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jriggins
04-19-2014, 02:35 AM
I am looking at joining HSLDA for legal matters just in case. Is this reccommended or are there other legal organizations that are available?

dbmamaz
04-19-2014, 09:20 AM
I've heard here and there of secular groups trying to start an alternative to HSLDA (which donates heavily to conservative xtian politics) but most of us dont bother. Homeschooling is legal in all the states. Just be knowledgeable and follow the law.

farrarwilliams
04-19-2014, 10:08 AM
I respect that people have to make their own decisions. Dh really wanted us to join HSLDA at first because he was nervous about government baddies. It gives some people a sense of calm about it, I suppose. However, I feel like they're beyond just strange bedfellows. They've actively done work to oppose marriage equality and some other causes that I feel strongly about that don't have any real connection to homeschooling, IMO. Plus, some local state groups have been very unhappy at their intervention when issues have arisen. HSLDA has helped rewrite legislation in some ways that have eliminated some homeschooling options in some states or reworded things such that actual homeschooling/unschooling families in those states were less than pleased. They send out these really unnecessarily alarmist notices all the time - things where it's mostly just designed to make you think the government is out to get your kids, but usually there's a lot more to the cases than they explain.

As Cara said, homeschooling is legal. Join your statewide group and most of them will also give you solid advice about homeschooling laws if you need it and support you in various ways if you're being harassed or treated unfairly based only on homeschooling. The vast majority of legal cases involving homeschooling are about divorce and HSLDA won't touch those.

Teri
04-19-2014, 10:17 AM
We have homeschooled for the last 8 years. I do not know of anyone (personally) that has encountered legal difficulties. The only issues that have come up have had to do with a divorce and not something the HSLDA typically gets involved in.
I am with Farrar. Our homeschool co-op needed some families to join so that we could get liability insurance. I couldn't do it. Their politics are so far removed from my own. They have gotten involved in things that have no connection to homeschooling and politicized events that only marginally have to do with homeschooling in the US (Romeke family).
I wouldn't bother.

panama10
04-19-2014, 10:39 AM
We are new to homeschooling and haven't joined. I signed up for the mailing list for HSLDA before we started, so I could gauge whether they were worth the money.
The emails are very "government is coming after you and your kids". Rather than wasting my money, I decided to make it a point to take advantage of homeschool day at our state capitol and interact with those who come up with the laws that affect us here.
I read the bills introduced at state level and if it's something that affects homeschoolers, I do what any citizen does and contact my representative/senator and also let other homeschoolers now.

We talked to our attendance officer (with the school district) and she said as long as we have documentation we don't need to worry. The only times she had to investigate a family it was because a neighbor complained about a family and she was obligated to go in and verify. She said they had all they needed to show they were schooling and that was that.

jriggins
04-19-2014, 01:47 PM
Thank you all so much. I am glad I asked. I didn't really want to join HSLDA because of their position on so many things. You have enlightened me once again.

popsicle1010
04-19-2014, 01:57 PM
Yes, HSLDA is Christian Religious Right. That wouldn't be my choice of where to put my money, even if they were offering a service I needed (which I don't think they are). Good luck!

Jen V
04-19-2014, 04:19 PM
So glad you asked this question jriggins. My husband and I were thinking about joining. I'd much rather put the money towards curriculum. :)

quabbin
04-19-2014, 07:25 PM
If you are in line with your state law, you shouldn't have any trouble.

In fact, if you do run into trouble, you could just join HSLDA then, right? And then if you are complying with the law, they will help. But that seems to be a pretty rare occurrence... I don't even see any current cases on their own website.

MNDad
04-20-2014, 09:07 AM
I'm told that HSLDA has white papers, curriculum guidance, and other useful items behind their paywall; but their political and religious viewpoints conflict heavily with our own.

Our state (MN) has a non-sectarian HS organization that helps families with compliance issues. I'm sure every state has something of that nature. Most important is just that you be familiar with the statutes. It can be intimidating for a non-lawyer to read the statutes; but they are really not that complicated.

From what I've seen of the HSLDA, there's a reliance on typical FUD factors (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt). Perhaps they've done more for the broader HS community than I realize...I don't know.

mamaraby
04-20-2014, 09:29 AM
Join your state inclusive organization. In my staye, everytime HSLDA has gotten involved or given its members in our state advice, they have run contrary to our organiztion's stance and have potentially put their members in violation of the lae. They've also just generally mucked things up and made more work for our state organization.

Any time our state organization members have had difficulty with a district, the state organization has been able to advise upon a simple letter writing startegy that usually nipped the problem in the bud. Sometimes I beleive the organization has even written a gentle reminder to the district of state law and gotten the, to back off.

Go local, I say. Find your state's inclsuive organization. They'll be the ones most familiar with your state's laws and will be the most he
pful should challenges arise.

dbmamaz
04-20-2014, 10:44 AM
Not all states have state-wide inclusive organizations. mine does, but its all volunteer, so it pops up where it pops up.

Teri
04-20-2014, 10:55 AM
Texas does not. Our state organization is like the HSLDA baby brother.

dbmamaz
04-20-2014, 11:14 AM
of course, you dont need much legal advice in texas, either, so there was probably not as much need for an organization?

Teri
04-20-2014, 11:26 AM
LOL True. The organization does a lot of lobbying of the state government though. An inclusive group would be nice for those issues.

panama10
04-20-2014, 01:05 PM
I don't know think the statewide organization here is all inclusive. But they were helpful when we needed to locate our state reps/ etc during homescho day. We are not members and they didn't ask either. Just directed us and encourage us to make contact with our state reps.

I'm not sure there's been a case in this state. Umm I think I'm gonna have to do some research

Keiran'sMom
04-20-2014, 01:51 PM
When we first decided to pull the boy out, the HSLDA had me believing the cops and social services would be at our door everyday demanding to be let in. I found a different group and they gave a different impression. Then when I started talking to local homeschoolers, I found that the fear they were spreading had no basis on fact. It seems that so long as you follow the law there is not much to worry about. I think they use those tactics to get you to join them. After all when the authorities are banging down your door, knowing they will be able to give you legal help so that they don't snatch your kids away and put them in foster care and public school, is a huge selling point. I have not heard of much good about them.

dbmamaz
04-20-2014, 03:40 PM
i think HSLDA started out before homeschooling was legal, but things have really changed

farrarwilliams
04-20-2014, 10:13 PM
My understanding is that HSLDA would like to claim credit for helping legalize homeschooling, but that they don't really deserve it because other groups were helping change those laws or it was already legal in the vast majority of places.