For those of you who don’t know, HSLDA stands for the Homeschool Legal Defense Alliance. Many Christian families join HSLDA for legal ‘protection’, should the need arise. Many other families are completely against HSLDA and what it stands for because it is exclusive. Still others feel like it is a waste of money because they live in “lax” states.
Every year around this time, this topic comes up in our homeschooling group. This is what I always tell new homeschooling parents:
Why You Should Join HSLDA. . .
HSLDA is (in their own words) an advocacy organization. This means that they advocate for the rights of homeschoolers. They advocate for homeschoolers in dealing with local officials and in court. However, they are more than just a legal representation team. They also advocate for the rights of homeschoolers on Capitol Hill, in the state legislature and elsewhere.
Therefore, the dollars you spend on membership dues go towards all of these activities. They go towards paying for lawyers to represent home schooling families in court. They go towards legal consultations through the home schooling process. But you should know that your dollars also go towards lobbying on Capitol Hill not only for the rights of homeschoolers, but for the Conservative Christian political agenda.
You should support HSLDA if you agree with the Conservative Christian Political Agenda and want to support lobbying for these causes, some of which have nothing to do with homeschooling.
Why You Shouldn’t Join HSLDA. . .
You should not join HSLDA as a form of “legal insurance” against any would be home schooling problems. They even state that they are NOT to be considered as such. They do not in fact take every home schooling case that comes up–most notably–they will not take home schooling cases involving custody battles. There are good reasons for this which are outlined on their website.
On the other hand, they will take cases, even of non-members when they feel like the case violates someone’s constitutional rights. They are interested in advocating for home schooling–regardless of whether or not you are a member.
You shouldn’t join HSLDA if you want “guaranteed” legal protection. This simply is not what your membership is for.
Nothing I’ve stated here is something you couldn’t find on their website. There are benefits to joining, such as discounts on certain home schooling magazines as well as their own newsletter that keeps you up to date on legislative issues.
I personally really like HSLDA. They are a sharp group of people who articulately communicate one aspect of the home schooling movement. Even further, they were all either home schooled or are home schooling parents. I think it’s important for a home schooled generation to speak up in government, in politics and elsewhere to ensure that the rest of us continue to have this freedom.
However, I recognize that not every homeschooler is a conservative Christian and even further that not every conservative Christian would feel the same about a given political issue. You need to research carefully the causes and legislation that they are involved in. If you decide that HSLDA is not for you, be assured that should you need legal representation, there are many, many lawyers that will represent homeschoolers.