Home School Update: Whatever Became of the Colfax Boys?

An Update On The Colfax Family of Homeschooling For Excellence Fame

David and Micki Colfax created a home school revolution with their book, Homeschooling For Excellence back in 1988. Home school families and prospective home school families used the Colfax book as a guide. It was a major reference for my family and me as it was for many people, and it is still an important book to home schoolers everywhere.

The question remains -- what ever happened to the 4 Colfax boys? Grant Colfax, Drew Colfax, Reed Colfax, and Garth Colfax. Where are they now? What are they doing? How did they turn out? Now, 27 years later, have they been successful? Or did home schooling ruin their lives and relegate them to minimum pay jobs when they can find work at all?

If you are like me, you may sometimes think about someone you read about or heard about a while back and wonder what ever happened to them, where they are now, and how their situation back then worked out and affected their future. When I looked for the Colfax brothers, I discovered the following information.

Colfax Family Members

Dr. Grant N. Colfax with President Barrack Obama in the Red Room of the White House.
Dr. Grant N. Colfax with President Barrack Obama in the Red Room of the White House. | Source
Dr. Grant N. Colfax
Dr. Grant N. Colfax | Source
This is the book written by David and Micki Colfax that helped make home schooling mainstream.
This is the book written by David and Micki Colfax that helped make home schooling mainstream. | Source

What Are the Colfax Boys Doing Now?

Grant N. Colfax, the oldest of the Colfax boys, graduated cum laude from Harvard Medical School. He was a Fulbright Scholar. He is an infectious disease specialist in internal medicine.

On Wednesday, March 14, 2012, President Barrack Obama appointed Dr. Grant N. Colfax to be the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, and he remains the director of that agency at this time.

Doctor Grant N. Colfax spent many years in AIDS prevention research. He was Director of HIV Prevention and Research for the San Francisco Department of Public Health where he developed programs to reduce cases of HIV in San Francisco. During his tenure for the San Francisco Department of Public Health, new HIV cases dropped substantially over the previous decade before his appointment to national office by President Obama.


John Drew Colfax, (goes by J. Drew Colfax) second oldest son earned an MA in biological anthropology as well as a J.D. (Law degree) from the University of Michigan, one of the foremost law schools in the U.S. He then went on to earn an MD from Harvard Medical School specializing in emergency medicine. He worked his way through Harvard Medical School as a lawyer.


Reed Colfax, third son, is African American and was adopted by David and Micki Colfax. Reed has an A.B. from Harvard University where he graduated cum laude, and a J.D. (law degree) from Yale University. According to Relmanlaw.Com, the website for the law firm, Relman, Dane, and Colfax, PLLC, in which Reed Colfax is a partner, Reed specializes in civil rights litigation. Reed’s resumé is long and impressive and I hope you will take the time to learn more about him.


Garth Colfax, youngest of the four Colfax boys, is of Native American ancestry, and also adopted by David and Micki Colfax. Garth would seem to have no lofty educational credentials, but he is currently working with developmentally disabled people in Sacramento California and he is a computer Geek who repairs computers and builds websites.

A Short List of Famous Home Schooled People

There have been many successful people in the U.S. alone who were and are home educated. Here is just a short list:

Condoleezza Rice, Venus and Serena Williams, Sandra Day O’Connor, Andrew Carnegie, Frank Lloyd Wright, Albert Einstein, General George Patton, Julian Assange, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, The Wright Brothers, Irving Berlin, Alexander Graham Bell, William F. Buckley, Jr., Mark Twain, Robert Frost (poet), Carl Sandburg, Walt Whitman, Louis Armstrong, Margaret Mead, Gloria Steinem, Will Rogers, and many more.

Is Home School The Magic Solution?

While I have stated in my Home School Questionnaire that home school is not for everyone and that it is not necessarily the answer to all the woes of public and private formal schools, it does work, and has worked well, for a great many people.

It seems that home-schooled students are becoming more and more desirable to universities and colleges all over the country and the world. The reason is this, ‘“Homeschooled students, by and large, are a liberal arts college’s dream,” says Sabena Moretz-Van Namen, associate director of admission at the University of Richmond. “We want more students who think outside the box and color outside the lines. Homeschoolers often have developed into self-directed learners. Traditional high school students sometimes lack that trait,”’ (Celebrate Home School).


Brozan, Nadine. "Chronicle." The New York Times; Education 4 June 1992: n.pag. Online Internet 2 Oct. 2011. Available

Colfax, David and Micki. "The Best of Colfax Corner." The Link Homeschool Newspaper, 2002 volume 5 issue 6: n.pag. Online Internet 2 Oct. 2011. Available

"Famous Homeschoolers." Bridgeway Homeschool Academy. n.pag. Online Internet 2 Oct. 2011. Available


"Homeschoolers Are At Home At Harvard." Celebrate Home School 2010: n.pag. Online Internet 2 Oct. 2011. Available

K., Carolyn. "Notable Homeschoolers." Hoagies Gifted Education Page 01 October 2009: n. page. Online Internet 2 Oct. 2011. Available

Lyman, Isabel. "Free To Be Me: Homeschooling Advances Liberty." Strike the Root 20 Sept. 2003: n. pag. Online Internet 2 Oct. 2011. Available

Nahm, Nara K. "Home Schoolers Are At Home At Harvard." The Harvard Crimson 16 March 1989: n. pag. Online Internet 2 October 2011. Available

"Reed Colfax, Partner." n.pag. Online Internet 2 Oct. 2011. Available

Additional Sources:


© 2011 C E Clark

Comments 59 comments

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 months ago from North Texas Author

Paula (Fpherj48), thank you for your lovely comments. Yes, the book on the Colfax's is an excellent one to read for people who are considering home school for their children.

Both the Colfax boys' parents were teachers and that didn't hurt, but they were innovative teachers, and that was an advantage for all of the boys. I wrote my daughter's curriculum and I feel being able to do that (not just having the ability, but being allowed by law to do it) was/is one of the great advantages of home schooling one's child(ren). Being able to tailor an education to the child is very beneficial IMHO. Many people buy a a curriculum and I feel they miss one of the best parts of home schooling.

So glad you found this informative. I would highly recommend you read the book yourself. It can be very informative about home school no matter who the students are, or just for informing people who are not home schoolers themselves.

Hope all is well with you! Take care . . .

Robert Sacchi profile image

Robert Sacchi 3 months ago

Good point.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Au fait....This is MOST interesting! Thank you so much for the introduction to the Colfax Bros.(family) Never having been involved with Home-Schooling, I'd never heard of them.

While it's true that home-schooling is not for everyone, I've always been in favor of parents and students having this option available. I can easily understand why many families choose this avenue. On a personal level I've only known a few home-schooled individuals and must say that they all have seemed to do quite well in life and career.

These brothers I think I can safely surmise would be considered at the very high end. One would have to accept that not only are these young men quite intelligent and motivated, but that their parents did everything right. Parents would have to absolutely be very dedicated, organized and consistent.

Thanks so much for this information, Au fait. I can now refer people to this family (and their book) if and when they are considering home-schooling. Peace, Paula

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 months ago from North Texas Author

Robert Sacchi, thank you for commenting and for your high praise. I'm glad you enjoyed this article. I'm sure lots of people wonder how these boys turned out and so did I, so I delved into the research. Hands on is always the best for bringing children up to be contributing members of society. So many people seem to leave their children on their own, almost like baby turtles, not just regarding education, but growing up generally.

Robert Sacchi profile image

Robert Sacchi 3 months ago

Great Hub. I like that you did this Where Are They Now. It gives great information about the Colfax family. It is significant two of the children are adopted and are also doing well. This is evidence of the importance of nurture. Home schooling is not for every parent but it seems every parent should take a serious hands-on approach to their child's education.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 19 months ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Patricia (pstraubie48) for reading and commenting, for the votes and the pin, and for the angels. Yes, sometimes it's good to know what happened down the road a ways. This family was very famous a few years ago and I think they have represented home school and home school children well. So many people believe one has no chance if they are home schooled or do not graduate from a public or formal private school. My but they are wrong!

Au fait profile image

Au fait 19 months ago from North Texas Author

Patricia (Pstraubie48), thank you for commenting and voting on this article and for the pin. Yes, I like to see what happened and I think they represent home school kids very well. Back when their parents wrote that book lots of people thought home school kids were second rate and had no future. They have done well for sure. Thank you for the angels that are always appreciated . . .

pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 19 months ago from sunny Florida

Well, seems like they turned out mighty fine (to put it in a down home kinda' way), did they not? And like you I do like to know the rest of the story, the where are they now part of stories that we so seldom here.

Well done....Angels are once again on the way to you ps

Voted up and pinned to Awesome Hubpages.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W, thank you for pinning, tweeting, Google+ing, and sharing this article! I think this is a great testament to what home schooled people can achieve. Thank you for the compliment!

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

I am going to pin this to Awesome Hubpages but also tweet, G+ and share this again on HP. This is another of your well researched hubs.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

mly, thanks for stopping by. I'll have to look into that one of these times. Being that they're up in age by now I would expect them to be doting on their grandchildren. :)

mly 2 years ago

Nice piece. Years ago I read Hard Times in Paradise and wonder what the parents are doing now all these years later.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you moonlake for reading, commenting, voting on, and sharing this article! Happy Thanksgiving!

moonlake profile image

moonlake 2 years ago from America

Very interesting. Many famous home schooled people. Voted up and shared.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Peggy W for pinning and sharing this hub!

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Rose-the-planner, for reading, voting on this article, and for sharing your thoughts. More and more people are choosing home school as our public school system continues to crumble and fail our children.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Rebeccamealey for reading and commenting on this article. I'm glad if it helped you feel better about home schooling for your grandchildren. As with any school, home school is as successful and thorough as the teachers make it.

Many universities like home schooled students because they are more likely to be creative and self disciplined and able to follow through with responsible study without someone looking over their shoulders.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

pstraubie48, thank you for reading and pinning and sharing this article, and for sharing your thoughts on this subject. Everyday I'm so glad I home schooled my daughter when I see what a mess the public school system has become -- and I work in it everyday. Back to work tomorrow!

rose-the planner profile image

rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

This was such an interesting article! It is pretty impressive how the Colfax boys turned out. Clearly home schooling does produce success stories. I think this will make some parents reconsider the potential positive outcome that home schooling could provide for their children long term. Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Thank you so much for sharing this. My grandchildren are home schooled. I was kind of worried about it at first, but this makes me feel much better!

pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

Very interesting. If I had children today they would be home schooled. My eldest grandson was homeschooled (he was /is ill and could not attend public school but I believe we would have home schooled him anyway. There are so many positives for this type of educational approach.

It was indeed fascinating to read of how the Colfax boys have faired. Pinned

Thanks for sharing. Angels are on the way to you this afternoon. ps

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

This will be another great hub to pin to my Schooling board. Will also share again.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Jeff S. for taking time to share your experience with one of the famous Colfax boys! Glad you found this article and that it brought back pleasant memories. So glad you too, are in the healthcare field. Take care . . .

Jeff S. 3 years ago

Drew was one of my first roommates after I graduated high school, and I found this article after thinking about him today. It's Mother's Day tomorrow, and it got me remembering the healthy families that I have been fortunate to bump into during life. I had only visited his family's house once, but the visit made a positive impression on me. The mini observatory they built especially excited the Science Guy in me, and I made sure to finish my Bachelors of Computer Science. Eventually I became an operating room nurse, so I am glad to hear that he is putting his efforts into the health care field.

Thanks for posting the update.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

RTalloni, thank you for reading this hub, and for sharing your views on this subject. It is estimated that more than 2 million children are home schooled in the U.S. alone. I home schooled my own daughter and I'm well aware of how more and more people are choosing to home school. I'm all for parents home schooling who are able to do it.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Learning In Life, thank you for commenting on this hub! One of the misconceptions about home schooling is that it MUST take place in the home 24/7. Not true. Home school has many options that make it desirable. You can home school anywhere and use whatever method works best for your child.

There are a gazillion socializing opportunities available to children that have nothing to do with public/private school and IMHO they are all superior opportunities as well. They do not teach through example that a child can only engage in activities with people of their own age and who are like themselves.

When my daughter attended a private Selwyn school for 2 weeks, she had all but NO opportunites for socializing with the other children. If one of the children failed to get their homework done, ALL of the children were kept in during lunch hour (their only free time) and made to study as punishment. That was a daily occurrence, sad to say. Most schools do not allow socializing during class time and there is very little time outside of class.

No school is perfect. Not public school, not private school, and not home school. They are all what you make them. With home school you have more control because you needn't consult with a host of teachers, school staffers, school board members, and other parents in order to decide what you're going to do and how and when you're going to do it. You decide without any of the bureaucratic processes.

Learning can take place anywhere, and in fact does take place everywhere. I wrote my daughter's curriculum. There's nothing to stop you from making 'school' take place in a library or other location besides home, part or all of the time. Be creative. That's one of the advantages of home school. You're not locked into a regimented schedule and lesson plan.

Read my hub on Ways to Socialize Your Child While Home Schooling. I have several hubs on the subject of home schooling and I wrote them from experience.

Lots of people have successfully home schooled their children. You can focus on the ones who didn't do so well and I can do that same thing regarding public/privately educated children that didn't come out so well -- or you can make a plan to see that doesn't happen to your home schooled child. It's really up to the parents to do a good job or not.

Nationwide, 24-26% of students graduating from high school can't read, do basic math, or read a map. Home schooled kids overall have a much better record.

Thanks again for stopping by!

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

collegedad, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub! You are correct on all points. So much of what is learned in public/private school regarding socialization is negative. Glad your own experience is working well for you. My own experience home schooling my daughter was great too, and I recommend home school to resolve a lot of problems when people are able to do it.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

leahlefler, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub! This is one of my most successful hubs, I think because people who read the book over 20 years ago wonder what became of the Colfax boys, AND because it is proof that home schooling can help children achieve amazing success just as well, if not better, than formal public/private schools.

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

Glad to see that this is continuing to be highlighted. Indeed, home education has produced some greats, but more than that, home education has produced amazing, capable, and self-motivated everyday people who work hard, play joyfully, and are active in their communities because they have not been age segregated, then educated to think "in a box" as well as socialized to the various aspects of popular culture that degrade thinking skills and teach that self-satisfaction is the ultimate goal.

All of the complaints against home-education are answerable, especially today when so many resources are available to parents and students. Some parents will do a better job "in their classrooms" than others, that's true, but the condition of public schools does not indicate that the public school classroom is a better option for our children.

As a society in general, parents have unthinkingly abdicated their responsibility to be the primary influence in their children's thinking to others (to the government is perhaps one way to put it) and are not willing to do what it would take to even explore the options, say no to a culture that is robbing our children of their childhoods, and make sure their children get the skills for adulthood that would benefit them the most.

There is a lot to the topic, but again, it's good to see it highlighted and to open up discussions. If a person simply types "home education homeschooling" in their search box the reading can be eye-opening:

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Paul Kuehn, thank you for reading, voting, and commenting on this hub! Thank you especially for sharing! Glad you found it of interest. There were lots more people I could have listed who were home schooled, but I decided to leave some space for other information . . . ;)

Please do read my other HS hubs.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W, thank you for reading, commenting, voting, and especially for sharing this hub! Home school is like any other school in that it's only as good as the instructors. It has a lot of advantages if people are able to do it.

Learning in Life profile image

Learning in Life 3 years ago from SW Florida

Great hub! Voted up and interesting. I've always wanted to home school but I'm not sure if I'm patient enough to teach an my daughter is so social. I think she would be miserable at home.

collegedad profile image

collegedad 3 years ago from The Upper Peninsula

My daughter home schools and I'm in the process of becoming a high school biology teacher. I have been given the unique opportunity to witness both sides of the coin and must say that given the right environment home schooling wins hands down. I interject environment, because many children are home schooled only to become baby sitters for their siblings. Many are also home schooled by parents who don't have the abilities and/resources needed to provide a quality education. All of that aside, the biggest misconception I find with home schooling is the "socialization" issue. My daughter summed it up well "Dad, why do they want me to be like one of those kids?" Home schooling allows you to not only educate, but also to shape who your child becomes. Socialization is important to children, but it is the quality of socialization that counts. My daughter is involved in many programs with children from all walks of life. She is so busy that we often meet ourselves coming and going. Her socialization is no longer what she is subjected to in the cafeteria. We choose who she is around and thus how they impact her development. Thanks for the great hub!

leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 3 years ago from Western New York

I love reading the follow-up - I often read books and wonder what happened with regard to the long term? The Colfax family certainly found a solution that worked amazingly well for their family!

Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand


This is a well-researched very interesting hub. I wasn't aware that so many important people in the world were home schooled. For sure I will be reading your other hubs about home schooling. Voted up and sharing.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

That is quite the impressive list of people who were home schooled! As you say...there is no limit to what home schooled children can achieve. Up, useful and interesting votes and will share. This might give other parents an incentive to try home schooling their own children.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Sharkye11, thank you for reading and commenting on my hub and for adding experience and viewpoint as a result. I home schooled my own daughter from start to finish and I really think home school is the solution to a great many problems in the public schools. Unfortunately everyone is not able to home school for various reasons, but for those who can, I think it is an advantage their children will have all of their lives.

I wrote this hub so that people would become aware that home school produces success stories just as much and perhaps better than public school. There is no limit to what home schooled children can achieve.

Sharkye11 profile image

Sharkye11 4 years ago from Oklahoma

Great hub! I was homeschooled from third grade through graduation. My sisters were homeschooled all the way, and I intend to homeschool my children.

We had just as much opportunity as publicly educated kids to go as far as we pleased. I chose to go into art, and then to be a stay-at-home mom. I have heard my share of people saying that my unwise career choice was a result of bad schooling. I just smile because I know that if I ever want to, I can go to any school and become whatever I want.

Therefore I understand Garth Colfax from your article. He doesn't have the impressive titles, but he is doing what he enjoys. That is something that is lost, I think in public education, as children are forced to decide to early what their path will be before they have even experienced life to know where their passions lie.

Thanks for spreading the positive side of homeschooling!

Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Good for you! Not everyone is able to homeschool, but when they can do it well, I think it's the best way to go. Thank you for reading and commenting, Collisa!

Collisa profile image

Collisa 4 years ago from California

Thanks for the encouraging information! I've homeschooled my three the whole way, and my oldest will be a junior this fall.



Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

mahfuz: Glad you enjoyed. Thank you for your comments!

mahfuz 4 years ago

nice to read this article....long ago home school concept was in indian subcontinent....thanx for writing such a good article.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 5 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my hug, Terry.

terry 5 years ago

A very well written article, full of well researched facts and an impressive testament that home schooling can work really well.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 5 years ago from North Texas Author

Anyone can be a homeschooler in the states of Texas and Alaska. Some states have requirements that are more stringent than others. Curriculums are available for purchase to parents who may not feel confident about writing their own as I did.

There is risk to all living people. You can stay home for fear of being hit by a truck and the roof may fall in, or you can venture out and take your chances. This is true no matter what you choose to do regarding education, employment, social activities, etc. There is always some risk in everything we do on the planet.

There is a great deal of risk that if you send your child to public school they will graduate not knowing how to read or write properly. This is sadly more common with every passing day. With education funding being cut and classrooms becoming more crowded, this situation will likely get worse.

Nacib 5 years ago

Very good article Au Fait. But I want to know more: is anyone able to become a home schooler using a guide? Is there a risk for children?

Au fait profile image

Au fait 5 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Clippy, for taking the time to read and comment on my hub.

clippy34 5 years ago

Always nice to hear a success story, pity we don't hear more of the same instead of people making the news for all the wrong reasons.

Thanks for the info, Au Fait.

LARRY 5 years ago

what a nice novel

Au fait profile image

Au fait 5 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Dave, Jeannie, Bill and Dorothy, Omran, and Alaa for taking the time to read and comment on my hub!

alaa ebrahim 5 years ago

I think the learners needs to be between teacher and learner.

These are Abikh optimal.

omran1967 5 years ago

Thank you Johnny its interesting

Bill Clark and Dorothy 5 years ago

This is definitely an alternative to public and private schools that removes the peer pressure ingredient and teaches individuals to market their particular gifts and talents as well as to prepare them for advanced studies. Home school has technology that allows them to work with special teachers and situations not available in the home setting, but exciting and challenging to those who need more than the parent(s) can provide. A very good article.

JEANNIE WATSON 5 years ago

A very interesting article it just goes to show that home educated children can just be well educated at home just the same and children at school can be.

Dave Carr 5 years ago

A very well written article with lots of references of other home learners to refer to. The article was easy to read and gave some background to the progress of the people written about.

How about some facts of your own children and their progress through life? What are their major achievements? Or are they too young to have any as yet?

I wish you well for the future in your writing. Dave

Au fait profile image

Au fait 5 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my hub, John.

John Porter 5 years ago

I liked this article because of very useful subject matter, factual, brief and to the point.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 5 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Johnny Windows for taking the time to read and comment on my hub!

jonny windows 5 years ago

Very interesting to read about the way their lives have gone. life stories are a good read

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article