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7/24/2006 10:18:47 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Washington--Caution About Public Schools in Your Home

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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July 24, 2006

Washington--Caution About Public Schools in Your Home

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Over the past month or two you may have received information in the
mail about a new "Virtual School" starting up in your area. Many
parents have contacted us after receiving these glossy packets and
reading the information on the "free" computer, software, curriculum,
etc. that they would receive if they signed up for these programs.

Some of the larger virtual schools include the Digital Learning
Commons, InSight Virtual Academy, Washington Connection Academy, and
Washington Virtual Academy. All of these programs are public virtual
schools that receive state and federal funds when your child enrolls
in any of them.

While the programs many of these schools offer sound extremely
tempting, especially when they are "free", the "costs" of these
programs are generally not explained. The most dangerous cost is found
in the loss of freedom a family will experience as compared to a
private homeschool program.

HSLDA recommends against enrolling your children in this program for
the following reasons:

1. If you enroll full-time in any these programs, you will no longer
be considered a private homeschooler, and you will not be eligible for
membership in the Home School Legal Defense Association. Our goal at
HSLDA is to protect the right of parents to privately homeschool free
from government controls and restrictions. Online charter schools are
tax-funded, government programs with legitimate government controls
and limitations.

2. Schools like the Digital Learning Commons, InSight Virtual Academy,
Washington Connection Academy, and Washington Virtual Academy are
public schools.

If you enroll your children in the these programs to receive your free
curriculum and a laptop, your children will no longer be considered
private homeschool students, but rather public school students. This
means you waive certain parental rights and agree to homeschool
according to the public school's rules. In other states with similar
"virtual" charter school programs, HSLDA has observed that more and
more regulations are gradually placed on the enrolled homeschooling
family each year. If the family does not comply with the regulations,
the "virtual" school will demand return of the computer, curriculum,
etc. Some families who have dis-enrolled have even been turned into
the local child welfare agency. Homeschoolers who become dependent on
the "free" government equipment and funds find that their freedom is
gradually exchanged for these "freebies."

3. HSLDA is opposed to programs like the Digital Learning Commons,
InSight Virtual Academy, Washington Connection Academy, and Washington
Virtual Academy (and similar "virtual charter schools" appearing
around the country) because when parents who enroll in such programs
waive the rights that many people in the state, in this case including
Washington Association of Teaching Homes (WATCH), Christian Homeschool
Network of Washington (CHN), and Home School Legal Defense
Association, have fought hard to preserve. The government does not
offer "free goodies" without obligation.

4. Additionally, the Washington state constitution in Article 1, sec.
11 states "...No public money or property shall be appropriated for or
applied to any religious worship, exercise, or instruction, or the
support of any religious establishment...." Article 9, sec. 4 states
"All schools maintained or supported wholly or in part by the public
funds shall be forever free from sectarian control or influence."
Thus, parents who enroll their children in these virtual schools would
be prohibited from using religious materials or providing religious
instruction during normal school-time hours they must account for.
While parents could certainly use their own time and money to provide
religious instruction, enrolling your child in these public programs
will muzzle you from talking about God over much of your day.

The bottom line is that these programs are not the free, private
homeschooling that has been so successful for many years. It is simply
an attempt by the government to create small public schools in our
homes.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ON CHARTER SCHOOLS

For more information on similar programs, please read the articles on
charter schools that have recently appeared in HSLDA's "Home School
Court Report" and on our website. One of these articles is "Charter
Schools: The Price is Too High" by Christopher J. Klicka, which can be
viewed at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3184 .

Thank you for your stand for homeschool freedom in Washington. Without
your vigilance, apathy will set in and our freedoms may be lost.

If you are not yet a member of HSLDA and would like to help us fight
for greater parental rights and homeschool freedom in Washington
please visit http://www.hslda.org/join/apply.asp .

Sincerely,

Thomas Schmidt
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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-> How many acorns can a chipmunk hold in its cheeks?

We don't know! But we do know that gathering little by little
enables ordinary folks to prepare for hard times. That principle
is behind HSLDA's payment plan: by paying a month at a time,
families can receive an annual HSLDA membership. Meanwhile, they
can feel secure as they homeschool and focus on other priorities
-- their children. Don't go nuts trying to pay for membership all
at
once. Choose one of our convenient payment plans.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1937

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