Some homeschool parents in our area have recommended that we be members of HSLDA when we start homeschooling next year. We don’t think it is necessary because we are homeschooling legally, we live in an area where there are hundreds of other homeschoolers, and our state laws are very clear. I understand that being a homeschooler might carry a slightly higher risk of having DHS or a truance officer show up on your steps, but how will being a member of HSLDA be more beneficial than calling a private lawyer? Just curious if for you guys, you find it necessary to join. If so or if not, why? Thanks.
Another option is HLA (a ministry of CLA- Christian Law Association). Their fees are low- $51/year. They give you a lawyers phone number so if you ever do have someone at your door, you can actually ask them to wait there at the door while you get your lawyer on the phone. I think that is route we will be going (being in CA).
Well, first off, even those who are homeschooling legally can end up with someone from child protective services (or whatever it might be called where you live) showing up at your door….all due to an unfounded complaint from perhaps a neighbor or relative who disagrees with homeschooling or simply dislikes how you have chosen to raise your children. If you subscribe to the HSLDA Weekly Update e-newsletter, which you can do even if you’re not a member, you’ll see reports of this happening in states across the country. You’ll also see how often the HSLDA attorneys are able to resolve the issue for their member families in a relatively timely manner.
Why not simply call a private attorney? Well, first, you would have to know for a fact that the private attorney thoroughly understands homeschooling laws in your state and is in agreement with your right to homeschool. When someone is standing at your door, demanding to come inside and/or speak with your children, you probably won’t have time to search the yellow pages and make calls to lawyers. However, a call to HSLDA will get you someone on the line who is adequately prepared to deal with the issue at hand. Their staff of attorneys has researched homeschool laws in all 50 states and has the information they need at their fingertips–it’s what they do, day in and day out.
I’m not as familiar with HLA, but if cost is an issue, their organization is probably just as willing and able to help at a lower membership cost. However, HSLDA offers a grant program to pay for membership fees of those who have a financial need and cannot afford the membership cost.
There are also other benefits HSLDA offers, such as webinars and articles on a variety of homeschooling topics, including homeschooling a special needs child (and there’s a special e-newsletter about Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner). If I were you, I would consider subscribing to their Weekly Update newsletter for awhile (easy to cancel and they won’t keep pestering you) and you can read brief articles about how they are helping homeschooling families around the country….even internationally.
Thanks I also wondered that too. So it’s good to hear why you are a member cause the cost is a bit high on a budget. Great post.
I’m MARRIED to an attorney, and we are HSLDA members. Sue is right–anything can happen, and these guys are the best–they are the experts. They also have helpful perks and services, including a high school newsletter–I’ve found the two high school services moms to be very helpful. AND it is a way of giving back to the homeschool community. We are not personally in need of legal services often–all I usually have to do is say “I’ll have my husband the attorney call and explain it to you” and everyone backs off. But there ARE homeschoolers who have problems. I like to think that the dues, while sometimes tough for us to come up with, are helping other homeschoolers. We pay monthly and feel we’ve been blessed for it.
We’ve homeschooled for 16 years, live in a very hand-off area (not so in parts of our state but here we’re very much left alone) and we’ve always belonged to HSLDA and, if at all possible, always will be. We’ve even talked of supporting their ministry when our homeschool days are over.
Yes, there ARE perks and benefits. Yes, they do offer many services outside the legal realm. But that’s not why we support them.
We are former boardmembers of our state homeschool organization. We served for 8 years and worked closely with state leaders on homeschool and family issues, often in conjunction with HSLDA. We’ve had dinner with these men. They truly have a heart for homeschooling families. I’ve seen Mike Smith weep over the persecution of families they were serving, families that had lost their children, and they were working desperately to get them back. I’ve heard them speak passionately about our God-given right to bring up our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, a right that is very strategically being taken away.
We don’t belong because we’re afraid something will happen, although it could at any time. We belong because we believe in what they’re doing.
We are a military family and move rather frequently. We are members of HSLDA for many reasons, but that was the motivating factor. It’s been so nice to email or call about a new state and have an immediate answer. Sometimes the emails will get sent back and forth for days, with new questions and concerns. They’ve always been professional, prompt and make sure I understand what I need to do and give suggestions on how to do just a little more.
I am also able to get discounts at many stores and bookstores by flashing my Membership Card. For example, Hastings (the only bookstore in town) gives me a 20% educators discount which is a tremendous blessing. Most office supply stores also offer an educator/homeschool discount (with proof).
My husband and I were wondering the same thing when we started homeschooling especially as we have a friend who is a lawyer. However, as Sue mentioned, having someone dedicated to knowing about homeschool law is great. There is a peace of mind that comes, even though I’m hoping I will never need them (nor have I ever known anyone personally who has needed them).
As far as cost goes, whether you choose to go with HSLDA or CLA as AngieG suggested, the costs really are a bargain. The costs of filing paperwork, court trials, etc. would easily go way above your membership dues. I don’t know about CLA, but I know that HSLDA offers a discount if you belong to a homeschooling group that has been given a discount number (we get it because we file through a homeschooling psp, a friend of mine got it because she had bought Sonlight and they had a group number).
Speaking of HSLDA membership discounts, the group PEAH (Parents Educating At Home) offers a group number you can use to receive a 20% discount off HSLDA membership. They also have a lot of links to in-store discounts at a variety of retailers. You can visit PEAH’s website here.
PEAH’s newsletter is free.
Also married to an attorney and HE is the one who insists that we belong, which is kinda funny to me, because while he does not specialize in homeschool law, he does do a lot of work in constitutional law including things for the Alliance Defense Fund.
Sue, I couldn’t find any info on their website about the grand program you mentioned. I used to be a member but dropped my membersihp because my husband lost his part-time job and his full-time hours were cut as well. I see where they offer discounts to members of certain groups or if you are a minister, missionary or military. Do you have a link to the info?
Yes, that’s it. You click on “Get Help” and then click on the link to the left that says “Members Helping Members.” I forgot that their scholarship program for membership fees was under the Homeschool Foundation.
Also look within your state groups. I know here in MN I belong to the group MACHE (MN ass. christian home educators) and they have on there website a spot with a discount code. So I think you can find a discount in a lot of places.
OK.. now you’ve convinced me I need to find the $ to join. LOL
Thank you Sara! I’ll take a look at it.
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