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Thomas J. (Tj) Schmidt

Staff Attorney

Tj is an attorney and homeschooling dad dedicated to defending the rights of homeschooling families across the country.

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Why You Want Tj for Your Event

  • Tj’s job as an attorney representing HSLDA members in 10 states gives him firsthand experience with the problems and difficulties that homeschooling families face.
  • Tj received his juris doctorate from Oak Brook College of Law and is a licensed attorney in California.
  • He was homeschooled from the second grade through high school.
  • Tj and his wife homeschool their seven children.
TRAVELS FROMWashington, D.C.
HONORARIUMTj requests that the host cover travel and lodging expenses, with a negotiable honorarium. Tj is also willing to speak remotely via Skype or video platforms for smaller events.

Sessions by Thomas J. (Tj) Schmidt

In this workshop, Tj discusses current legal problems homeschooling families encounter in your state and what HSLDA has done to protect homeschooling within your state. The workshop also looks at national homeschool issues and how HSLDA is addressing them. BOOK THIS SESSION
30–45 minutes
With the goal of challenging Christian homeschooling families to become more involved in government and politics, Tj explains what Generation Joshua is and outlines the exciting opportunities it offers to young people and their families. He shares Generation Joshua’s vision to create an educational foundation in government and civics for homeschool students and to provide unique opportunities for homeschoolers to make a positive impact on our nation’s political landscape. BOOK THIS SESSION
30 minutes
In this session, Tj explains your rights and provides general information on how to handle social services investigations, school officials at your door, or police welfare checks, social services contacts, and interaction with school officials. Tj shares stories and examples from his experience of over 15 years with HSLDA. This session helps prepare homeschooling families to deal with questions about their homeschool program and with anonymous tips / false reports. BOOK THIS SESSION
45–60 minutes
In this session, Tj shares his story as a homeschool graduate, starting with his family’s early decision to begin homeschooling in the mid 80’s and moving through the high school years and beyond. Tj traces God’s direction and provision through it all. BOOK THIS SESSION
45–60 minutes
In this session, Tj explains how you can homeschool your child with special educational needs all the way through graduation! He also discusses how to know when a certification of completion may be more appropriate than a diploma, how to prepare transcripts for your special needs child, and how to get accommodations for the SAT or ACT. This session also touches on dealing with discrimination that a child with special needs might encounter. Finally, Tj looks briefly at Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Disability benefits and times when you may want to pursue guardianship or conservatorship. BOOK THIS SESSION
45–60 minutes
This workshop covers everything you need to know about your legal rights when homeschooling a child with a special educational need. Tj discusses your right to homeschool and highlights any reporting requirements across the country that are unique for families of children with special needs. This workshop also covers your right to seek an evaluation from the public school of your child’s needs as well as your right to decline a school’s individualized education plan (IEP) for your child. Tj shares information for parents who live in states where homeschool students are eligible for special education services and talks about the pros and cons of seeking these services through the public school. To ensure that your specific issue or question is addressed, this workshop has plenty of time for your questions. BOOK THIS SESSION
45–60 minutes
In this workshop, Tj shares the personal journey that he and his wife took to marriage. The discussion will focus on the support the family can provide in this journey by way of personal testimony and observations. While Tj and Susan took more of a courtship path to marriage, this workshop does not elevate courtship over dating or other potential paths to marriage. BOOK THIS SESSION
30–60 minutes

Biography

Tj was first taught at home in the second grade by his parents in northern Vermont, and he was homeschooled nearly every year after that until he graduated. For much of that time, his family lived in foreign mission fields. Tj earned his juris doctorate from Oak Brook College of Law while serving as a legal assistant at HSLDA. Now, as an HSLDA Staff Attorney, Tj answers general legal questions and assists members across the country experiencing legal difficulties.

Tj and his wife, Susan, have seven children: Josiah, Suzanna, Ella, Makenna, Jonah, Annika, and Ezra. They look forward to teaching all of their children at home.
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Overwhelmed? Want help choosing?

Tell us a few details and we can help you pick the best speaker for your event. — Chloe Powers, HSLDA Event Coordinator