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rosesandcreme
06-14-2010, 03:21 PM
How many of you are members of the Home School Legal Defense Association, or something similar? I live in a state that is very easy on homeschoolers, but we travel a lot and may not always live here, and I'm just wondering how much of an issue it is legally. I have read a lot of stories, both on this board and on others - but don't know how rare or common those cases are. Opinions?

dbmamaz
06-14-2010, 03:27 PM
Well, I can share what I think is the most coherent opinion piece about HSLDA. I will never join them. This article is written by unitarian universalists - which is a church which is not christain, but allows people of any faith or creed or level of belief or non-belief to find a home with like-minded individuals.

http://www.uuhomeschool.org/pub-040217-01.php3

rosesandcreme
06-14-2010, 03:36 PM
Wow! Thanks a lot for the eye opening read. :) Definitely don't feel comfortable being a part of an organization that opposes gay marriage. So how does everyone deal with any legal problems that arise? Are there a lot of attorneys out there that will take on homeschool issues?

Shoe
06-14-2010, 03:48 PM
I'm a member of HSLDA. I joined as I was worried about possible legal issues from pulling my son out of school in New Hampshire, where there is a determined set of legislators who are very hostile to homeschooling. It turns out that so far, no legal issues have resulted.

That was an interesting article that Cara posted-I wasn't aware of a lot of the information presented (though I did know that HSLDA is a conservative Christian organization and didn't deal with homeschooling issues involving custody cases).

I'm not aware of other organizations that do anything similar and offer some legal services as part of there mandate-that's not to say there aren't any, just that I'm not aware of them.( If other posters here know of alternatives, please post so I can have some choices). As long as the hostility remains in New Hampshire, I want some kind of legal protection (call me paranoid, if you like).

MamaB2C
06-14-2010, 03:48 PM
From my research, I have come to believe that HSLDA makes it seem that legal problems are much more likely than they actually are...nothing keeps membership money flowing like fear ;)

There is no reason to fear and insure yourself against legal issues if you thoroughly familiarize yourself with the state laws and requirements, and follow them. If something comes up, then you can seek legal advice if you are unable to handle it yourself, but I seriously do not believe problems are that prevalent.

Shoe
06-14-2010, 03:53 PM
From my research, I have come to believe that HSLDA makes it seem that legal problems are much more likely than they actually are...nothing keeps membership money flowing like fear ;)

There is no reason to fear and insure yourself against legal issues if you thoroughly familiarize yourself with the state laws and requirements, and follow them. If something comes up, then you can seek legal advice if you are unable to handle it yourself, but I seriously do not believe problems are that prevalent.Hopefully you're right, but there are certainly attempts in NH for the Board of Education to make regulations that go far beyond the authority given to it in NH Statutes, and a very vocal anti-homeschooling lobby in the State Legislature (though fortunately, homeschoolers have been successful in defeating one after another of the attempts to drastically increase regulation and rules in this state over the past few years).

Legal advice and representation can be important when the BofE's interpretation of homeschooling law varies from the parents' opinion. I hope I'll never need it, but my fear doesn't come from HSLDA but rather from several proposed bills against homeschooling that have been introduced in the state house.

dbmamaz
06-14-2010, 04:16 PM
From what I have come to understand, MOST states (maybe not nh) have gotten really used to home schoolers. In the 'old days' - 10, 20 years ago - homeschooling was technically illegal in many places and home schooled kids were not allowed out during the day for fear of being 'turned in.' I didnt pay attention much before I started homeschooling, but all the issues I've seen in the past year involved either people who were blatently refusing to comply with the home school laws (ie, not handing in the proper paperwork), or people who were involved in custody battles. I can see unschoolers wanting to fight for thier right to not have to jump through hoops, but afaik, hslda is not willing to represent those sorts of homeschoolers.

"roses" (i'd love you to include a name in signature, btw), what kind of legal issues have you hear about? Are you involved in a custody battle? Or maybe specail ed issues, I could imagine that being an issue.

StartingOver
06-14-2010, 04:24 PM
In all my years of homeschooling, I have never needed legal advice. But having said that, I have chosen to live in states that are very homeschool friendly. Alaska, Montana, & Texas. If I did live in a state that was less friendly, I might join just to cover my own bootie ! Of course I have no plans to move to any state that doesn't totally support my choice. If homeschooling was to suddenly become illegal, I would be the first one underground !!

I have been doing it my way to long to change now !

MamaB2C
06-14-2010, 04:27 PM
Perhaps it's due to my personal experiences, but I am comfortable dealing with bureaucrats and the legal system.

I have represented myself in court on non-homeschooling related matters, fought (and won) serious disputes with my mortgage company , the credit bureaus, and my state's department of revenue, as well as was told that I had taken my newborn son across state lines illegally (before you think I am a kidnapper, it was an interstate adoption paperwork problem, and we had a court order allowing us to leave!). The DofE seems tame to some of the organizations I have come up against.

My state's homeschool laws aren't cut and dried, but for the most part they are hands off. I have only heard of occasional problems, usually with the local school board.

Other states may well have circumstances under which legal insurance is desirable, however. Seems to me any pre-paid legal type option would work, and has the added bonus of not being specific to homeschooling issues

There are alternatives to HSLDA
http://www.nheld.com/
http://hsislegal.com/

rosesandcreme
06-14-2010, 05:25 PM
Most of the issues I've heard about have been in states that are not my own, thankfully, and of course, back 10, 20 years ago, or with people who also have strong religious/lifestyle conventions that seperate them from the norm, and have singled them out for being bothered. I'm not too worried about it, but when hearing about states like NH, that start introducing bills, it makes me wonder if America is becoming more tolerant, or less.

hockeymom
06-14-2010, 05:42 PM
I personally won't join. I won't give money to an organization that fights so hard against things I adamantly believe in (gay marriage rights, etc). I doubt they'd have use for someone (so liberal) like me anyway. :)

Shoe
06-14-2010, 08:23 PM
There are alternatives to HSLDA
http://www.nheld.com/
http://hsislegal.com/

Thanks for those links...I'll look into them. Right now, I feel the need to have some kind of legal protection (even though I go beyond our state's requirements) but it's always good to have choices as to exactly what form that takes. When I started in October, HSLDA was the only one I knew about.

jessicalb
06-14-2010, 10:31 PM
We won't join HSLDA. The chances of being challenged on homeschooling in Arizona are pretty nil. We're very HS friendly here. If I run into legal problems it will be a custody issue and HSLDA doesn't give a crap about single parent homeschool issues, so, the money would be wasted.

dottieanna29
06-15-2010, 09:22 AM
I live in a state where its highly unlikely to have problems (NJ). On some of my local boards they have actually given examples of when HSLDA has actually caused problems. The legislate for what they call "protections" for homeschoolers, when there was no issues to begin with and end up with things being more highly legislated. Then they respond with "see, we convinced them to define homeschooling and say you can do this, this and this" when noone was stopping you from doing all that and more before.

The alternate recommendations I see most often is to find a local group. Most states have a local organization that can help you find homeschool friendly lawyers if you need assistance. HSLDA doesn't have lawyers in all states and if you have trouble while living in one of those states, they basically are going to tell you to contact a local lawyer- very helpful. They also will not help anyone who is unschooling or, in some cases, eclectically schooling. They want you to be using a "school-in-a-box" program. This may make it easier if something does go to court since they can just say - Look, they are doing almost the same thing they'd be doing in school. All this is besides their heavily conservative, religious political stance - getting involved in things that have absolutely nothing to do with homeschooling. They support homeschooling (and run a very Fundamentalist Christian University - can't think of the name right now but I think its in one of hte other links listed) partially because they see it as a way to raise up a generation of students who believe the way they do and will fight to change the world into one that follows their beliefs.

Scary, IMO.

Melyssa
06-15-2010, 07:50 PM
I would never join either for the same reasons others have stated. Luckily both states we've lived in have very liberal homeschooling laws so I don't worry about those things at all.

firefly
06-16-2010, 06:44 PM
I belonged to HSLDA for yrs. & they are scary religious. Like the day after putting my kids in ps the State contacted me - wanting me to bring my records to Raleigh for inspection. They then received my letter informing them my school had closed so it was a non-issue. But, although all my stuff was in order, I would not have wanted to respond to them w/out legal representation.

I agree that they create some (maybe a lot of) drama to compel you to purchase their service. Since I've never tested their service, I don't know how good it is. However, I do believe you having them represent you offers a moment of pause for over zealous school districts & most states just want to avoid all the political ugliness of anything that might offend the religious h/sing right.

For me it was a case of a "secular" wolf hiding out in wooly HSLDA's clothing! This time I already have Prepaid Legal Services & hope to check out all other alternatives.

elkhollow
06-19-2010, 10:26 PM
I belonged to HSLDA two years ago, our first "official" homeschooling year. I was nervous about the legal issues and wanted the peace of mind. I have not renewed because we live in a homeschool friendly state and I feel comfortable with my knowledge of the laws here. Our governor has been very public with his support for homeschooling and there just don't seem to be many issues here. (I think read somewhere that Florida has more homeschoolers than any other state, but I could be mistaken). Now that I think about it, technically we're not even homeschoolers since we use our state's cover school option. I have to say, though, if we lived in a hostile state I would have to consider renewing my membership, even though I have serious reservations about their agenda.