Legalities (September 22, 2020)

Hello there. Today I want to talk about the legalities of homeschooling. Each state has their own requirements for what is/is not required to legally homeschool your child, and some of the laws can be very confusing.

I have been reading a lot of stories about families being told they have to do things that are above and beyond the current homeschool law. This leaves parents, especially those who are new to homeschooling and are already feeling overwhelmed, complying with things not legally required. Some stories I have heard, the districts are making the families jump through so many hoops it would cause the most prepared family to throw in the towel and send their child to the public schools and that is not okay. If a family has chosen to homeschool, they should be allowed to exercise that freedom and be afforded the protections out there.

I can’t sit here and go through each state law because I just don’t have the experience to do that. I homeschooled for 17 years in PA. I walked this road as well. In the early years, my district was “requiring” me to fill out a huge packet of information, things I didn’t know at the time weren’t required by the law. I was young, didn’t know anyone who homeschooled, and the internet was not as readily available. So, I filled them out until I found and joined a local support group. Then I was able to go back to my school district and ensure they were doing it the right way.

I’m not saying school districts are evil and are out to get homeschoolers. By and large, I don’t believe that is the case. My experience has been that often times, the district administrators who are put in charge of handling homeschoolers don’t always have a full understanding of the law either. Often times, all it takes is a phone call and a polite conversation to point out the law and what is or is not required.

But, what happens if the parents don’t understand the law or they get a threatening letter from the district. That is a scary situation and I’ve been there too. Fortunately, there is an organization: Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) that is there to help. This group has been a lifesaver for myself and many other homeschoolers over the years.

The HSLDA is a group of attorneys, each state has representation, who will step in and help when family is having issues with their local districts. There is a membership fee of $130 a year (paid in full) or $12 a month. They do offer discounts for certain groups. If you need financial help, you can email them, scholarships are available. Once you are a member, there is no fee for asking them to step in on your behalf.

Membership in their organization offers many other benefits including educational consulting, curriculum resources, discounts on live high school lessons, and lists of ways to connect with other homeschooling families. Throughout my years of homeschooling, this money was the money most well spent. It not only opened up many resources, it gave me piece of mind that I had protection in case of legal issues. You can check them out at http://www.hslda.org

Hope you have a great week and I would love to hear from you!

~Tara


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