Guest post by Carey Appling
Living as a fiscally responsible American is difficult, but it is especially difficult for homeschooling families. It may, in fact, be the single biggest impediment to Christians who would otherwise homeschool their children.
With all the taxes Americans pay on a daily basis, it really makes me wonder how some people can even afford two cars or a mortgage, let alone both. It’s hard. Yes, we are some of the wealthiest people not only in all the world but also within the history of the world, whether it be fiscal wealth or the cheap technology at our disposal. Yet, that doesn’t make American life a walk in the park. It’s still difficult for most, in fact, just to make ends meet month to month, whether they are dual or single income, single or married, children or no children.
Homeschooling is growing, but it is nowhere close to overtaking the attendance in the state schools.
Homeschooling, in nearly all cases, requires a parent to stay home and feed and educate the children while the other parent, typically the husband, leaves the home to put in the 40 hours, at least, that are needed to pay the bills and feed the family. In a vacuum, this family would be quite successful if all they were was a “test tube” family. If they lived in a biblical society, they would flourish, grow, and establish or continue their legacy.
Today in America, however, the poor and middle class are crushed under regulation and taxation. Last year, for example, I entertained the idea of becoming a barber. We could have used the additional income. But the price of “licensing” required by the state, and the hours required just to become certified, were laughably absurd. Texas requires 1,500 hours to become certified. If we follow the money on these “regulations,” I’m sure we would arrive at the doorstep of some Barber Union that long ago lobbied for these laws to be created to prevent competition. Trust me, it works, and nearly all unions of any kind advocate for such regulations. Politicians love campaign funds. The unions and lobbies are ready to provide that funding. Regulation never benefits the small guy; it almost always attempts to lock him out of the market. See, for example, the taxi unions using local city councils to pass regulatory laws against Uber. That was also something I had considered, but the City of Houston is in the pocket of the taxi union, so loopholes and “licensing” are required now—all in order to stem the tide of competition. Of course, this is played up as something for our “safety”. “The mercies of the wicked,” in Proverbs 12:10 comes to mind.
So many times when the lower and middle classes attempt to create another form of small income that may even grow into a small business, the state shuts the door by requiring them to pay money they don’t have for a venture that may or may not even pay off. That’s without even considering the investment required after the licensing and regulation fees. Let’s not kid ourselves: “regulation” and “licensing” are merely additional taxation on entrepreneurship, just under a different name.
Then we have taxation as well. The state usually burdens the citizen with property tax. Everyone pays property taxes, even renters. Property tax is just tacked onto your monthly rent, which inflates the price of the actual value of rental properties. This makes renting and home buying more expensive. In a suburb outside of Houston, if your home is valued at $170,000, you can anticipate paying $3,273 a year in property tax. That’s $272 extra per month, in addition to your mortgage. That doesn’t count 8 percent sales tax (in Texas). Now, add federal income tax. For a family that brings home $50,000, we are looking at $9,075 going back to the federal government. Add to this state income tax as well as Social Security, which will deduct about 170 dollars every two weeks. This ponzi scheme will collapse if our economy itself doesn’t by the time I’m old enough to draw—if they don’t raise the qualifying age to 92 by that time.
The state-imposed financial burden that currently exists in our nation on families is simply inexcusable, and this kind of system can only wait for God’s ultimate judgement to bring it crashing down. I have to work an extra side business on Saturdays just to offset what the government confiscates on a monthly basis. Some call this, “The price we pay to live in a civilized society;” but it’s more like a monthly shakedown from the mafia who threatens me with enslavement if I refuse. In order to “avoid offense” as our Savior says, though “the sons are free,” I’ll pay my taxes (Matthew 17:24-27).
In this environment, anyone contemplating homeschooling may feel like the path is impossible. I wrote this article to encourage you that it is possible. We are doing it, and many many other faithful Christians are doing it, too, despite what seems like impossible strains. Even when we are shaken down to pay for the education of others, we go on to fund ourselves on 1/8th the cost, and with no help at all. Yes, you will have to give up a few things. You will have to downsize, and you will have to make sacrifices; but it’s better than burying your talent in the sand. At times you will even wonder how this is even possible. With God, it is not only possible, it is positively rewarding.
Single income, homeschooling families are, therefore, rare for a reason. It’s hard to begin with, and the state makes it even harder. Furthermore, I believe this is purposeful. But it’s a wonderful thing to be sustained by God in what seems like impossible situations. It is nothing short of pure faith in God’s sustaining hand to take this route. For those already doing this, God bless you. You know the hardship, the sacrifice and also the blessing. We may lose a lot of our wealth to the hungry state, but we know the riches Christ has stored up for us, and we experience those riches on a daily basis as we see the fruit of our labors growing in the lives of our children and even our marriages.
Press on brothers and sisters. Run the race. When your children come of age, encourage them to run the race likewise. Legacy is at stake. We are in Covenant with God, and what could be better than living according to Deuteronomy 6, teaching our children constantly about the ways of God? Whatever the State steals, God will restore a million fold. He is faithful, and we can look forward to a day when God will rule over us and the current tyranny under which we suffer will be table talk among the glorified saints. We will reminisce about what it was like to live under evil men billions of years ago and think what an odd and foreign thing that is to remember. Until then, we press on in the Kingdom. Forward, Christian Soldier!
Carey Appling is a native Houstonian and an Abolitionist. He and his wife of 12 years homeschool their three lovely children.