Homeschooling’s amazing growth in recent years has attracted the attention of the national media. They want to know how the movement works, and they want something to be done about it.

We can explain homeschooling’s success in a single word: freedom.

Homeschooling not only provides parents the flexibility to help their children thrive, its very existence depends on freedom. This is why Home School Legal Defense Association takes issue with recent coverage of homeschooling and calls for more regulation.

It’s quite possible that this media pressure is having an effect. So far this legislative season we have asked members to monitor or take action against 17 bills in 10 states that seek to impose extra restrictions on homeschooling.

Restrictions limit the ability of parents to adapt homeschooling to accommodate their children’s unique needs, abilities, and interests. (Our head of research, Dr. Steven Duvall, wrote about that here.) In the same way, enacting more rules only makes it harder for families to provide unique opportunities that help children reach their full potential. 

And though we don’t like to criticize government officials, we must point out that in states with high levels of homeschool regulations, these restrictions often promote confusion that can result in authorities harassing families.

Bad Example

HSLDA has also helped hundreds of homeschool families who, after moving within or even out of New York, were contacted by public school officials from the district where they used to reside. Most recently, a member family was threatened with a CPS investigation by officials from the county they hadn’t lived in for over a year.

This family was accused of child neglect for failing to send homeschool paperwork to officials in their former place of residence. The thing is, the family had notified officials that they were moving and that, consequently, they would no longer be submitting paperwork there.

Even more bizarre was the case of a Canadian family who were considering a move to New York, and simply asked officials at a New York public school district what the homeschool requirements were. Though the family never actually moved away from Canada, they were reported to New York CPS for possible neglect—apparently because they never submitted any of the many homeschool documents required in the Empire State.

Even these examples pale compared to what happened in New York City some years ago. The metropolis established a separate office for homeschool compliance but failed to staff it adequately. Delays in processing homeschool paperwork resulted in innocent families being accused of neglect and coming under investigation. The situation didn’t improve until HSLDA sued and the city entered a consent decree to clean up its act.

Focus on Flexibility

In 2023, it was officials at Vermont’s Department of Education who argued for easing homeschool regulations because they couldn’t keep up with the paperwork state law generated.

Ohio also streamlined its homeschool law last year, with the goal of eliminating regulations that had been the cause of many conflicts between parents and public school districts.

We’re excited about how these reforms are helping families, especially as we reflect on recent stories showing creative ways homeschool parents have benefited their students.

Homeschooling helped a Texas teen overcome multiple health issues and excel as a ballet student and community activist. She was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal for her achievements.

A Pennsylvania student worked with his parents to craft a homeschool program intended to make him a competitive candidate for acceptance into the US Military Academy. He is now a West Point cadet and is training to become an infantry officer.

These students’ stories might have turned out differently if their parents had not been free to let them explore their passions. For the sake of children like these, HSLDA remains opposed to increased government regulation of homeschooling.

Having witnessed how freedom blesses families, we remain dedicated to the cause of homeschool liberty.