J. Michael Smith
President


Michael Smith and his wife Elizabeth, along with Michael Farris and his wife, Vickie, incorporated Home School Legal Defense Association in 1983 and were the original board members. Mike grew up in Arkansas, graduated from the University of Arkansas where he played basketball, majoring in business administration. Upon graduation, he entered the U.S. Navy and served three years before attending law school at the University of San Diego.

In 1972, he was admitted to the bar in California and also has been admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States. He is licensed in Virginia, California, and Washington, D.C.

Mike and his family began homeschooling because their 5-year-old flunked kindergarten. This was quite a disappointment to Mike in light of the fact that he was preparing this child to be President of the United States by starting his education as early as possible.

His family's life changed drastically when he heard a radio program in 1981 which introduced him to the idea of homeschooling. When they started homeschooling, they began homeschooling one year at a time to meet the academic and social needs of their children. After spending lots of time around people like Mike Farris, he became convinced he had been called to use his gifts and talents in the legal profession to assist homeschoolers who were being prosecuted because they didn't hold a teacher's certificate or satisfy the school district that they could competently teach their children.

Mike came to HSLDA full-time in 1987 and has served as president of the organization since the year 2001. In addition to serving as president, he also is a contact lawyer for California, Nevada and Puerto Rico. All of Mike’s children are now grown, and three of the four were homeschooled. The most enjoyable part of Mike’s job is when he is able to go to homeschool conferences and meet what he calls America’s greatest heroes, homeschooling moms.



Title:Balancing Responsibilities for the Busy Homeschool Family
Length:45—60 minutes
Type:General Session, Workshop
Topic:Encouragement, Motivational, Parenting, Spiritual
Audience:All, New Homeschoolers, Veteran Homeschoolers
Description:Many homeschoolers confess that the most difficult thing for the homeschooling family is to balance all the responsibilities the family has. This workshop will approach this challenge from a strictly biblical perspective. Mike Smith will explain that the key to solving the time crunch is establishing priorities, and how to carry out those priorities. This is an essential workshop. Lives will be changed, schedules will be met, and families, many for the first time, will go through days, months and years without the frustration of feeling like a failure because you have not accomplished your goals and objectives.

Title:Homeschooling and Parental Rights—Freedom Under Fire
Length:45—60 minutes
Type:General Session, Keynote, Q & A, Workshop
Topic:Encouragement, Legal, Legislative, Lobbying, Motivational
Audience:All, New Homeschoolers, Veteran Homeschoolers
Description:Parental rights and religious freedom have been the two foundations to establish a constitutional right for parents to teach their children at home. The U.S. Supreme Court some years back weakened the free exercise of religion claim as a foundation for homeschooling so that in order for homeschoolers to claim a fundamental right to homeschool, they must be able to combine the free exercise right with the parental rights claim. In other words, both rights have to co—exist. Currently, this is not a problem, but because of the fragile nature of freedom, moral decay, complacency and apathy, homeschooling freedoms are in jeopardy. An additional threat that is brewing but not well known, is the opposition to homeschooling from the intellectual elites, e.g., law and college professors. This opposition is based on a belief that the state, through public schools, should have access to all children to teach tolerance for others, which leads to collectivism. Homeschoolers are in their cross—hairs. We are clearly at risk.

Title:How Do We Measure Success in Homeschooling?
Length:45—60 minutes
Type:General Session, Keynote, Support Group Leaders, Workshop
Topic:Encouragement, Motivational, Parenting, Spiritual
Audience:New Homeschoolers, Parents, Support Group Leaders, Veteran Homeschoolers
Description:Why aren’t your Christian neighbors homeschooling? What is the number one reason that parents do not homeschool? Their lack of confidence to believe that they can actually do the job, or, put another way—fear of failure. Many homeschoolers in the midst of homeschooling are wondering how they will be able to determine whether they are successful or not with their children. Mike will explain in very clear and decisive terms how you can know whether or not you have been successful when you get to the end of your homeschool experience where it says “The End.” One way to answer the question is whether or not our work homeschooling with our children has been in vain. The Bible gives clear and decisive direction in this area which should be very encouraging to all of us, and hopefully give us encouragement in even the most difficult situations.

Title:How to Protect Your Family Against a Truant Officer or Social Worker Visit
Length:45—60 minutes
Type:Workshop
Topic:Child Protective Services, Dealing with Social Workers, Legal
Audience:New Homeschoolers, Parents, Support Group Leaders, Veteran Homeschoolers
Description:As the government’s ever—growing role expands to encompass family life and decision—making, the information presented in this seminar is critical for every attendee. Michael Smith calls upon over two decades of defending homeschooling families against social services and child protective service contacts to inform the audience of the newest threat to their freedom. This session primarily addresses your state’s laws relating to social services contacts and provides general application for other states as well. Audiences find this session “very, very informative,” “clearly presented, enjoyable to listen to,” and “a necessity.”

Title:Remembering the Reason, Renewing the Vision
Length:45—60 minutes
Type:General Session
Topic:Motivational, Why Homeschool
Audience:All
Description:A general overview of the challenges, burdens, and benefits of homeschooling from a veteran homeschool father and leader. Addressing the potential homeschooler, the new homeschooler, the veteran homeschooler and all homeschoolers in between, Michael Smith outlines the success of homeschooling in academics and socialization, describes legal and legislative advances, and concludes that homeschoolers have earned the right to be left alone. For homeschoolers who are losing the vision, he reminds them of the benefits of homeschooling and offers some practical suggestions for relieving the pressure on the homeschooling family, especially Mom. “Thank you for confirming the experience of my public education,” writes one parent, “and for convicting us even more of our commitment to bettering the lives of our children.”

Title:The Angry Child: What Ticks Johnny Off?
Length:45—60 minutes
Type:General Session, Workshop
Topic:Parenting, Spiritual
Audience:Parents
Description:Have any of your children demonstrated a tendency toward anger or a bad temper? If so, this session is absolutely essential for you. Anger is a God—given emotion and did not come about as a result of the Fall. However, the Bible says, “Be angry, and sin not.” This talk addresses anger from a biblical perspective, focusing on the positive and negative aspects of anger. Michael Smith also delineates the five steps that lead to rebellion.

Title:The Greatest Deterrent to Homeschooling—Fear and Inadequacy
Length:45—60 minutes
Type:Workshop
Topic:Encouragement, Motivational, Parenting, Spiritual
Audience:All, New Homeschoolers
Description:This presentation is based upon scriptural principles gleaned from King Jehoshaphat of Judah and the teachings of Jesus Christ. This session involves more of a general encouragement and challenge to homeschoolers than to specific direction on how to homeschool. However, there will be specific application principles that will be given in a 1—2—3 etc. format to help those who like to take away specific points to overcome fear of failure, one of the greatest enemies of homeschooling moms.

Title:The Power of Praise with Our Children
Length:45—60 minutes
Type:Workshop
Topic:Encouragement, Parenting, Spiritual
Audience:All
Description:Life and death is in the power of tongue. Deep scars can occur as a result of negative, condemning words and withholding of praise and affirmation. The goal of this talk is to ensure that our children do not grow up feeling rejection from us as parents because of bad communication. This talk uses James 3:1–10 as a model for how we use words to edify and build up rather than to tear down. The talk will explore some ways that we use our tongue to injure our children and how we can use our tongue as an instrument of blessing. The talk’s goal is to develop a relationship with our child that lasts forever.

Title:What Can Dads do to Make Mom Successful in Homeschooling?
Length:45—60 minutes
Type:Workshop
Topic:Encouragement, Parenting, Spiritual
Audience:Fathers, Support Group Leaders
Description:Almost every father has heard that he is to lead his family spiritually, physically, and in every other way. However, many fathers will tell you that no one has ever told them how to effectively lead their children, especially in the area of spiritual development. Michael Smith presents encouraging and practical tips to fathers for becoming a helpful participant in the home education program and a leader in the home. He provides insight on the mental and emotional benefits to mothers and children fathers can provide through specific activities, and offers suggestions to men on being more effective as husbands. Mike candidly shares his many failures and a few successes. The session concludes with a list of the six things homeschooling mothers have identified as the primary ways their husbands can be more effective in the family’s homeschool program. In one father’s words, “Inspiring and convicting—thanks for the straight talk!”


If you would like to schedule Mike Smith as a speaker for your upcoming event, contact his legal assistant at 540–338–5600. Mike is willing to speak up to four times over a two–day conference.


Mike requires the host to pay for his travel and hotel expenses. Mike will speak up to four times with one session being a general or large group session. His speaking fees are as follows:

  • Convention Honorarium: $250 per session
  • Local Support Group Honorarium: $500
  • Graduation Honorarium: $500

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