The Home School Court Report
No. 3

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Helping New Homeschoolers Start on the Right Foot

Midwinter to early spring is an especially busy time at Home School Legal Defense Association, with many families deciding to start homeschooling and join HSLDA midway through the school year.

Often these parents have arrived at this decision after spending months wrestling with public school officials over issues like truancy (usually related to medical problems) or the school’s failure to meet the needs of children with special needs or learning disabilities. Families who pull their children out of public school in desperation may not be sure where to turn for advice on how to legally pursue alternatives to the public school. As a result, the problems are compounded by the child’s subsequent absence from school and failure to be properly exempted from public school attendance by attending a homeschool/private school. Sometimes social services gets involved, and frequently families contact us just days before they are due in court.

In most instances, once a family gets the proper legal guidance from our attorneys in order to be in compliance with the law, truancy issues can be resolved. HSLDA is currently working with several families in Riverside, Los Angeles, and Orange counties to resolve some rather serious and complicated legal issues.

If you know families who are struggling with the public school, it’s absolutely critical that they understand the process for pulling out of public school and complying with the attendance exemptions by either filing a private school affidavit or enrolling in a private school satellite program. This will prevent them from adding additional legal troubles to their situation.

Even though homeschooling is in the news all the time, families who have never before contemplated homeschooling their own children have no idea where to turn for help and guidance, and most certainly are unaware that there is an advocacy group out there that can help them. HSLDA wants to advance homeschool freedom for everyone and help beginners get started on the right path. Help us get the word out that new homeschoolers don’t have to do this alone!

—by J. Michael Smith