This past week I celebrated three months as the newest attorney at Home School Legal Defense Association. A homeschool grad myself, I still sometimes pinch myself while walking down the hallways.
I love advocating for the right to homeschool. And I love talking to homeschool parents as they navigate their state’s homeschool laws.
I’ve quickly discovered, though, that it often isn’t the parents who need a crash course on a state’s homeschool law—but an employer, college, or local public school superintendent.
That’s where we come in.
An Ohio Excuse Letter
One situation I helped with centered on an all-too-familiar theme. An Ohio mom filed her notice of intent to homeschool with the local public school district. She then waited to receive the letter excusing her children from compulsory attendance. Instead, the superintendent requested additional information.
The mom reached out to HSLDA in September.
We wrote to the superintendent explaining that the mom had provided everything required by Ohio law.
But the superintendent kept asking for more. He decided he needed evidence of her high school diploma and then (once we informed him that Ohio law did not require her to provide a physical copy) proof that the mom had withdrawn her children from public school.
The back and forth went on for months. But instead of the homeschool mom dealing with the superintendent alone, we took the lead and addressed every new claim.
She finally received her excuse letter in February.
A Kansas Job
Meanwhile, an Alabama homeschool graduate applied to work at a sheriff’s office in Kansas. They looked favorably upon her application but weren’t sure what to do with her homeschool diploma.
They wanted her to get hold of the Alabama Board of Education and have someone “verify” it.
So, the graduate’s mom reached out to us.
Within 24 hours we sent a letter explaining Alabama homeschool law and clarifying that the homeschool grad’s parent-issued high school diploma sufficed to guarantee her education.
The sheriff’s office replied an hour later to let us know they no longer had any problems with accepting her diploma.
A North Carolina Driver’s License
After moving to North Carolina from Virginia, another homeschooler ran into issues when she tried to transfer her driver’s license.
To get a driver’s license in North Carolina, homeschoolers must first get a form from the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education. But to get the form, a homeschooler must register with the state at least four months in advance. Except in this case, as new residents, her family had not been homeschooling in the state that long.
The student’s mom reached out to us.
We wrote a letter explaining Virginia homeschool law and verifying the family’s compliance. And when several weeks went by without an answer, we reached out to our contacts in the department to get a speedier resolution.
North Carolina now has another licensed driver.
It would be nice if all situations resolved as fast as the one in Kansas. Or if we always had a contact to call like in North Carolina. But the reality is that each case—and each timeline—looks different.
But that’s what I love about this job. I don’t know what the objection will look like, but I do know homeschool parents don’t need to face it alone. Whether it takes six months or one hour, we’re here to make homeschooling possible.