Wednesday, September 9, 2009

HSLDA - Do You Need Legal Assistance When Choosing to Homeschool?

The legalities of homeschooling are always a hot topic. I hear comments from people wondering if homeschooling is legal, or they want to know what the family must do to legally homeschool. When it comes to homeschooling, all of a sudden we have a bunch of worried law-abiding citizens putting their noses into our educational choices. But whether or not you should consider legal "back-up," so to speak, is important.

The Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is notorious for backing homeschoolers and giving them legal support when social workers or truant officers come knocking on the door. Their support isn't free, but it's a heck of a lot cheaper than having to hire an attorney and go to court to prove you are educating your child. You may be asking, "Why does this concern me? I'm only homeschooling a preschooler." Well preschool is the time to decide if you feel that joining HSLDA is beneficial for your family.

I have never been an official member of HSLDA. I did take advantage of a free trial membership a few years ago, but chose not to continue with the paid membership. The reasons I chose not to join included:

1) My family was supportive of our decision to homeschool.
2) Missouri has lenient homeschooling laws, and as long as I could show documentation of hours, I was fine.
3) My little town has its fair share of homeschoolers, so I did not feel alienated by choosing to homeschool.
4) I educated myself thoroughly on the homeschooling laws in Missouri, along with my rights as a parent, so I wouldn't be bullied by a social worker or truant officer.

While I can't tell you whether or not you should join HSLDA or another support group, I would consider myself in need of legal backup if:

1) My family was not supportive and made comments about reporting me to social services.
2) The school district seemed opposed to homeschooling and demanded measures beyond the law.
3) I lived in an area with very little homeschoolers, and felt that my neighbors may report me for child neglect.
4) I did not understand the homeschooling laws of my state, and whether or not I was meeting the basic requirements to homeschool.

Those are just some points to ponder as you continue your homeschooling journey. You can click on the blog title to visit the HSLDA site. Happy homeschooling!


  1. Thanks for posting about this. Had I not recently read about HSLDA I would not have known it exists until now. I like your approach to whether or not it is necessary.

  2. Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, but some states make it easier to homeschool your children than others. For example, Idaho and Texas place very few restrictions on parents who elect to homeschool their children. Other states such as Massachusetts and New York are more heavily synchronized. These states need that the curriculum used in the homeschooling setting must be approved by the state.