number of home schoolers is some place between 250,000 and 1,000,000. There are 42,000 children in Home School Legal Defense Association alone.
How does this number compare with other groups of students? Here is a list of the smallest sixteen states (including D.C.) in terms of number of students enrolled in the public schools (Fall 1987 figures from U.S. Department of Education).
||North Dakota 119,004
|South Dakota 126,817
||Rhode Island 134,061
||New Hampshire 166,045
|New Mexico 287,229
Even if the conservative estimates were correct and there are only 300,000, there are more home schoolers nationally than there are public schoolers in 16 states. If there are 500,000 home-schooled children, then you can add Arkansas, Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas, Oregon, Utah, and West Virginia to the list—a total of 23 states whose combined enrollment would be less than the number of home school students in our nation.
If there are 750,000 home schoolers then only California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin have larger public school enrollments. With 750,000 home schoolers we would comprise the 20th largest “state” in the country if we all lived in one locality. If our number reaches one million, home schoolers would be the 12th largest “state.”
Our political opponents tend to dismiss us as a tiny minority who deserve no consideration, but even at the minimum estimate there are more home schoolers nationally than there are public school students in 16 states!
What politician would dare to suggest that the public school students in Idaho, Maine, or New Mexico are too insignificant in number to matter? We may be small in number, but we are not that small. We are big enough for politicians and the public to give us their attention.