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HSLDA -- Secular alternative?

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#1 Sahamamama

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 09:27 PM

I remember reading (here?) a while back about a "secular" alternative to the Home School Legal Defense Association, but now I can't remember the name of that organization. Does anyone know what this is? TIA!

#2 Audrey

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 10:06 PM

I remember reading (here?) a while back about a "secular" alternative to the Home School Legal Defense Association, but now I can't remember the name of that organization. Does anyone know what this is? TIA!



:lurk5: I'm afraid I can't help, as I've never heard of this, but I'll certainly watch this thread for replies!

Edited by Audrey, 16 January 2009 - 10:56 PM.


#3 nukeswife

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 10:39 PM

:lurk5: Move over Audrey, Make room on the couch. I've brought more popcorn so I can watch too.:001_smile:

#4 Laurel

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 10:42 PM

:lurk5: I think we need a bigger couch.

#5 elizabeth

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 11:25 PM

http://nheld.com/index.htm I think this is it

#6 Audrey

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 11:14 AM

http://nheld.com/index.htm I think this is it



Thanks Elizabeth. Question for you: I've checked the website and don't see any mention of "statements of faith," nor any mention of political lobbying, religious affliations, etc. However... one doesn't necessarily find that easily on HSLDA's site either.

Is there anywhere to check out NHELD on those issues?

#7 coffeefreak

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 01:24 PM

The only problem is, they can't represent you in court. They also state they can't give legal advice to you, but they can hook you up with someone in your state. The beauty of HSLDA is, they are on "retainer." If you have a problem, they will represent you. I understand you not wanting to be a part of them, but I don't know that I'd waste my money on an organization that won't even give me legal advice?

I would call them (HSLDA) and ask them if there's another alternative. They're very helpful and if they know of one that provides the service they do, they would point you in the right direction.

Blessings,
Dorinda

#8 stripe

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 01:32 PM

Is HSLDA religious? What exactly is the state of their religious-ness? (Very curious, not trying to be rude.)

#9 LaxMom

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 01:40 PM

The only problem is, they can't represent you in court. They also state they can't give legal advice to you, but they can hook you up with someone in your state. The beauty of HSLDA is, they are on "retainer." If you have a problem, they will represent you. I understand you not wanting to be a part of them, but I don't know that I'd waste my money on an organization that won't even give me legal advice?

I would call them (HSLDA) and ask them if there's another alternative. They're very helpful and if they know of one that provides the service they do, they would point you in the right direction.

Blessings,
Dorinda


Not to bash HSLDA, but they are NOT on retainer. They absolutely exercise their prerogative to not represent members legally, which I know has been devastating to some longtime members who found themselves in need of legal representation.

To my knowledge, HSLDA lawyers are also members of the bar in every state and they often refer to a locally licensed attorney, just as NHELD.

I've looked into NHELD on more than one occasion and haven't found anything other than specific educational interest (i.e. they take no position on same-sex marriage; it's not related to homeschooling). If I felt compelled to join a political action group, I would not feel uncomfortable in associating myself there.

Edited by MyCrazyHouse, 17 January 2009 - 01:45 PM.
bad, bad, English


#10 LaxMom

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 01:42 PM

Is HSLDA religious? What exactly is the state of their religious-ness? (Very curious, not trying to be rude.)


Yes

They are a Christian organization, who lobby on behalf of conservative Christian values, while claiming to represent the interests of all homeschoolers. (Which would be fine except for that part about homeschoolers not being all conservative or all Christian, much less both, nor do all conservative Christians - homeschooling or not - feel the same about any given issue) Their political action is not confined to educational topics.

Edited by MyCrazyHouse, 17 January 2009 - 01:46 PM.


#11 Deeke

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 01:54 PM

http://hsislegal.com/

#12 Audrey

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 03:19 PM

The only problem is, they can't represent you in court. They also state they can't give legal advice to you, but they can hook you up with someone in your state. The beauty of HSLDA is, they are on "retainer." If you have a problem, they will represent you. I understand you not wanting to be a part of them, but I don't know that I'd waste my money on an organization that won't even give me legal advice?

I would call them (HSLDA) and ask them if there's another alternative. They're very helpful and if they know of one that provides the service they do, they would point you in the right direction.

Blessings,
Dorinda


Um... as others have pointed out, your claim that HSLDA will represent you is inaccurate.

Also, why would one call HSLDA to ask about an alternative to their service? That would be akin to calling your local church to ask if they know where the nearest local pagan grove is.

#13 NayfiesMama

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 03:53 PM

.......
Also, why would one call HSLDA to ask about an alternative to their service? That would be akin to calling your local church to ask if they know where the nearest local pagan grove is.


Actually, I would think they would know exactly who to refer you to...if there's an alternative.

Carrie:-)

#14 Audrey

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 05:39 PM

Actually, I would think they would know exactly who to refer you to...if there's an alternative.

Carrie:-)



Big difference between a "referral" and a "conversion ambush."

#15 coffeefreak

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 07:52 PM

Audrey,
From my experience, they are very gracious and would never try and convince you to join them. They do have specific political agendas, but if you're not with their political agendas, they understand. Since I have called them several times, and know others that have too, I know they would graciously tell you of a group that would suit your needs if they have information about one.

Also, if you came to my church and asked my pastor for a pagan group, he would tell you who to call. If he didn't know who to call, he would simply say he was sorry he couldn't help you. He's not going to force you or preach to you when you obviously aren't interested. I understand you suspicions though, not all Christians behave that way. Most would shove their agenda down your throat.

As for not representing customers, it's true that they can't represent you if your case is about anything other than homeschooling. So, child abuse for example is something they can't participate in. I do think that would be frustrating, because most allegations against Homeschoolers come in the form of Child abuse or Neglect. So, I understand why some choose not to belong.

I hope you find what you're looking for. Sorry I didn't seem to be much help.
Blessings,
Dorinda

#16 Sahamamama

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 09:07 PM

I hope you find what you're looking for. Sorry I didn't seem to be much help.
Blessings,
Dorinda


Dorinda, since I asked the question, I want to thank you for your answer! It was and is helpful to me, at least. We are not secular homeschoolers, but I had heard some reports and had formed some misconceptions about HSLDA that left me feeling uncomfortable about joining them. Now, thanks to your advice, I might reconsider. Thank you!

#17 Blessedfamily

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 09:26 PM

Dorinda, since I asked the question, I want to thank you for your answer! It was and is helpful to me, at least. We are not secular homeschoolers, but I had heard some reports and had formed some misconceptions about HSLDA that left me feeling uncomfortable about joining them. Now, thanks to your advice, I might reconsider. Thank you!


This is my situation also. I'm not secular, but had some negative perceptions of HSLDA and was looking elsewhere. Thanks for posting.

#18 nmoira

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 02:59 AM

From my experience, they are very gracious and would never try and convince you to join them. They do have specific political agendas, but if you're not with their political agendas, they understand. Since I have called them several times, and know others that have too, I know they would graciously tell you of a group that would suit your needs if they have information about one.

I'm not sure this would be the case: they don't even list non-Christian affiliated homeschool groups (national or state) on their website. For example, in my state of Oregon, OHEN (Oregon Home Education Network, an inclusive organization) is not listed, whereas OCEAN (Oregon Christian Home Education Network) is. You'll note the page title is not "Christian Home School Organizations," but rather "Home School Organizations."

#19 dtsmamtj

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 09:15 AM

Moira -

I couldn't find any reference to HSLDA on OHEN's site either.

T

#20 nmoira

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 11:52 AM

Moira -

I couldn't find any reference to HSLDA on OHEN's site either.

T

That's because OHEN doesn't have a list of other homeschooling organizations. They do, however, have lists of lists of state homeschooling lists which include Christian groups. The fact remains that there is not a single non-Christian organization listed on HSLDA's website. They do not represent me or my interests, yet have no problem saying they represent "home schoolers."

#21 NayfiesMama

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 12:37 PM

That's because OHEN doesn't have a list of other homeschooling organizations. They do, however, have lists of lists of state homeschooling lists which include Christian groups. The fact remains that there is not a single non-Christian organization listed on HSLDA's website. They do not represent me or my interests, yet have no problem saying they represent "home schoolers."


Moira,:001_smile:
Perhaps this is because they support every parents right to homeschool, but only list groups that submit their information to Christian Organizations. It may be that no other groups have submitted their information. And, even if they will represent all homeschoolers, they still have a right to only put Christian Organizations on their site. Although, I do believe that you have to sign a statement of faith to be represented, which would make it so I would assume that groups have to as well.
It will be interesting to see if someone comments about this assumption, with information back from HLSDA.
I suppose they could say that they only represent Christian Homeschool Families with the intent to bring freedom to all Families regardless of where their faith lies.
Carrie:-)

#22 Blessedfamily

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 12:55 PM

NMoira,

As you're probably aware, I'm a Christian. May I say firstly how I appreciate the way you respectfully disagree.

I was looking for an alternative to HSLDA for other reasons. They are so agressive and have been criticized for being unnecessarliy antagonistic. I don't know if I agree with that assesment totally, because I don't follow what they're doing unless it's something big.

I mean, I don't want to pick a fight with school officials. At the same time, I don't give any more information than is necessary, and will not hesitate to send a copy of state law when questioned.

OTOH, if I were fighting the school board in court, I would take a smart, agressive attorney any day.

No, they don't list all homeschooling groups on their website. We have two big state-wide homeschool organizations in VA. One is Christian, the other considers itself inclusive, and says they stick to homeschooling issues. Only the Christian one is listed on HSLDA. I don't know why, because I haven't read anything on the other site that is Anti-Christian. If it were me, I would have listed them both.

Generally speaking, I think there's a difference in saying "We represent homeschoolers" and "We represent ALL homeschoolers". I don't take the two to mean the same thing, though some might. I wish they wouldn't. I can understand why you want to make that clear.

It's like some large organizations that represent African Americans that do not represent my views. I like to clarify that too, because people make assumptions.

As far as whether HSLDA claims to represent all homeschoolers, here's what they say: (bolding mine, italics theirs)

Is HSLDA a Christian organization?

Yes; however, HSLDA’s mission is to protect the freedom of all homeschoolers. Although our officers and directors are Christians, HSLDA membership is not limited to religiously based homeschoolers. We respect parents' rights to make the appropriate choices for the upbringing of their children. We have no agenda to make all public and home-based classrooms religious or conservative. Our primary objective is to preserve the fundamental right of parents to choose home education, free of over-zealous government officials and intrusive laws. We do put on a national conference annually and invite the board members of state organizations with whom we have worked for many years. Most, if not all, of those organizations have Christian leaders, but many serve all homeschoolers regardless of religious affiliation, as we do.



If this is their objective, I don't understand why they would not include groups who don't get into non-homeschooling topics at all. I can see why you wanted to clarify.

#23 Blessedfamily

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 01:05 PM

Moira,:001_smile:
Perhaps this is because they support every parents right to homeschool, but only list groups that submit their information to Christian Organizations. It may be that no other groups have submitted their information. And, even if they will represent all homeschoolers, they still have a right to only put Christian Organizations on their site. Although, I do believe that you have to sign a statement of faith to be represented, which would make it so I would assume that groups have to as well.
It will be interesting to see if someone comments about this assumption, with information back from HLSDA.
I suppose they could say that they only represent Christian Homeschool Families with the intent to bring freedom to all Families regardless of where their faith lies.
Carrie:-)


Carrie,

You posted this while I was composing my long, boring post.:001_smile: I think I addressed some of what you mentioned.

In the case of our two big state organizations, there seems to be a clear omission of the group that isn't religiously affiliated. Since HSLDA is in VA, there is no way they don't know about them.

If their "primary objective is to preserve the fundamental right of parents to choose home education, free of over-zealous government officials and intrusive laws", they should have included the 2nd state-wide organization. It does that very well.

Thanks for the discussion.

#24 nmoira

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 01:14 PM

NMoira,

As you're probably aware, I'm a Christian. May I say firstly how I appreciate the way you respectfully disagree.

Thanks. :)

As far as whether HSLDA claims to represent all homeschoolers, here's what they say: (bolding mine, italics theirs)

Is HSLDA a Christian organization?

Yes; however, HSLDA’s mission is to protect the freedom of all homeschoolers. Although our officers and directors are Christians, HSLDA membership is not limited to religiously based homeschoolers. We respect parents' rights to make the appropriate choices for the upbringing of their children. We have no agenda to make all public and home-based classrooms religious or conservative. Our primary objective is to preserve the fundamental right of parents to choose home education, free of over-zealous government officials and intrusive laws. We do put on a national conference annually and invite the board members of state organizations with whom we have worked for many years. Most, if not all, of those organizations have Christian leaders, but many serve all homeschoolers regardless of religious affiliation, as we do.

If this is their objective, I don't understand why they would not include groups who don't get into non-homeschooling topics at all. I can see why you wanted to clarify.

They don't quite serve all homeschoolers; they have actively lobbied against the rights of unschoolers. In at least one state, they were the major force behind language being adopted that, on its face, prohibits unschooling entirely.

My intention getting into this thread was just to say that HSLDA is not the place I'd go to to find out about other homeschooling orgs. :) I'll try my best not to derail any further.

#25 Jenny in Florida

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 01:24 PM

I'm not sure this would be the case: they don't even list non-Christian affiliated homeschool groups (national or state) on their website. For example, in my state of Oregon, OHEN (Oregon Home Education Network, an inclusive organization) is not listed, whereas OCEAN (Oregon Christian Home Education Network) is. You'll note the page title is not "Christian Home School Organizations," but rather "Home School Organizations."


Interesting. I just checked the Florida page and couldn't find listings for any of the secular or inclusive groups I know of, either.

Of course, the underlying reason for this is probably that the HSLDA lists only groups that have chosen to affiliate with them or have sent in membership fees.

#26 cillakat

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 01:45 PM

HEIR.org

that is the totally secular organization. it was specifically created to act as a secular voice for homeschooling families. HSLDA tends act as if it 'speaks' for homeschoolers in general. HEIR, thankfully, is there to say, "No, you actually don't speak for me."

:)
K

#27 Blessedfamily

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 01:54 PM

My intention getting into this thread was just to say that HSLDA is not the place I'd go to to find out about other homeschooling orgs. :) I'll try my best not to derail any further.


So if we get back to the original post, I think Dorinda is right.
I looked at the links provided. There are other national homeschooling groups, but not with lawyers who go to court for you. (If that was what the OP was looking for)

#28 LaxMom

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 02:04 PM

I am not a fan of HSLDA - HOWEVER... I believe what is happening in their group listings is not their unwillingness to list secular and inclusive groups. I believe what is happening is that they list member groups (which is entirely reasonable) and many secular and inclusive groups have made a conscious decision to not endorse or provide group membership in HSLDA (also entirely reasonable).

I don't personally see that as inaccurate listing or shunning of inclusive groups. Know what I mean?

(otherwise, I take exception to a great many of their other activities, homeschooling-related and not, and their claim to represent ALL homeschoolers)

#29 Blessedfamily

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 02:09 PM

........Of course, the underlying reason for this is probably that the HSLDA lists only groups that have chosen to affiliate with them or have sent in membership fees.


I am not a fan of HSLDA - HOWEVER... I believe what is happening in their group listings is not their unwillingness to list secular and inclusive groups. I believe what is happening is that they list member groups (which is entirely reasonable) and many secular and inclusive groups have made a conscious decision to not endorse or provide group membership in HSLDA (also entirely reasonable).

I don't personally see that as inaccurate listing or shunning of inclusive groups. Know what I mean?
........


OK. That makes sense. Perhaps our inclusive state organization doesn't want to be associated with HSLDA.

#30 Peek a Boo

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 02:31 PM

I'm a conservative Christian, but also differ w/ HSLDA on a number of issues.
I was a memeber my first year in NY, but haven't joined since.

However, if i knew a homeschooler that felt they needed serious legal protection i would recommend HSLDA, for the same reason that if i needed someone to represent me in court i likely wouldn't choose the sweet lawyer at my church that i agree w/ 100% --I would choose a shark of an attorney that could win my case even if he was pro-choice.

I know many of us have the opportunity to do business w/ organizations that fit our personal philosophical beliefs --environment issues, local organic, don't contribute to abortion or gay groups, don't discriminate against abortion or gay groups, employee benefits, etc etc etc. When we have that opportunity, we should exercise it.

But sometimes there is not a viable option that fits w/ our personal beliefs. At this point, I'd likely support dh taking a job at FlightSafety even if it is owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

And if i was a homeschooler who had enough variables in our life that i needed to be very wary of the hostile ant-homeschooling people around me, i would likely join HSLDA.

In TX, I encourage people to join THSC over HSLDA. They are still 'religious', but have tons of local clout and have differed w/ HSLDA on a few issues.

Nationally, I seem to remember NHEN as trying to put something together, but it wasn't viable at the time and their site seems unaccessible.

The good news is that if you decide to join HSLDA, it's not a lifetime commitment --you can choose the following year to not join.

I have no doubt that as soon as a Secular National Option to HSLDA shows up, the gals here on the board will be the first to let us know :D But until then, take advantage of the state options available.

good luck in making your choice!

#31 Audrey

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 04:45 PM

take advantage of the state options available.



Probably the best advice in the pack. Local orgs and attorneys are far more likely to understand the ins and outs of hsing in your area than any national org anyway.

#32 TraceyS/FL

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 05:06 PM

I am not a fan of HSLDA - HOWEVER... I believe what is happening in their group listings is not their unwillingness to list secular and inclusive groups. I believe what is happening is that they list member groups (which is entirely reasonable) and many secular and inclusive groups have made a conscious decision to not endorse or provide group membership in HSLDA (also entirely reasonable).

I don't personally see that as inaccurate listing or shunning of inclusive groups. Know what I mean?

(otherwise, I take exception to a great many of their other activities, homeschooling-related and not, and their claim to represent ALL homeschoolers)


I would guess those are the organizations that when you are a member, then offer you a discount to join HSLDA.

There is a group that was posted on my local group as an alternative, they were involved in the case in CA last year. What was it, Pacific Justice League or something? I can't remember and i can't go digging thru the archives at the moment. BUT, i didn't recall getting the feeling that they were going to be as helpful as HSLDA would be to me.


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