Questions Frequently Asked of HSLDA
What is the Home School Legal Defense Association?
HSLDA is a non-profit membership organization of families who home school their children nationwide. HSLDA is organized as a 501(c)(4) non-profit, tax-exempt organization under the rules of the IRS.
The National Center for Home Education is a division of HSLDA.
What is the mission of HSLDA?
To preserve and advance the fundamental, God-given, constitutional right of parents and others legally responsible for their children to direct their education. In so doing, we rely on two fundamental freedomsparental rights and religious freedom. We advocate for these freedoms in the courtrooms, before government officials, and in the public arena. Additionally, we assist other educational organizations in similar activities, where possible and appropriate.
HSLDAs Board of Directors also operates the Home School Legal Defense Foundationa non-profit, tax-exempt organization which supports HSLDA, other like-minded organizations, and special programs such as the Widows Curriculum Scholarship Fund.
What is the mission of the National Center for Home Education?
The mission of the National Center for Home Education is to serve the home schooling community, state home school leaders, and HSLDA members by:
- Monitoring all federal and international efforts to control home school freedom, parental rights, religious and family freedom;
- Building and maintaining a nationwide grassroots system to quickly defend these freedoms;
- Communicating with legislators and regulators to protect these freedoms;
- Alerting state home school leaders, HSLDA members, and other interested parties to federal threats against home school freedom and to relevant home school issues and research;
- Hosting an annual conference and periodic legislative briefings for state leaders;
- Hosting requested seminars to encourage support groups and provide support group leaders with tools and information to better serve their home school community;
- Commissioning and serving as a clearinghouse for major home school research; and
- Serving as a resource to the media.
Is HSLDA a Christian organization?
Yes. However, HSLDAs mission is to protect the freedom of all home schoolers. Although our officers and directors are Christians, HSLDA membership is open to all home schoolers. We trust and respect parents to make the right choices for the upbringing of their children. We have no agenda to make all public and home-based classrooms religious or conservative. Our primary objective is to preserve the fundamental right of parents to choose home education free from over-zealous government officials and intrusive laws. We do put on a national conference annually and invite boards of state organizations with whom we have had relationships for many years. Most, if not all of those organizations have Christian leaders, but many serve all home schoolers regardless of religious affiliation, as we do.
What is HSLDAs position on home school students use of special education and related services benefits through the public school?
Special education refers to instruction or assistance in traditional academic areas such as math, language arts, etc. Related services, on the other hand, are aids to a childlike speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. These services indirectly increase a child's ability to learn, but are separate from the traditional academic curricula. HSLDA believes the parent whose child receives related services at the public school is still a home educator.
HSLDA will assist home school families seeking related services that have been denied because of home schooling. We view this as a basic fairness issue in that home school students in private school states are entitled to related services according to the U.S. Department of Education, but those in home school states are not. HSLDA will not assist home school students to obtain access to special education in the public school.
What is HSLDAs relationship with Patrick Henry College?
In 1997, the HSLDA Board of Directors approved the concept of assisting the foundation of a self-supporting college that would emphasize the apprenticeship model of education, which has proven so successful in the home school movement. Patrick Henry College is the culmination of that decision.
Patrick Henry College opened its doors on September 1, 2000. The PHC Board of Directors and the operation of the college are totally separate from HSLDA. On July 1, 2000, Michael Farris resigned his position as president of HSLDA to become president of Patrick Henry College. However, he is still a part-time HSLDA employee, serving as our General Counsel and directing our litigation and federal legislation efforts. The college rents space from HSLDA in our new office building.