Across the States
A Frequently Asked Question
By the time you receive this issue of the Court Report, our legal department will be receiving calls from Home School Legal Defense Association members trying to decide if they should file their own private school affidavit (R4) or join a private school independent study program (ISP). Because some families are comfortable being identified as a “homeschooler,” while others prefer that their homeschool remains anonymous, HSLDA usually advises each family individually on this matter.
Filing your own affidavit brings several advantages: the ability to homeschool independently without oversight or reporting requirements by the ISP, no mandatory testing, and no cost to file your own R4. A perceived disadvantage is that when you file an R4, even though you do not report names of students, your low enrollment makes it obvious that your private school is a homeschool. This does not necessarily mean that you can expect a knock at your door, but filing an R4 does identify your private school as a homeschool. (To review instructions for filing a private school affidavit, please go to www.hslda.org/CA.)
When you join an ISP, the ISP administration files the affidavit for all members of that ISP, including your children. Depending on the ISP in which you enroll, you may have a built-in support group that offers co-op classes and arranges field trips and other group activities. Be aware that you may also be required to turn in progress reports and issue report cards, and that your children may be required to participate in annual standardized testing. For new homeschoolers who need curriculum and substantial homeschool support, these groups can be very helpful.
HSLDA does not have a preference as to which method you use to homeschool. Our desire is that each member family weighs the pros and cons of their options and selects what works best for them. Please call our legal department if you need assistance.
— by J. Michael Smith