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No. 3

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by Jeremiah Lorrig
- disclaimer -
HSLDA Helps the U.S. Navy

A few months ago our office received a call from a Home School Legal Defense Association member family in a sunny southern state. It started out as a typical call for help. “My son is trying to enlist in the Navy; however, the recruiter is asking for a lot of information. Is this alright?” I started giving the standard answer to this common question and told the father what recruiters are required to ask for and what documentation is needed. He was taking notes.



The call, however, did not stay normal for long. The dutiful father said that the Navy recruiter was asking for far more information than I had indicated was needed. In fact, as the father explained it on the phone, I realized that this particular recruiter was sounding like one of the school officials from stories that the late HSLDA Senior Counsel Christopher Klicka used to tell. The recruiter asked prying questions. He asked for the title of each textbook used in the student’s education. He asked where the school materials were obtained. He even asked, “Were other assets utilized, such as college classes, a tutor, internet?”

Did you use the internet? What kind of question is that? I was amazed. In all my years of helping homeschooled students with military enlistment issues, I had never seen anything like this. Although I tend to be a rather even-keeled person, I was indignant. The father provided contact information for the person who had given him the form with these prying questions, and I was on the warpath.

I am not telling you the location of this particular incident for the same reason I am not going to give you the real name of the gentleman I called. I want to protect the identity of the official who was the object of my righteous indignation. Let’s call this Navy representative “Marvin.”

So, Marvin answered the phone. He told me he was on his way to visit a high school, driving down “State Road 13, a two-lane, tree-lined road that parallels the river. The type of travel that makes you feel good to be alive.” Needless to say, Marvin took me off my guard and my war paint faded. He was in his 70s and had been doing this job forever. He told me repeatedly that he was a strong supporter of homeschooling and that he knew his form was old, but he hadn’t gotten around to updating it.

I looked down at the form he wanted homeschoolers to fill out, and the pieces of this puzzle fell into place. Marvin had written this form in the 1980s and had been meaning to update it for at least 20 years. I don’t know what it was, but the spirit of Christmas must have hit me early (or late), and when I opened my mouth, out came a generous offer to rewrite the form for him. Marvin was excited—you could even say enthusiastic. He loved the idea. He even whispered that if HSLDA helped him, he would get credit for doing such a great job.

When I hung up the phone, I could not control the smile on my face. “Jason!” I called to my intern. “It looks like I’ll be writing a form the Navy will be using for homeschoolers.” Jason, of course, asked to hear the whole story. I obliged and then gave Jason the assignment of converting the scanned form into a word processing document I could work with on my computer.

With the help of HSLDA’s legal department, we created a homeschool-friendly, legally sound, and greatly simplified form that is now in use by Navy recruiters in that region. HSLDA was able to help this member family and make it possible for other homeschool recruits to use a friendly form, and Marvin gets the credit for bringing his office out of the dark ages. All in a day’s work at HSLDA.

If your son or daughter is having trouble enlisting in the U.S. Armed Forces, please contact HSLDA’s federal relations department at 540-338-5600 or federalrelations@hslda.org.

About the author

Jeremiah Lorrig is deputy director of the HSLDA Federal Relations Department.