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Homeschooling:  General Legal and Political information


On This Page
Legal resources concerning homeschooling
National homeschool politics
State Control of Education
Legislative activities concerning homeschooling (chronologically from the most recent)



Legal resources concerning homeschooling

  • Association of HomeSchool Attorneys (AHSA)
    "This list is an opportunity for homeschoolers to contact homeschooling attorneys and experts about homeschooling legal and litigation issues. It is an informal network of attorneys and legal experts that are concerned with litigation pending and threatened against homeschoolers. Its primary purpose is to exchange legal information within the profession, and to educate and support attorneys and experts involved in homeschool litigation."

  • Association of Home School Attorneys-Custody Discussion Group
    "This list is an opportunity for homeschoolers involved in custody issues to contact other homeschoolers for information about homeschooling attorneys and experts, as well as exchange ideas and information about handling custody disputes as a result of homeschooling."

  • National Home Education Legal Defense (NHELD)
        NHELD bulletins

       Do You Know What Law Enables You To Homeschool? by Deborah Stevenson,            
        attorney, NHELD

  • A to Z Home's Cool Legal Page

  • Information on HSLDA, a membership organization that often concerns itself with issues other than homeschooling
        from A to Z Home's Cool:
        Home School Legal Defense Association and Foundation Consumer Information

       More Information About Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)
       NHEN page on The HSLDA Question

  • Taking Charge Through Home Schooling: Personal and Political Empowerment
    Table of contents

    Pt I Beginning Home Schooling
    Deciding to Home School
    Goals and Curriculums
    Special Circumstances

    Pt. II Learning Every Day
    Alternative Approaches to Learning
    Evaluating Learning and Keeping Records
    Strengthening Your Home School
    Participating in a Support Group
    High School and After

    Pt. III The Role of Home Schooling in American Education
    Political Reality and Political Action
    Challenges Facing Home Schoolers

    Pt. IV Winning Support for Home Schooling
    Political Empowerment of Home Schoolers
    Learning about the Politics of Education
    Options for Changing Educational Policy
    Grassroots Home Schooling Organizations
    Common Questions about Home Schooling
    Finding Allies
    Working with the Media
    Research on Home Schooling
    Working on the National Level

    Part V
    Countering Restrictive Laws
    Reading and Interpreting Laws Yourself
    Working with the Legislature
    Home Schooling without a Home Schooling Law
    Arguments that Support Reasonable Home Schooling laws
    Other Laws

    Part VI Making the Best of Current Law
    Responding to Public Officials
    Working with Public Schools


    Appendix A: Resources
    B: Bibliography



National homeschool politics

  • National Outreach
       Checklist for Effective State Homeschooling Associations
        National Home Education Network Unity and Diversity Among Homeschoolers
        Puzzled About Politics
        What is the National Home Education Network?


State Control of Education

Executive Summary

America has two strong, yet conflicting, educational traditions. One is our tradition of educational freedom, and the other is a strong, though shorter, tradition of state-controlled schooling.

In the wake of the Supreme Court's historic decision in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris upholding school choice programs, more and more families are questioning whether state control over educational decisions is really best. Decades of public school failure in our inner cities have contributed to the recent increase in sentiment against standard state solutions to social problems, and the success of school choice programs in Milwaukee and elsewhere has challenged the conventional wisdom that families with low incomes cannot or will not make good choices for their own children.

In this paper we examine the American tradition of educational freedom, following its ebb and flow at various points in our history. America's ethos of educational freedom has always been strong, tied to our values of pluralism, tolerance, and free inquiry. But our legacy of freedom has suffered repeated assaults by individuals and groups who wish to use state control over schooling to homogenize American culture.

We then examine recent victories for educational freedom, such as the historic Supreme Court decision upholding school choice and the introduction of new school choice programs around the country. Finally, we outline the most critical additional freedoms that parents and families need in the areas of school choice, private school freedom, homeschooling, and religious neutrality.

Recent victories for educational freedom are encouraging but only a beginning. School choice is legal, but it is not widespread, and opponents of educational freedom are threatening to smother existing private schools in a morass of new regulations, which would dictate everything from curriculum to staffing.

Supporters of educational freedom must not win legal battles while losing the public policy war. An educational freedom agenda including choice for all families, religious neutrality, freedom for private schools, and protection for homeschooling families will ensure that educational freedom provides real benefits to families who are harmed by current policies.



Legislative activities concerning homeschooling

After I began blogging, legislative updating of this site decreased.  For up-to-date legal reports, see the Home Education Magazine News and Commentary blog.

September 2004

  • Association of Home School Attorneys-Custody Discussion Group
    "This list is an opportunity for homeschoolers involved in custody issues to contact other homeschoolers for information about homeschooling attorneys and experts, as well as exchange ideas and information about handling custody disputes as a result of homeschooling."
  • How much to comply?  An archived discussion at the NHEN message boards
  • Subsidiarity:  a concept taken from Roman Catholic social teaching that fits with the sovereign action of parents homeschooling their children
    ". . . government should undertake only those initiatives which exceed the capacities of individuals or private groups acting independently."
  • Ivan Illich's "radical monopoly"
    "Beyond some point, compulsory schooling destroys the environment for learning, medical delivery systems dry up the nontherapeutic sources of health, and transportation smothers traffic."

August 2004

Between February and August 2004 (too many pages, too little concentration)

  • 12 - 16 April American Educational Research Association - 2004 Annual Meeting, San Diego, audio transcript: 
    Educational Choice versus Civic Responsibility:  Are Home Schoolers Embracing Their Responsibilities or Fleeing from Them? (loads slowly; item # SKU 710 -- scroll down)

  • Through the Lens of Homeschooling: A Response to Michael Apple and Rob Reich is published by Nicky Hardenbergh of the Massachusetts Home Learning Association.
    Links to information and discussion about a debate titled Educational Choice vs. Civic Responsibility: Are Home Schoolers Embracing Their Responsibilities or Fleeing from Them?  between Dr. Michael Apple (University of Wisconsin) Rob Reich (Stanford University), Scott Somerville (HSLDA) and Brian Ray (NHERI) was published on this site in February.

  • ILLINOIS:  Illinois State University, School Law Quarterly, Vol. 20, #1
    Legal Implications of Home School Instruction in Illinois, article begins on page 3

    Conclusion: Where Do We Go From Here?
    The State of Illinois has the constitutional authority to enact statutory law regulating home school instruction. Illinois is one of the few that have absolutely no regulation of this growing, alternative form of education. Regulations in other states include standardized tests, in-home visits, parent (teacher) certification, notice of intent to home school, and daily record keeping. Nonetheless, until some clear guidelines are established, Illinois school districts will continue to struggle with legal issues posed by home school instruction.

  • LOUISIANA:  House Bill NO. 1238 (PDF):  Student/Home Study: Specifies classification to be used by the state Dept. of Education for students in certain home study programs. 
    "G. Notwithstanding any policy, rule, or regulation of the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education or any practice of the state Department of Education to the contrary, any student who meets all applicable requirements of state law governing a student's school attendance from the student's seventh birthday until his eighteenth birthday and who is receiving educational services in a home study program other than as provided by this Section shall be classified by the state Department of Education as being in an "In Home Private School".
    Commentary at the Louisiana Home Education Network (LAHEN) website.
    "This proposed language has the potential for restricting the educational freedom of home educators because it opens the door to classifying private school homeschoolers as not simply a private school, but a category of home-study. It will be more difficult to retain our freedoms if we allow the DOE to categorize us as other than simply a private school."

  • National Home Education Legal Defense (NHELD) bulletin menu

  • MARYLAND:  Senate Bill 345 Truancy Intervention discussion

  • MICHIGAN:  2 Mar 04:  Concerning a suit alleging religious discrimination because homeschooled children were not allowed to participate on a school sport team, the Michigan Court of Appeals (Acrobat PDF) stated, "the statutes at issue do not require defendants to allow non-enrolled students to take part in the athletic programs and because we find no religious discrimination or equal protection violation, we affirm the trial court’s dismissal."  Michigan comment is courtesy of the No Name Newsletter.  Other discussion concerning the finding is at the NHEN message boards.

  • VIRGINIA:  8 Mar 04, The Virginia Pilot, Home-schooled children deserve high standards shows a backlash against the legislation originally known as HB 675
    Countering the opinion in The Virginia Pilot that, "Simply giving birth isn’t qualification enough" is a study by Jay P. Greene of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research showing, though, that greater educational freedom (a comparison of South Carolina and Texas -- click link on page) does not result in lowered test scores for homeschoolers, "Many factors undoubtedly contribute to these differences in test scores, but Texas may have significantly higher test scores than South Carolina in large part because it offers greater education freedom."  The Wall Street Journal observed in an article on the study, "After controlling for demographics, spending and other input variables, we find that a state's higher ranking on the index is associated with stronger performance on both the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the SAT."

  • TENNESSEE:  HB2163 (Extends public school testing requirements to students in non-public schools) withdrawn.  Discussion at NHEN message boards

  • KENTUCKY: HB 610 (An act relating to voluntary certification of home schools).  Discussion at NHEN message boards.

February 2004


January 2004



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The Military Homeschooler is a private web site and is not affiliated with the US government or the DoD.  The opinions stated on the site are those of the site owner and the content is provided for information only. The Military Homeschooler  contains links to other Web sites. These other sites are not under the control of The Military Homeschooler and The Military Homeschooler is not responsible for the contents of any other site. The Military Homeschooler  provides the links only as a convenience to this site's readers, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement by The Military Homeschooler of the site.   You are responsible for your own viewing and any dealings with other sites.

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This site was last updated:  Wednesday, 10 March 2010