The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is a nonprofit organization that was founded to help parents and families of homeschooled children. The right to homeschool is a constitutional right which is granted in Article X of the Bill of Rights. The problem lies in that, as with many laws, there are those who choose to interpret it in a way that goes against what is obvious to so many others. This is one way the HSLDA benefits homeschoolers. The HSLDA will legally advocate for its members and lawyers are available on a twenty-four-hours, seven-days-a-week basis to help with any issues or problems the family may have.
The HSLDA also works constantly to ensure implementation of state legislation that is beneficial to families that homeschool. They work to fight any potentially negative laws that could be put into place, and the organization consistently tracks any federal legislation that may affect homeschooling families. Many officers of the HSLDA speak frequently to the media about the positive experience of homeschooling, and the organization is considered to be a knowledgeable resource for media outlets to get information from. The organization promotes homeschooling in a positive light and strives to get more people to understand the benefits and positive results of homeschooling in general. Overall, their goal is to protect families that choose to homeschool and to promote it as a viable way for children to be taught.
While the HSLDA works exclusively in the U.S., they understand that other families in other countries face the same type of discrimination that many American families have faced. Although the HSLDA will not open in other countries, its counsel is frequently requested by people who are fighting their own government over the right to homeschool. Foreign people have received guidance on how to start their own homeschool defense program.
Membership for the HSLDA is currently $115 a year, with discounts being given for five-year memberships and lifetime memberships. They have different payment options available, and some people may qualify for a discount. For anyone who is unsure as to why they may need the HSLDA, they need look no farther than some of the cases they have tried on behalf of members. In some cases, other family members have complained that the children should be going to public or more traditional schools. In a case like this, the HSLDA will advocate on the side of the parents.
Other cases they have dealt with are when the local school districts try to gain more control over the homeschooling parent. This is usually done by requiring unauthorized information or requiring meetings that go against the state laws. Some school districts feel they can require information whenever they wish or are more excessive in their requests than the state warrants. Unfortunately, many of the cases the HSLDA helps with deal with overzealous school districts that believe they have more control than they really do. It is apparent that authorities often do not understand the law concerning homeschooling is in their state.
On the HSLDA website, there is an area where anyone can read about current cases they are working on as well as older cases that have been finalized. When looking at the older cases, it is plain to see that no state seems to be immune to having issue that deal with homeschooling. Reading the cases is interesting and can leave the reader with a better understanding of the variety of cases the HSLDA deals with. None of the descriptions of the cases include personal information on the people involved and only use initials to maintain privacy.
In addition to legal representation, there are other benefits to membership. There are discounts from various companies, from home and life insurance to hotels to school supplies. Online curriculums are available at a reduced rate. The HSLDA also has their own bookstore in which members can also receive a discount, featuring items like CDs on constitutional law and literacy. Many of the books featured are geared towards homeschool families and subjects homeschooling parents might find interesting. There is even a section that sells all things related to graduating, such as diplomas, cap and gown packages, and t-shirts.
Another great thing about the website is that it has a section where people can buy and sell old curriculum. Anyone can sell his or her items, but in order to buy, you must be a member. Depending on what curriculum you are looking into for your children, it may pay just to become a member for this reason alone.
The HSLDA routinely keeps their members informed of news and any pending legislation that might be passed. They also send out alerts for calls to action, so that a universal voice of homeschoolers can be heard loud and clear. These come in the way of email alerts, so that everyone is informed in a timely manner and has a chance to respond.
Two times a month, the HSLDA sends out a newsletter called the Home School Court Report. This newsletter covers any new legislation that impacts homeschoolers and other information regarding the subject of homeschooling. It is free for members, although non-members can purchase a subscription for $15 a year.
The HSLDA also has a radio program called Home School Heartbeat. Programs address current topics regarding the homeschool movement, and over 600 affiliates carry the two-minute program. In addition to the legal aspects of homeschooling, the program also covers educational and spiritual matters that members may enjoy. On the website there is an archive of past programs that goes back to 1998 for people to access. There is also a station listing for anyone to find local stations that broadcast the program.
There is a lot of information for non-members available on the HSLDA website as well. For anyone looking into homeschooling for the first time, there are links to articles that can help families to get started. There are also links for other information potential homeschoolers may require, such as curriculum programs. The site offers a calendar of events listing conventions and expositions, sorted by state.
Not only is the HSLDA a great place for information, but it also lets members keep abreast of what is happening in our country in regards to homeschooling. It is a resource for like-minded people who understand that many public schools are lacking and that homeschooling is a wonderful alternative. It is an unfortunate thing that any parent who has taken on the job of homeschooling should ever have to fight for their right to do so or even feel threatened about it. It is sad that any homeschooling family would need the services of HSLDA, but a wonderful thing they are there for those who do need them.