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I have a membership with them. I have it in case some nosy old goat gets a bee in the bonnet and calls someone because the kids are outside (or anywhere else) during school hours.

 

I may not agree with everything they take a stance on, I'd still rather have it than not.

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I cannot give someone my money who uses the guise of a homeschool organization to further an extreme conservative political agenda.

 

If they were just about homeschooling I would join but they are not and I will not.

 

See, I remembered reading something about people not being able to support their agenda but I couldn't remember why! Thanks!

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I am a member primarily because my school district is always difficult about notifications, etc. Most of the time I agree with their conservative agenda as mentioned previously so that obviously doesn't bother me. If my district were more easygoing, I probably wouldn't do it.

 

Do you live in a state where the SD has oversight vs. the state? I never get anything from the SD other than an occasional email from the PTA (who can't seem to take me off their mailing list) and the mass mailings that every taxpayer in the district gets.

 

I have a membership with them. I have it in case some nosy old goat gets a bee in the bonnet and calls someone because the kids are outside (or anywhere else) during school hours.

 

I may not agree with everything they take a stance on, I'd still rather have it than not.

 

See, that's what concerns me a little... We have one neighbor who is a complete and utter %$ and I often wonder if he is taking notes on our activities.

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Unless you are a Christian family, and I mean a documentably Christian family, HSLDA will not represent you. They will take your money, but they will not represent you.

 

They have a particular agenda and a particular view of homeschooling to advance. They have an extremely conservative political agenda and stick their nose into issues that have NOTHING to do with homeschooling. In particular, they are anti-gay.

 

They have sometimes advocated for tightening homeschooling regulations.

 

They act like you are facing certain doom if you don't have their "protection," but the reality is you don't need them. They just want you to think you do.

 

I would never in 50 million years affiliate with them in any way.

 

Tara

Edited by TaraTheLiberator
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Unless you are a Christian family, and I mean a documentably Christian family, HSLDA will not represent you. They will take your money, but they will not represent you.

 

They have a particular agenda and a particular view of homeschooling to advance. They have an extremely conservative political agenda and stick their nose into issues that have NOTHING to do with homeschooling. In particular, they are anti-gay.

 

They have sometimes advocated for tightening homeschooling regulations.

 

They act like you are facing certain doom if you don't have their "protection," but the reality is you don't need them. They just want you to think you do.

 

I would never in 50 million years affiliate with them in any way.

 

Tara

 

Ack! Seriously? Are there documented cases of them refusing to represent "undocumented Christians"? How exactly would you go about documenting such a thing? I'll have to research this later. I'm not a member and am uncomfortable with their stance on a lot of issues but I didn't think they would go so far as to NOT represent a member as they weren't "the right type of Christian" and was wondering if this was a rant, hearsay, or documented case.

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Ack! Seriously? Are there documented cases of them refusing to represent "undocumented Christians"? How exactly would you go about documenting such a thing? I'll have to research this later. I'm not a member and am uncomfortable with their stance on a lot of issues but I didn't think they would go so far as to NOT represent a member as they weren't "the right type of Christian" and was wondering if this was a rant, hearsay, or documented case.

 

My understanding has been they're unwilling to defend/represent undocumented HOMESCHOOLERS, e.g. those who SAY they homeschool, but really just have truant kids and aren't doing anything at all at home...but if you are in compliance with state law and/or if you have at least made a 'good-faith' effort to comply, and you run into an issue, they'll represent you.

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Ack! Seriously? Are there documented cases of them refusing to represent "undocumented Christians"? How exactly would you go about documenting such a thing? I'll have to research this later. I'm not a member and am uncomfortable with their stance on a lot of issues but I didn't think they would go so far as to NOT represent a member as they weren't "the right type of Christian" and was wondering if this was a rant, hearsay, or documented case.

 

See, I've heard this accusation also, but never heard of an actual case either.

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Ack! Seriously? Are there documented cases of them refusing to represent "undocumented Christians"?

 

Over the years I have read at least three (and probably more) different things about them refusing to help families whose money they took because, when the family asked them for help, they decided that the family wasn't the right type of family for them to represent.

 

You can Google to find out about these things.

 

But honestly, it's the "HSLDA hates fags," to borrow from our good friend Fred Phelps, thing that makes me run screaming in the opposite direction.

 

Tara

Edited by TaraTheLiberator
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We are members. Two or three times I've had to ask a question. When we first got here I had an issue with what the law says vs what the local district says. They helped sort things out so I only had to do what the law said.

 

I will continue to be a member at least as long as we continue to live in this school district. Yes, I have to have contact with the state and the school district at least once a year.

 

This school district is hostile to homeschoolers. For example (one of many) the state law says that we are allowed to use school services/classes if there is an opening. From what I've heard in 20 years there has never been an opening.

 

I've never had a problem being the wrong kind of Christian with HSLDA.

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Ack! Seriously? Are there documented cases of them refusing to represent "undocumented Christians"?

 

I don't know the answer to your question, but it does bring up something very important about HSLDA that many people don't seem to realize: your membership dues put them under NO obligation whatsoever to give you any legal aid. There is no guarantee, no policy, that your membership money entitles you to any legal assistance whatsoever. They can choose to represent you, OR NOT, for any reason they see fit.

 

Now, given that they refuse to work with religiously inclusive state homeschooling groups like VHEA, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they refused to help their non-Christian members.

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Unless you are a Christian family, and I mean a documentably Christian family, HSLDA will not represent you. They will take your money, but they will not represent you.

 

They have a particular agenda and a particular view of homeschooling to advance. They have an extremely conservative political agenda and stick their nose into issues that have NOTHING to do with homeschooling. In particular, they are anti-gay.

 

They have sometimes advocated for tightening homeschooling regulations.

 

They act like you are facing certain doom if you don't have their "protection," but the reality is you don't need them. They just want you to think you do.

 

I would never in 50 million years affiliate with them in any way.

 

Tara

 

They had no problem helping my friend who is not and never claimed to be a Christian. They were very helpful and resolved the issue quickly. (A neighbor reported her for educational neglect)

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Watching what is happening in IL has me wondering if I should join. What is the good, the bad, and the ugly of this organization? Thank you!

 

Unless the hs climate changes in our state, or I fall in with seriously pathological people who are out to get me, I would consider them a waste of money.

 

And, regardless of political ilk, I refuse as much as I can to have anything to do with organizations that are "about" one thing, but sweep in a bunch of other stuff. I'm not thrilled my local professional society spends so much time lobbying, and nary a vote on what to lobby for. The old guard decides. (And I even agree with most of it!)

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HSLDA does try to determine whether or not you are truly home schooling or just trying to cover up chronic truancy. They are also quite clear about the fact that they will not guarantee to represent you in divorce or custody cases unless the case has broader implications for the rights of parents to make educational decisions about their children. I know that lawyers as a class have the reputation of taking every case that walks in the door, but that's not always true. There are limitations to their services which are clearly stated.

 

I have never heard anything about HSLDA lobbying to make requirements more stringent, but I have seen them try to negotiate the best deal possible among bad legislative scenarios when it is clear that some form of unfavorable change is likely to be passed. And, I give them credit for being open about their lobbying on related issues. It's certainly not required that members participate in any of these activities or agree with their take on political issues, nor to they ask about church or political affiliation. It's like buying any other service; do your homework. The information about the group and the limitations on their services is easy to come by. It's up to individual families to decide whether or not their conscience permits them to associate with the group.

 

My own opinion is that HSLDA has harmed itself by going beyond simply representing homeschool families who have been unfairly targeted by hostile family, nut case neighbors, or power hungry bureaucrats. However, I think the organization does a decent job of separating their advocacy for hs families from the larger political lobbying, but there certainly is a connection between the two and that is a valid ethical concern. My advice is to read the fine print and know what is and is not covered by membership and consider whether or not the HSLDA outside activities are a "deal breaker" when it comes to whether or not you want to join. Maybe there is room for a secular alternative?

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Unless you are a Christian family, and I mean a documentably Christian family, HSLDA will not represent you. They will take your money, but they will not represent you.

 

I basically agree with your stance on HSLDA and I won't join either, Tara, but my understanding is that they absolutely do represent non-Christians and have done so on a number of occasions. However, they also will turn around not represent anyone they feel can't win or isn't important enough or isn't documented enough or whatever, so the idea that it's legal insurance is silly. Also, I have heard that you don't have to be a member to call them up and ask for legal advice and they have become involved on behalf of non-members in court cases before, though obviously they'll give you preferential treatment if you are a member.

 

As the OP asked for the pros and cons...

 

Pros:

 

They are a large, powerful organization with a lot of lawyers and lots of connections and can therefore very easily get the ear of any state legislature who is trying to change hs regs.

 

They helped craft regs in many states that are favorable to homeschoolers.

 

They help and represent many homeschoolers worldwide.

 

Membership isn't much and for that membership, if you ever have a minor legal issue with homeschooling - a paperwork problem or whatever - they'll make a few phone calls on your behalf as your "lawyer" that will often clear up issues that you probably could have cleared up, but with they do it in a fraction of the time and with a lot less hassle - because they're lawyers.

 

Their website has solid, useful information about homeschooling almost anywhere in the world.

 

If you're a conservative Christian and agree with their stance, for example, that "traditional marriage" needs to be protected then your money is going to support a wider set of causes that you'd probably like to support.

 

Cons:

 

They will not, as said before, always be on your side and will pick and choose cases according to what they can win.

 

They have a dubious reputation when it comes to defending unschoolers (they usually won't).

 

If you don't agree with their conservative politics, then you're giving money to an organization that has a homophobic agenda, among other things.

 

Some people believe that the legislation they've helped craft in some states is *not* always beneficial to homeschoolers, but instead supports getting more people to worry about the government and therefore become HSLDA members. Others say that because they generally don't support unschoolers, they've helped craft legislation that doesn't either.

 

Most people will tell you that you don't really need them. In the majority of states, the homeschooling regulations are relatively simple. If you get confused or run into minor trouble, most states have a statewide organization that can help you. It's very rare for people to really run into trouble with the state over homeschooling, but if you do, it's likely you'll have to get your own lawyer anyway.

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I've been a member for 4 years. I've heard the argument that since IL has such homeschool-friendly laws that I'm wasting my money. Well the last few weeks have shown me that the money has been worth it. Plus, I look at it as helping to support those in states with less-friendly homeschool laws.

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I think my parents are charter members...

 

There are things I don't like about HSLDA. There are things I very much do appreciate about HSLDA. I could say the same thing about nearly every homeschool organization, co-op, church, Christian, political, exclusive or inclusive group to which I've ever been a part of, though (and believe me, I've been in a wide variety of conference rooms with every shade and color on the political, Christian and racial spectrum...)

 

We are members. But, I don't support their position on public virtual schools, and I think some of their rhetoric is over the top. However, on balance, I feel that it is an organization that is needed and does pretty much what it sets out to do. I do wish they would keep their nose out of other issues... but I say that about a lot of political groups too.

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My understanding has been they're unwilling to defend/represent undocumented HOMESCHOOLERS, e.g. those who SAY they homeschool, but really just have truant kids and aren't doing anything at all at home...but if you are in compliance with state law and/or if you have at least made a 'good-faith' effort to comply, and you run into an issue, they'll represent you.

 

That is perfectly reasonable IMO and makes sense. I'm pleased to know this is the case.

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Here is an article that helped me clarify things. I will not be joining HSLDA.

 

http://hsislegal.com/

 

That site is a dedicated HSLSA hate site.

 

I have been a member for 13 years and have no complaints. The legislative alerts are usually concerning family law that could affect homeschooling and ones that absolutely will affect homeschooling.

 

I don't think they use scare tactics. Sometimes I will get an alert with a tone of urgency but that is because it needs to be acted on quickly because a vote is coming up.

 

They have requirements for who they will represent and using simple logic you can see why those requirements are there. These are not your personal attornies. They will defend the right to homeschool - EVERYONE's right. They will make sure your state or local school board is allowing you to homeschool according to your state's laws. The will defend good homeschool/family laws and go after one's that are potentially harmful to the right to homeschool.

 

If you have heard bad things about them but have never been a member - are they rumors or firsthand accounts from acquaintances? Don't forget that there are groups out there that do not want us to be able to homeschool and some may stoop to putting up fake stories or slander HSLDA for that cause.

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Unless the hs climate changes in our state, or I fall in with seriously pathological people who are out to get me, I would consider them a waste of money.

 

And, regardless of political ilk, I refuse as much as I can to have anything to do with organizations that are "about" one thing, but sweep in a bunch of other stuff.

 

I totally agree.

 

I don't think they use scare tactics. Sometimes I will get an alert with a tone of urgency but that is because it needs to be acted on quickly because a vote is coming up.

 

I somewhat disagree with this. I think they *do* use scare tactics. Take the state law map as an example. There are lots of "scary" orange states that barely have any requirements. I've fielded questions from people moving to North Carolina or Hawaii from a "green" state and they are scared to the point they are wondering whether they should let their husband move without them. That tells me that it does scare people, and I think it's HSLDA's intent in that case. I'm not blaming them for that, otherwise, how would you drum up business? But, it is what it is.

 

These are not your personal attorneys

 

That is key here and what a lot of people misunderstand. It's true that HSLDA will often make a phone call or two. HOWEVER, if you came into *real* legal need and needed to be represented in court? They could certainly refuse your case. It is not legal insurance. They are sort of like the ACLU, they take cases they deem to be important.

 

Their political lobbying outside of the realm of homeschooling makes supporting them a deal-breaker for me for now. But, I'm a never say never kind of girl. If I were moving somewhere extremely hostile, I might decide the benefits outweigh the negatives.

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That site is a dedicated HSLSA hate site.

 

I have been a member for 13 years and have no complaints. The legislative alerts are usually concerning family law that could affect homeschooling and ones that absolutely will affect homeschooling.

 

I don't think they use scare tactics. Sometimes I will get an alert with a tone of urgency but that is because it needs to be acted on quickly because a vote is coming up.

 

They have requirements for who they will represent and using simple logic you can see why those requirements are there. These are not your personal attornies. They will defend the right to homeschool - EVERYONE's right. They will make sure your state or local school board is allowing you to homeschool according to your state's laws. The will defend good homeschool/family laws and go after one's that are potentially harmful to the right to homeschool.

 

If you have heard bad things about them but have never been a member - are they rumors or firsthand accounts from acquaintances? Don't forget that there are groups out there that do not want us to be able to homeschool and some may stoop to putting up fake stories or slander HSLDA for that cause.

 

For this very same reason I ignore sites that are calumnious in nature. I cannot tell where they are coming from or if they have our children's best interest in mind. It just sounds like anger. They very well could be right, but since I have never needed them I cannot speculate. Everything I have heard has been somewhat positive from members.

We are really considering leaving our Charter school and since we live in California just to be up to current events joining them.

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If I'm thinking of the same map, the colors are based on how many calls they received with "problems", where active cases are, and possible legislation that is detrimental to homeschooling. I looked at the map and clicked my state and can see all the action that has taken place recently. I just see facts and info, no scare tactics.

 

Thank you for correcting my spelling. I knew that word didn't look right to me!

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If I'm thinking of the same map, the colors are based on how many calls they received with "problems", where active cases are, and possible legislation that is detrimental to homeschooling. I looked at the map and clicked my state and can see all the action that has taken place recently. I just see facts and info, no scare tactics.

 

No, that's a different map. I'm talking about the one that gives info on the state laws. It gives a key that explains the color scheme. BUT, I'm telling you from my experience that it makes people who live in green states extremely nervous to move to orange states, even though there are often very few requirements.

 

I live in NC (again). I have to register with the Department of Non-Public Education. I have to test each year. I have to keep some other records, but they are not necessarily allowed to see those. I lived in Hawaii, another orange state. I had to register with the schools that my children would have attended, I had to test them in the years they would have been tested in school.

 

Sure, it's more onerous than the states that don't require anything. BUT, it's also not at all scary or hostile.

 

Thank you for correcting my spelling. I knew that word didn't look right to me!

 

:D

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Do you live in a state where the SD has oversight vs. the state? I never get anything from the SD other than an occasional email from the PTA (who can't seem to take me off their mailing list) and the mass mailings that every taxpayer in the district gets.

 

 

Yes, I file my notification etc with the school district who actually has a position in administration called homeschool liason. He is a pain in my neck. I usually dread notification time.

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We were members for the last two years because of a stop that DCF made at our door. It was concerning a foster child we'd taken care of 4 years prior and who'd left our house right after his fifth birthday.

Even though we were not members nor was it a homeschool issue Chris Klicka took our call, held my hand and walked me through talking to the social worker. He made a few phone calls and helped us out.

When they showed up again with a new allegation that the little boy made he took our call and even talked to the police man that Ms. Snot brought to our door because we would not let her in. (The name of the social worker has been changed to protect her identity) :001_smile:

We only dropped our membership this year because of DH's unemployment.

I like the state map. I think that it spells the laws out when you click on the state. It uses the same wording the state uses. If I have a question I just call HSLDA for clarification.

They did put me in touch with a lawyer here in town who agreed to help us out if DCF came a knocking again about this little boy.

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And I share some of the concerns mentioned above. However, I am unaware of other alternatives that provide a similar level of representation and / or legal counsel in the event that such would be needed.

 

And since I live in Illinois - where there has been a lot of noise about HSing recently, I'd like to know what the options are.

 

Ellen - do you have any suggestions?

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And I share some of the concerns mentioned above. However, I am unaware of other alternatives that provide a similar level of representation and / or legal counsel in the event that such would be needed.

 

And since I live in Illinois - where there has been a lot of noise about HSing recently, I'd like to know what the options are.

 

Ellen - do you have any suggestions?

 

HLA

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Since this is also an overtly Christian organization, it doesn't solve the issue for anyone who is not a conservative Christian. I know less about HLA, so I can't comment about how they spend their money and resources, etc. (I have no problem with strange bedfellows, but HSLDA expends efforts on homophobic causes so I will not personally support them ever). However, I don't know of any secular alternatives to HSLDA - at least, not any serious ones. If anyone does, I'm all ears.

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Since this is also an overtly Christian organization, it doesn't solve the issue for anyone who is not a conservative Christian. I know less about HLA, so I can't comment about how they spend their money and resources, etc. (I have no problem with strange bedfellows, but HSLDA expends efforts on homophobic causes so I will not personally support them ever). However, I don't know of any secular alternatives to HSLDA - at least, not any serious ones. If anyone does, I'm all ears.

I'm sorry, I did not realise it was overtly Christian. Wasn't there another that was not based on any faith...simply homeschooling? I can't remember the name of it though...

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I have never heard anything about HSLDA lobbying to make requirements more stringent, but I have seen them try to negotiate the best deal possible among bad legislative scenarios when it is clear that some form of unfavorable change is likely to be passed.

 

 

I think this is spot on, Martha.

 

HSLDA has been activie where I live for the past 3 or so years because we were fighting against bad/ more restrictive bills. Because of a huge upset and change in control in our state legislature, homeschoolers are on the offensive and trying to decrease regulation.

 

HSLDA has supported a bill here that certainly is more free than what we have but is not *totally* free. The bill requires one-time notification (like in AZ) only. I had a 30 min. conversation with one of the HSLDA attorneys about why they want one-time vs. no notification. He told me that philosophically he thinks no notification is the best, but that one-time notification in most cases stops any further inquiry into homeschooling vs. truancy vs. educational neglect. So many more libertarian-leaning people in my state *hate* (and that is not too strong a word) HSLDA because they are willing to work within some parameters of government involvement in homeschooling (we have a lot of Free State people here).

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We belong to our state's secular homeschooling organization and they are regularly advising people, if they move, to join a state organization and not HSLDA. I need to review why they are against HSLDA, but I think it had something to do with education being a state issue in the U.S., and not a federal issue, and the tendency of HSLDA to keep trying to get free money from the gov't for homeschoolers -- there's no free lunch, they always remind us.

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We belong to our state's secular homeschooling organization and they are regularly advising people, if they move, to join a state organization and not HSLDA. I need to review why they are against HSLDA, but I think it had something to do with education being a state issue in the U.S., and not a federal issue, and the tendency of HSLDA to keep trying to get free money from the gov't for homeschoolers -- there's no free lunch, they always remind us.

 

Free money from the government for homeschoolers?

 

I think HSLDA would be the first to say there's no such thing.

 

I'm curious as to what your organization is talking about...

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I happen to be a conservative, devoted follower of Jesus Christ. Note that I did not say "Christian" as that term brings up a different perspective in the minds of all who hear the term. That being said, I appreciate the different takes on HSLDA. There are some views I had not been aware of before now. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and insights. I have some thinking to do. .....oh, no! More thinking?????? :001_huh::D

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No, that's a different map. I'm talking about the one that gives info on the state laws. It gives a key that explains the color scheme. BUT, I'm telling you from my experience that it makes people who live in green states extremely nervous to move to orange states, even though there are often very few requirements.

 

 

 

 

:D

I think you are referring to this map: http://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp

 

I don't see anything scary about the map or what it shows. I do think that moving from one state to another would make me nervous - no matter the color - because I would be unfamiliar with the laws of that state. I am also from an orange state and had questions about it from those in green states. The questions didn't come so much because of HSLDA maps and such, but from not being familiar with how homeschooling actually works in our state. After hearing stories of very restrictive states, and not always remembering which state I heard those stories about, I would be nervous to move out of my current state.

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I totally agree.

 

 

 

 

That is key here and what a lot of people misunderstand. It's true that HSLDA will often make a phone call or two. HOWEVER, if you came into *real* legal need and needed to be represented in court? They could certainly refuse your case. It is not legal insurance. They are sort of like the ACLU, they take cases they deem to be important.

To represent a person in court they must first have an attorney licensed in your state that is willing to represent HSLDA and be connected with them as well as represent you and your case. I don't know how that connection/alliance is made though. HSLDA does not have someone that they work with in every state so even with a valid reason, HSLDA may not be able to represent you if they don't have an attorney in your state.

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I think you are referring to this map: http://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp

 

I don't see anything scary about the map or what it shows. I do think that moving from one state to another would make me nervous - no matter the color - because I would be unfamiliar with the laws of that state. I am also from an orange state and had questions about it from those in green states. The questions didn't come so much because of HSLDA maps and such, but from not being familiar with how homeschooling actually works in our state. After hearing stories of very restrictive states, and not always remembering which state I heard those stories about, I would be nervous to move out of my current state.

 

I moved from a green state to a red state. I was very nervous about it at first. Ironically, I felt more of a need to be part of HSLDA in the green state than I do here, in the red state.

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