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Is membership in HSLDA important?


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#1 KForce

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 02:20 PM

I'm just curious whether you feel it's important to be a member of HSLDA? I borrowed a book by/about HSLDA (can't remember the name anymore) and alot of the instances where they stepped in seem extreme. I can't imagine ever running into problems where I would need their assistance. Recently, I've read a few threads that don't portray them in a good light (re: Subway). So... as I begin my own homeschooling journey in the next few years, do you think I need to join? I'd appreciate any imput you have in working with them!!! TIA!

#2 camibami

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 02:30 PM

I have never joined because I object to their political leanings and the lobbying they do on so many non-homeschooling issues.

IMO, if you know your state's law well, you are probably going to be just fine. The cases of completely innocent people being harassed for home schooling are rare, IMO, an could be handled by a good attorney. HSLDA sometimes consults on cases where precedent could be set, etc, even the people involved are NOT members, so I fail to see the benefit of joining, especially if (like me) you object to their political leanings.

Cami

#3 Jenny in Florida

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 02:35 PM

The only subject on which the HSLDA and I agree is my right to homeschool. Other than that, their political and social agenda is about as far from mine as one could imagine. I am also uncomfortable with what seem to me like "protection racket" tactics to scare people into membership.

So, if they happen to be an organization whose positions you support, and you want to donate money to assist them, that's great. But, no, I don't think membership is important.

#4 clwcain

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 02:44 PM

We've been members since before we started homeschooling. I got involved when I was in law school.

I'm not sure what "political leanings" are objectionable.

#5 KForce

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 02:47 PM

I am also uncomfortable with what seem to me like "protection racket" tactics to scare people into membership.


Ahhh... that's a good way to describe what disturbed me when I read their book.

Thanks for your imput. It's given me food for thought. Looks like I may need to look into them a little deeper. I don't really know much about their social/political agenda...

#6 Crissy

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 02:48 PM

I live in a state and an area that is very friendly to homeschooling (regardless of the way HSLDA makes that appear on their site), so I've never felt the need for "insurance".

#7 Langhaven

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 02:50 PM

I think it makes a difference where you live and how hyper your area school district and state laws are. Given the issues in the news today with homeschooling status in California - I think membership to HSLDA is important for anyone in any state. I think that membership alone does send a message to others that might inquire about the nature of my homeschool that we are conscientious, vigilant homeschooling parents.

Just my .02,

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#8 KForce

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 02:53 PM

[quote name='clwcain']We've been members since before we started homeschooling. I got involved when I was in law school.
quote]

Do you mind telling me why you feel membership is important? I'm assuming you're a lawyer, so I'd love to hear your opinion on HSLDA's role in the legal system. Thanks!

#9 Sue in St Pete

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 02:55 PM

I have never joined because I object to their political leanings and the lobbying they do on so many non-homeschooling issues.

IMO, if you know your state's law well, you are probably going to be just fine.

:iagree:

The only subject on which the HSLDA and I agree is my right to homeschool. Other than that, their political and social agenda is about as far from mine as one could imagine. I am also uncomfortable with what seem to me like "protection racket" tactics to scare people into membership.

:iagree:

Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. I abide within my state's laws.

#10 Josie

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 02:57 PM

I recommend joining to folks who ask me. Joining is a personal decision, so I suppose I would say to follow your convictions.

I can tell you that I know of one case where there were no red flags, no abuse, no anything that would suggest a problem, but the family was taken to task about homeschooling by the state. Yes, I know this family, and I KNOW this to be the case. HSLDA helped them.

#11 KForce

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 03:01 PM

I recommend joining to folks who ask me. Joining is a personal decision, so I suppose I would say to follow your convictions.

I can tell you that I know of one case where there were no red flags, no abuse, no anything that would suggest a problem, but the family was taken to task about homeschooling by the state. Yes, I know this family, and I KNOW this to be the case. HSLDA helped them.


Thank you for your response! Do you mind telling me what state you live in? (I'm in Florida...)

#12 Crissy

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 03:03 PM

I think membership to HSLDA is important for anyone in any state.
Pam


I feel I get more value out of regular, personal contact with my state's lawmakers than I would from a general membership in HSLDA.

#13 Elaine

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 03:10 PM

We joined when we first began homeschooling and I have never regretted the decision. I support HSLDA.

You need to decide for yourself.:001_smile: But for me, I like the feeling of having attorneys in my corner should I need them.

#14 nmoira

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 03:10 PM

I have never joined because I object to their political leanings and the lobbying they do on so many non-homeschooling issues.

:iagree: We're not HSLDA material.

#15 clwcain

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 03:11 PM

[quote name='KForce'][quote name='clwcain']We've been members since before we started homeschooling. I got involved when I was in law school.
/quote]

Do you mind telling me why you feel membership is important? I'm assuming you're a lawyer, so I'd love to hear your opinion on HSLDA's role in the legal system. Thanks![/quote]

Oh, I'm not a lawyer. I was just in law school for a year.

One of my profs got paid by HSLDA to take on a case of unwarranted search and seizure by Texas CPS. The family couldn't afford legal representation otherwise. Without HSLDA, they were grist for the mill (or a court-appointed attorney).

A friend of mine also did an internship with them. While not a fan of homeschooling before that, he came away from that summer with a deep respect for what they do in challenging government overreach.

We live and homeschool in Texas. There is a state-specific organization that we're also members of. But I believe it is important to aid homeschoolers everywhere, and HSLDA (through their lobbying and litigation efforts) is the most efficient way for us to do that.

Whether we like it or not, we are governed by an oligarchy, who are themselves easily manipulated by lobbyists. I support the lobbies I want protected, and oppose the one's that I think are detrimental to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

HTH

#16 clwcain

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 03:13 PM

I feel I get more value out of regular, personal contact with my state's lawmakers than I would from a general membership in HSLDA.


The lawmakers don't scare me. Their motivations are transparent. CPS and the rest of the above-the-law bureaucracy...that's a different matter entirely.

#17 Ellie

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 03:36 PM

IMHO, anyone who homeschools should be a member. Yes, even if her state has "good" laws. Yes, even if you don't care for all their so-called politics.

There is no organization with the depth of experience HSLDA has in constitutional law as it applies to homeschooling. The law can change literally overnight--we just saw that in California--and when that happens, HSLDA is ready, right now.

I have nothing but respect for HSLDA as an organization, and for the attorneys and other employees I have known over the last 20+ years.

Yes, HSLDA membership should be part of your hsing budget.

#18 Michelle in MO

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 05:12 PM

do respect the convictions of various people on these boards to not belong, I still think membership is a good idea.

I have heard and read on these forums that there are times when HSLDA oversteps its bounds. One mom posted that she heard a story of a couple who had a membership with HSLDA who ended up not being represented on a particular case. I can't say one way or another whether or not that happened. I've also heard that they sometimes lobby for certain homeschooling laws without consulting local homeschooling organizations. Again, I cannot verify that one way or another.

My husband is a lawyer, and we obtained a membership with HSLDA the year after we started homeschooling. Overall, I think that being a member is beneficial. My husband has stated about HSLDA and the law in general, that only a foolish lawyer attempts to represent himself.

I think what bothers people about HSLDA is that they are unabashedly Christian and right-leaning. However, I do believe that they go to bat for any member, no matter what their political or religious convictions.

One of my very best friends is also a lawyer. HSLDA contacted her about representing a family one county north of our location. They paid all of her attorney fees and flew in the other necessary legal experts. She won the case.

This can be one of those "hot-button" issues. I respect everyone's wishes and opinions about whether or not to become members. Personally, I think it's a good idea.

HTH.

#19 MIch elle

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 05:34 PM

of homeschooling in a the supposed difficult state of Massachusetts.

#20 Suzannah

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 05:34 PM

Well, we've been homeschooling for five years now and are not members of HSLDA. So, no, it isn't absolutely necessary. But my daughter has low-vision and I have always intended to belong once we are officially homeschooling her. She has just finished K and we plan to join HSLDA before next school year. Virginia is a fairly homeschool-friendly state (although I understand it varies some from one school district to another). We've never had any trouble but just on the off chance that a nosy-neighbor ever does report us for truancy or whatever, I don't want my daughter's vision to be a strike against us.

I don't happen to have a problem with their political leanings. That might affect my decision to support them if I did.

$.02

#21 Audrey

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 05:42 PM

I have never joined because I object to their political leanings and the lobbying they do on so many non-homeschooling issues.

IMO, if you know your state's law well, you are probably going to be just fine. The cases of completely innocent people being harassed for home schooling are rare, IMO, an could be handled by a good attorney. HSLDA sometimes consults on cases where precedent could be set, etc, even the people involved are NOT members, so I fail to see the benefit of joining, especially if (like me) you object to their political leanings.

Cami


The only subject on which the HSLDA and I agree is my right to homeschool. Other than that, their political and social agenda is about as far from mine as one could imagine. I am also uncomfortable with what seem to me like "protection racket" tactics to scare people into membership.

So, if they happen to be an organization whose positions you support, and you want to donate money to assist them, that's great. But, no, I don't think membership is important.


I live in a state and an area that is very friendly to homeschooling (regardless of the way HSLDA makes that appear on their site), so I've never felt the need for "insurance".


:iagree: And fair warning: Nowhere does HSLDA promise or guarantee to take your case if you should be prosecuted, no matter how much you have paid them for "insurance." They do not send out a team of lawyers at every beck and call. They routinely pass on many, many cases. And, those people are left to pay (again) from their own pockets for legal assistance elsewhere. You are not paying for their legal help in your time of need. You are paying to be associated with them. Nothing more.

Whether or not you want to be associated with their ilk is a completely different question.

#22 clwcain

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 05:45 PM

Whether or not you want to be associated with their ilk is a completely different question.


I'd appreciate it if those of you with such animus would clear up the source. "Ilk" is a loaded word, rhetorically. So, what's your beef?

Several of you have made comments like this. What's the story?

#23 BizyPenguin

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 05:53 PM

I've always belonged to the HSLDA while homeschooling. The umbrella school we belong to also requires it.

#24 K&Rs Mom

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 05:54 PM

I don't like the fact that HSLDA wants (their) homeschooling laws in every state. I'm in Michigan, and we're pretty much unregulated right now, and HSLDA has helped with a couple of lobbying issues this year that would affect us; but, they would rather our homeschooling rights be spelled out in specifics, as opposed to our being somewhat outside the education laws as we are now. It's the same argument that happened regarding the Bill of Rights on the US Constitution a couple hundred years ago....

Also, HSLDA is very much a conservative, evangelical Christian group. They don't have a statement of faith to join, but their policies all follow this worldview. Many secular homeschoolers and even many Christian homeschoolers refuse to join because of their underlying agenda.

#25 Philothea

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 06:06 PM

I totally disagree with HSLDA's protestant leanings as a Catholic. I overlook this for a great good, in this case.

I think HSLDA keeps are great website with up-to-date resources. They are someone you could call if you had any legal questions or misgivings about something that occured. They also tell you what to say if you get that knock on the door. It goes a lot further with some of these pushy nanny-state people to say, "hang on, I am going to call my lawyer."

As for people who are not as legally savvy, I think it is a great tool. I think a lot of people who would be too intimidated to homeschool due to laws and social service concerns are greatly helped by them. They have done a lot to show that you don't have to be "smart" to home educate your children, you just need to be a loving parent, and know what your state law is!

I think their breakdown of the law and news are great. I also would support them even if I was no longer homeschooling because I believe that those who fight every day to mainstream homeschooling and protect the rights of homeschoolers are doing a great service to our country and the world.

#26 nmoira

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 06:17 PM

I'd appreciate it if those of you with such animus would clear up the source. "Ilk" is a loaded word, rhetorically. So, what's your beef?

Several of you have made comments like this. What's the story?

  • HSLDA has lobbied for homeschooling laws which explicitly require a "defined curriculum". No matter how you feel about unschooling and your family, it works just fine for others.
  • Christian bias
  • Has official positions on things with have nothing to do with homeschooling -- gay marriage for example
  • Has a long history of working against or trying to sideline state organizations
This is enough for me never to want to give them a dime. If you want more check out: hsislegal.

#27 Pam "SFSOM" in TN

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 06:50 PM

I'd appreciate it if those of you with such animus would clear up the source. "Ilk" is a loaded word, rhetorically. So, what's your beef?

Several of you have made comments like this. What's the story?


Not interested in them using my money in some of their lobbying efforts in the name of homeschoolers, such as a constitutional amendment defining marriage for one. They were accepted in a rather de facto manner to speak for all homeschoolers in military recruitment policy.

If one wants to pay for their notion of family and their view of how homeschooling should look, I say give them not only dues, but send offerings to support their (and your) cause as well. Money where one's mouth is, and all. I'm keeping my money right here. They don't speak for me. (And I have nothing personal to say against any of the probably very fine people of HSLDA. I just don't think they speak for me. It irks me when they say they do/did.)

Anyway, here's a link. Remember when you access the lobby records, you have to access each report page by page by choosing "next" at the top of the document.

#28 Steph

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 07:05 PM

As a parent who had to take a second out on the house to pay lawyers bills when we got drug into family court through no fault of our own, I joined them without question! It's been 6 years, and dh and I are still paying off lawyers bills. I know how expense those lawyers are. And that was with one working for free and one at a half rate.

With the housing market what it is now and owing what we do, we couldn't get enough money to hire a lawyer if we needed to. (Our one lawyer was ready to drop our case because we came up short one month. We were 10 days from our next hearing, and had to come up with thousands of dollars.) All the attorneys we talked to wanted $10,000 or more up front before they would talk to us. I am just glad back then we had the equity, or we would have lost our child.

Granted the situations aren't everyday but they do happen. I am thrilled to have that protection, and I am happy to help out families who wind up in those situations like us through no fault of their own.

I guess it's like a lot of things you don't think it could happen to you until it does or it happens to someone you know. Never in a million years I did I think we'd wind up with the mess we did. So you never know what could happen. And I got to know a lot about social workers and GAL, and I don't have a lot of confidence in the "system".

#29 Ellie

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 07:24 PM

They routinely pass on many, many cases. And, those people are left to pay (again) from their own pockets for legal assistance elsewhere. You are not paying for their legal help in your time of need. You are paying to be associated with them. Nothing more.


And you know this...how?

Even if this is true, isn't it possible that the "many, many cases" are those which HSLDA doesn't claim to represent in the first place, such as child custody cases?

#30 Mrs Mungo

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 07:25 PM

Not interested in them using my money in some of their lobbying efforts in the name of homeschoolers, such as a constitutional amendment defining marriage for one. They were accepted in a rather de facto manner to speak for all homeschoolers in military recruitment policy.

If one wants to pay for their notion of family and their view of how homeschooling should look, I say give them not only dues, but send offerings to support their (and your) cause as well. Money where one's mouth is, and all. I'm keeping my money right here. They don't speak for me. (And I have nothing personal to say against any of the probably very fine people of HSLDA. I just don't think they speak for me. It irks me when they say they do/did.)

Anyway, here's a link. Remember when you access the lobby records, you have to access each report page by page by choosing "next" at the top of the document.


I agree with Pam. They are an extreme-right-wing organization with strong ties to the Republican Party and the Bush administration (some of their activities are filtered through Patrick Henry College so not all will show up when you search their lobbying activities). I would love it if an organization would step up to keep homeschooling as legal and free of regulation as possible with no other religion or politics involved but that's not what HSLDA is about.

Their own FAQs:
http://www.hslda.org/about/default.asp

wiki article on PHC:
http://en.wikipedia....k_Henry_College

eta: My eldest is 12, we've homeschooled all along and have never been members. I could only see doing so if some sort of extreme law came into play that had me concerned.

#31 Mrs Mungo

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 07:27 PM

And you know this...how?

Even if this is true, isn't it possible that the "many, many cases" are those which HSLDA doesn't claim to represent in the first place, such as child custody cases?


Actually, HSLDA's own FAQs will tell you they don't take every case:
http://www.hslda.org...efault.asp#q101

In every contact with a social worker/police officer regarding allegations of abuse or neglect, HSLDA provides assistance and advice to our member families. If the investigation focuses on homeschooling, we will represent you until the matter is resolved. HSLDA membership benefits do not extend to representation should court action result on non-homeschooling matters. HSLDA has in the past, and may choose in the future, to take cases where there has been a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. We reserve the right to accept such cases at our sole discretion.



#32 Julie in MN

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 07:33 PM

We were only able to afford it one year, but I really would like to join HSLDA every year.

I have absolutely no fear of needing HSLDA legal services at all. However, I feel they support homeschoolers in general, and keep on top of laws that might start down a path of regulation.

I would like to support them as an organization, not as an insurance policy for myself. I don't imagine I agree with everything anyone stands for, including them of course. But I do think their intentions are to support homeschooling and they have helped build the freedoms we enjoy today. I feel indebted and I do not feel future freedoms are guaranteed without some diligence on our part. And since I do not have time to keep up that diligent guard myself, I would like to pay someone to do it :o)

Julie

#33 Ellie

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 07:53 PM

Actually, HSLDA's own FAQs will tell you they don't take every case:
http://www.hslda.org...efault.asp#q101


but HSLDA says up front the kinds of cases it will not take on. The implication in the pp was that there are legitimate homeschool situations that HSLDA declines.

#34 Audrey

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 07:54 PM

Actually, HSLDA's own FAQs will tell you they don't take every case:
http://www.hslda.org...efault.asp#q101


Thanks for posting that Mrs. M. You saved me having to go to their site to find it. :001_smile:

#35 Audrey

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 07:57 PM

I agree with Pam. They are an extreme-right-wing organization with strong ties to the Republican Party and the Bush administration (some of their activities are filtered through Patrick Henry College so not all will show up when you search their lobbying activities). I would love it if an organization would step up to keep homeschooling as legal and free of regulation as possible with no other religion or politics involved but that's not what HSLDA is about.

Their own FAQs:
http://www.hslda.org/about/default.asp

wiki article on PHC:
http://en.wikipedia....k_Henry_College

eta: My eldest is 12, we've homeschooled all along and have never been members. I could only see doing so if some sort of extreme law came into play that had me concerned.


Not interested in them using my money in some of their lobbying efforts in the name of homeschoolers, such as a constitutional amendment defining marriage for one. They were accepted in a rather de facto manner to speak for all homeschoolers in military recruitment policy.

If one wants to pay for their notion of family and their view of how homeschooling should look, I say give them not only dues, but send offerings to support their (and your) cause as well. Money where one's mouth is, and all. I'm keeping my money right here. They don't speak for me. (And I have nothing personal to say against any of the probably very fine people of HSLDA. I just don't think they speak for me. It irks me when they say they do/did.)

Anyway, here's a link. Remember when you access the lobby records, you have to access each report page by page by choosing "next" at the top of the document.

:iagree::iagree: You gals are writing my posts for me tonight.

Now, if you'd both just stop on by and help me clear out my somewhat flooded basement.... :D

#36 Kay in Cal

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 08:05 PM

  • HSLDA has lobbied for homeschooling laws which explicitly require a "defined curriculum". No matter how you feel about unschooling and your family, it works just fine for others.
  • Christian bias
  • Has official positions on things with have nothing to do with homeschooling -- gay marriage for example
  • Has a long history of working against or trying to sideline state organizations


This is why I won't join as well. I don't think a constitutional amendment against gay marriage has anything to do with homeschooling, and don't want my money going to support thier extraneous political activities. It would be wonderful if there was a similar group that focused only homeschooling issues, but there isn't.

#37 Greta

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 08:28 PM

I don't belong to any of these organizations (just don't feel the need), but wanted to point out that there are other options:

http://www.nheld.com/

http://www.ahsa-usa.org/press.php

I could not in good conscience join HSLDA because of their other (non-homeschool related) political goals. YMMV. :001_smile:

#38 Greta

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 08:32 PM

It would be wonderful if there was a similar group that focused only homeschooling issues, but there isn't.

There are two -- see my post below. :) They don't have the power, money, and clout of HSLDA . . . but maybe someday?

This is why I won't join as well. I don't think a constitutional amendment against gay marriage has anything to do with homeschooling, and don't want my money going to support thier extraneous political activities.


:iagree:

#39 54879525

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 08:46 PM

The only subject on which the HSLDA and I agree is my right to homeschool. Other than that, their political and social agenda is about as far from mine as one could imagine. I am also uncomfortable with what seem to me like "protection racket" tactics to scare people into membership.

So, if they happen to be an organization whose positions you support, and you want to donate money to assist them, that's great. But, no, I don't think membership is important.

:iagree:

#40 SoCal Sandra

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 08:58 PM

Because an attorney that represents herself has a fool for a client.

And because, although I could personally handle an encounter with the government should one occur, doing so would take so much time and energy away from my children that it would harm my home school efforts and render any "win" a loss.

Also, at the time I joined, HSLDA was actively helping homeschoolers in Germany and I wanted to support that effort even though I don't necessarily agree with everything HSLDA says or does.

In making your decision, you are right to consider your state government's position on homeschooling and your personal likelihood of needing HSLDA's help. Don't forget your *local* government's attitude as well. Another thing to remember is that even in a friendly environment, government workers can be misinformed or under-informed about homeschooling. The size of the community often affects this.

For example, during the 20 years I practiced law in the beloved Metropolis in which I live, I knew of more than one instance in which social workers were grossly misinformed. I'm speaking of social workers who actually said that the Fourth Amendment did not apply to them.(The Fourth Amendment is the constitutional right that protects you from illegal searches and seizures such as warrantless entries into your home). If you live in a small town, however, things could be quite different.

Concerning ideological positions, I view the decision the same as membership in a voluntary labor union. You have to weigh the potential benefit of representation by the union and the risk of not having it against the weight of your ideological or moral stance on the particular issue. For each person there is probably some issue that is so vital that he or she would forgo the benefits of membership, no matter the risk, rather than belong to an organization that felt differently on the issue. On other issues one might feel the organization's stance misses the mark but that the issue is not worth discarding benefits and protections for.

Although I do not currently belong to HSLDA because my children are enrolled in a public charter school and that precludes membership in HSLDA, I do not regret the money I paid to them. While they do not represent all of my needs as a homeschooler nor reflect all of my attitudes, I feel that their lobbying efforts nonetheless benefit me as a homeschooler. Almost every religious, racial, ethnic, professional and vocational population has at least one organization that not only lobbies for the group's interests but actively tries to shape public opinion concerning the group. An individual within such a group may or may not agree with everything the "activists" say or do and has the right to say, "They don't speak for me!"

I hope this helps. Good luck with your decision. :001_smile:

#41 nmoira

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 09:01 PM

I don't belong to any of these organizations (just don't feel the need), but wanted to point out that there are other options:

http://www.nheld.com/

http://www.ahsa-usa.org/press.php

I could not in good conscience join HSLDA because of their other (non-homeschool related) political goals. YMMV. :001_smile:

I know we're talking about national bodies here, but I would also encourage people to join their state associations... just don't get the information from the HSLDA website.

#42 KForce

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 09:29 PM

Although I do not currently belong to HSLDA because my children are enrolled in a public charter school and that precludes membership in HSLDA, I do not regret the money I paid to them. While they do not represent all of my needs as a homeschooler nor reflect all of my attitudes, I feel that their lobbying efforts nonetheless benefit me as a homeschooler. Almost every religious, racial, ethnic, professional and vocational population has at least one organization that not only lobbies for the group's interests but actively tries to shape public opinion concerning the group. An individual within such a group may or may not agree with everything the "activists" say or do and has the right to say, "They don't speak for me!"

I hope this helps. Good luck with your decision. :001_smile:


Thank you for taking the time to explain your rationale in supporting HSLDA. Actually, I appreciate everyone that has weighed in on this issue. I see that I need to investigate their lobbying actions and see if they "speak for me" or not--and whether I want to support them if they don't:)

#43 MamaFran

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 09:44 PM

I don't feel the need to join, and I live in PA, the land of really really bad homeschooling laws! When we first made the decision to join i looked into HSLDA, but got a really bad vibe from reading through their membership material. Also they have (or had, haven't checked in a while) misinformation about PA law listed on their site. I'm also not Christian (dh is Catholic, but I'm not) and felt uneasy about their "other" political agendas.

#44 Fourmother

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 09:52 PM

There is no organization with the depth of experience HSLDA has in constitutional law as it applies to homeschooling. The law can change literally overnight--we just saw that in California--and when that happens, HSLDA is ready, right now.


The law in California did not change at all. The controversial ruling was a strict interpretation of the law as written, not a change. Many Californians use private independent study as a loophole to get around the law. In my view the HSLDA whipped California and national homeschoolers into a hysterical frenzy, then used the panic to beef up their membership. (Did somebody say "protection racket?") As far as the actual case is concerned, I understand they filed an amicus brief with the court as did several other homeschool organizations. The happy result was that the ruling was decertified or made to apply only to the abusive family in question. Again, the law remains unchanged.

Now the important question for me is whether this could have been achieved without gross self promotion and fear mongering on the part of HSDLA. I listened to their representatives give interviews and read many of their statements. I don't remember any sympathy for the abused children involved in the particular case. Had HSLDA said something like, "We understand this is a troubled homeschooling family, but they are not representative of all homeschoolers. Don't let them ruin it for us all," I would have a lot more respect for them. "My homeschoolers, right or wrong" is not a position I want to support.

Bottom line, HSLDA doesn't speak for me. I was dissappointed with their handling of the California crisis. There is no room in my budget for their agenda. Granted that's just my rather strong opinion, your mileage may vary.

#45 Jenny in Florida

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 10:23 PM

We've been members since before we started homeschooling. I got involved when I was in law school.

I'm not sure what "political leanings" are objectionable.


Honestly, if the HSLDA is an organization that works for you, that's wonderful. However, you did "ask" about which of their political leanings some of us might find objectionable. So, I spent two minutes at their website and came up with this example:

The following answer is an excerpt from a letter written by HSLDA Chairman of the Board and General Counsel Mike Farris:
. . . We are a Christian organization (see answer to question number 4 above). This colors our way of thinking about many things. Fundamentally, it is reflected in what we believe is truth.
All truth is God's truth. Man's knowledge is limited. We think we know something only to find that future generations have found that we really didn't know what we are talking about.
The truth is that God created the family. It is God's view of the family that is reflected in our western civilization and in our law until very recently. If we tear down this God-based view of the family, then all of the God-based principles in our society are ultimately at risk.
The reason we have parental rights is because our law assumes that God gave children to parents, not the state. If we eliminate the assumption of God from our law, parental rights and human rights themselves are impossible.
I was in the Soviet Union in 1988 arguing for parental rights and religious freedom with the government of the USSR. They asked, "Where are such rights based in any international legal document?"
I answered, "If rights are based on man-made documents they are not rights, they are privileges. What man makes, man can change."
Only if rights come from God is it illegitimate for man to take another's rights.
It is impossible to say that the God of the Bible would sanction rights of homosexual marriage. Thus, there is no such right in a God-based theory of rights. Any man-made theory of rights is no theory at all. ... HSLDA is not willing to move into an era of human privileges. We believe this would jeopardize our liberty to teach our children at home and bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

And here's another one:

To help our member families equip the next generation for active, effective citizenship, HSLDA founded Generation Joshua in 2004. A division of HSLDA, Generation Joshua is funded by direct contributions and by Generation Joshua's own modest membership dues. Generation Joshua is not funded by HSLDA membership dues. Please visit Generation Joshua's website at www.generationjoshua.org.
Generation Joshua has three main components, each designed to teach homeschooled teens important aspects of civic involvement: (1) civics education, (2) nonpartisan political activity, such as voter registration drives, and (3) active involvement in the campaigns of a few candidates prayerfully selected by HSLDA's board of directors for their character and their positions on issues of importance to our members.
All candidate campaign activity is funded by HSLDA-PAC, an affiliated federal political action committee created by HSLDA in accordance with federal law. Under federal law, HSLDA may endorse federal candidates in communications to our members and we may solicit our members for contributions to HSLDA-PAC. These PAC contributions will be used to place Generation Joshua teens on selected federal campaigns under the direction and guidance of Generation Joshua staff.

These are things with which I am not comfortable, to say the least.

#46 Ellie

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 11:01 PM

The law in California did not change at all. The controversial ruling was a strict interpretation of the law as written, not a change. Many Californians use private independent study as a loophole to get around the law. In my view the HSLDA whipped California and national homeschoolers into a hysterical frenzy, then used the panic to beef up their membership. (Did somebody say "protection racket?") As far as the actual case is concerned, I understand they filed an amicus brief with the court as did several other homeschool organizations. The happy result was that the ruling was decertified or made to apply only to the abusive family in question. Again, the law remains unchanged.

Now the important question for me is whether this could have been achieved without gross self promotion and fear mongering on the part of HSDLA. I listened to their representatives give interviews and read many of their statements. I don't remember any sympathy for the abused children involved in the particular case. Had HSLDA said something like, "We understand this is a troubled homeschooling family, but they are not representative of all homeschoolers. Don't let them ruin it for us all," I would have a lot more respect for them. "My homeschoolers, right or wrong" is not a position I want to support.

Bottom line, HSLDA doesn't speak for me. I was dissappointed with their handling of the California crisis. There is no room in my budget for their agenda. Granted that's just my rather strong opinion, your mileage may vary.


Yes, I understand that the law did not change in California. The court's decision was not, in fact, a "strict interpretation of the law." I started hsing there in 1982 and owned/administered an umbrella school for 16 years, so I understand how hsing works in California (no, hsers do not use "independent study" as a "loophole" to "get around the law").

HSLDA did not whip anyone into a frenzy. Hsers are perfectly capable of doing that all by themselves. (Remember: I hsed there for many years and have seen hsers work themselves into frenzies more than once, sometimes led by one of the statewide groups.) The situation was not used to beef up membership. They worked with the three statewide groups to respond. I'm not sure why you think HSLDA should have "expressed sympathy for the abused children," but whatever.

I don't mind debating issues, but throwing such inflamatory accusations around just isn't useful.

#47 Fourmother

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 12:20 AM

Yes, I understand that the law did not change in California. The court's decision was not, in fact, a "strict interpretation of the law." I started hsing there in 1982 and owned/administered an umbrella school for 16 years, so I understand how hsing works in California (no, hsers do not use "independent study" as a "loophole" to "get around the law").


Interpretations of the law differ. That's the problem. As you well know, nowhere in the law is "homeschooling" explicitly stated as a legal option. I sincerely hope the result will be a much better homeschooling law for California.

The situation was not used to beef up membership. They worked with the three statewide groups to respond.

I felt the letter drive they ran on their website was a blatant effort at self promotion. Other state-wide groups strongly disagreed with HSLDA on this strategy as evidenced by the emails they sent around to discourage people from signing. As a California homeschooler, I got emails from all the groups involved. HSLDA even admitted on the sign up page that the letters were not to be submitted directly to the court. Of course, the list of names generated by the letter drive will be a rich source of potential new members. I worked as a lobbyist and organizer for several non-profit advocacy groups. I have run many a grassroots campaign, so I am very familiar with how they operate.

I'm not sure why you think HSLDA should have "expressed sympathy for the abused children," but whatever.

Because the central matter of the case was abuse of the children in question. Their plight has been lost in all public squabbling.

I don't mind debating issues, but throwing such inflamatory accusations around just isn't useful.

My opinions are inflamatory inasmuch as they are the complete opposite of yours. Let us agree to disagree. We are certainly not going change each other's minds.

#48 dirty ethel rackham

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 08:28 AM

No. I think it is much more important to keep up on local and state affairs from state associations and to be educated on the law in your state. Like was said before, contact with your elected government officials is important. We have had experience in IL where HSLDA has overstepped their bounds and excluded the residents from exercising their rights as citizens in participating in the government process. Also, there have been cases in IL where members who would qualify for representation did not get it because HSLDA "did not have any attorneys who could practice in IL." This family got legal advice, but had to pay for representation. So much for it being an insurance policy. I, personally, would use that money to buy legal insurance in my area.

Here is a website that describes my opposition to this organization. http://hsislegal.com/

#49 clwcain

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 09:15 AM

Honestly, if the HSLDA is an organization that works for you, that's wonderful. <snip for length> These are things with which I am not comfortable, to say the least.


Jenny,

Thank you. As I don't find either of those positions particularly objectionable, I can see why they didn't strike me as problematic. YMMV, and all that.

As I'm not looking for an argument, either, I have no parry-riposte. ;)