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J. Michael Smith


Mike Smith is an attorney, speaker, and homeschool movement leader with over 30 years of passionate advocacy for homeschooling families.

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Why You Want Mike for Your Event

  • As HSLDA’s attorney for California and Nevada, Mike talks with homeschooling families every day and works tirelessly to preserve and advance their rights.
  • A U.S. Navy veteran, Mike helped found HSLDA back in 1983 and has been leading both the organization and the homeschool movement ever since.
  • Along with Heather Frommack, he hosts HSLDA’s podcast, Homeschool Talks.
  • Mike and his wife homeschooled three of their four children.
TRAVELS FROMWashington, D.C.
HONORARIUMMike 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: $250 per session

Local Support Group: $500

Graduation: $500

Sessions by J. Michael Smith

Life and death is in the power of tongue. Negative, condemning words or withholding praise and affirmation can leave deep scars. 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. Mike uses James 3:1–10 as a model for how we use words to edify and build up rather than to tear down. He also explores some ways that we might use our tongue to injure our children—and how we can instead use our tongue as an instrument of blessing. The talk’s goal is to help you develop a relationship with your child that lasts forever. BOOK THIS SESSION
45–60 minutes
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 homeschooling parents than to specific direction on how to homeschool. However, there are specific application principles that will be given in a 1–2–3 format to help those who like to take away specific points to overcome one of the greatest enemies of homeschooling parents: fear of failure. BOOK THIS SESSION
45–60 minutes
This session offers 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, Mike outlines the success of homeschooling in academics and socialization, describes legal and legislative advances, and concludes that homeschooling families have earned the right to be left alone. He reminds listeners 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.” BOOK THIS SESSION
45–60 minutes
Parental rights and religious freedom are the two pillars of parents’ constitutional rights to teach their children at home—but can they withstand a new threat to homeschool freedom? In this session, Mike explains how homeschool freedom was established and reveals why it’s still in jeopardy. BOOK THIS SESSION
45–60 minutes
Many parents in the midst of homeschooling wonder how they can determine whether they are successful or not with their children. Mike explains in very clear and decisive terms how you can measure the success of your homeschool program. Drawing on biblical texts and principles, Mike encourages to homeschooling parents facing lack of confidence or fear of failure. BOOK THIS SESSION
45–60 minutes
Have any of your children demonstrated a tendency toward anger or a bad temper? If so, this session is 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. Mike also delineates the five steps that lead to rebellion. BOOK THIS SESSION
45–60 minutes
Many homeschooling parents confess that the most difficult thing for their family is balancing all the responsibilities the family has. This workshop approaches this challenge from a biblical perspective. Mike explains the key to solving the time crunch and defeating the frustration of feeling like a failure because you have not accomplished your goals and objectives. BOOK THIS SESSION
45–60 minutes
In light of the government’s ever-growing encroachment into family life and decision-making, the information presented in this seminar is critical. Drawing on over two decades of experience defending homeschooling families against social services and child protective service contacts, Mike informs 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.” BOOK THIS SESSION
45–60 minutes
Almost every father has heard that he must lead his family spiritually, physically, and in every other way. However, many fathers will tell you that no one has ever shown them how to effectively lead their children, especially in the area of spiritual development. Mike presents encouraging and practical tips to fathers for becoming a leader in the home and a helpful participant in the homeschool program. He also offers suggestions to men on being more effective 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!” BOOK THIS SESSION
45–60 minutes
Mike shares some of the legal and academic history of the early homeschool movement and addresses some of the trends in homeschooling that could have a profound negative impact on the long-term effect of the movement. Drawing from both his personal experience and research, he encourages the new, struggling, or veteran homeschool family. A must-listen for anyone considering homeschooling or considering leaving homeschooling, Mike takes you from laughter to tears and everything in between and leaves you with memorable thoughts to inspire your own homeschool journey. BOOK THIS SESSION
45–60 minutes


Mike 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 and graduated from the University of Arkansas. Upon graduation, he entered the U.S. Navy and served for three years before attending law school at the University of San Diego. He graduated in 1972 and was admitted to practice law in the state of California shortly thereafter. He is licensed in Virginia, California, and Washington, D.C. 

In 1981, Mike’s life changed drastically when he heard a radio program that introduced him to the idea of homeschooling. Mike and his wife began homeschooling one year at a time to meet the academic and social needs of their children. After several years, however, it became obvious that God had exposed the Smith family to homeschooling for many other benefits, including spiritual development and family integrity. All of Mike’s children are now grown, and three of the four were homeschooled.

When he started with HSLDA, Mike began defending homeschooling in California both in court and before the legislature. In 1987 he came to HSLDA full-time, serving as its vice president until 2001, when he became its president. In addition to serving as President of HSLDA, he also is HSLDA’s lawyer for California, Nevada, and Puerto Rico.

Mike’s favorite part of his job is going to homeschool conferences and meeting those he calls America’s greatest heroes—homeschooling moms.

Overwhelmed? Want help choosing?

Tell us a few details and we can help you pick the best speaker for your event. — Chloe Powers, HSLDA Event Coordinator