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HSLDA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, tax-exempt, religious, membership organization that advocates for homeschooling, defends the civil rights of homeschoolers, and provides assistance to homeschoolers in hard times. We are governed by a board and no profits inure to the benefit of any employees or board members. Membership dues are not tax-deductible, but as a 501(c)(3), we are able to receive tax-deductible donations. Learn more about HSLDA here.

In general, homeschooling only becomes an issue in a divorce case when the parents cannot agree with each other about the children’s education, and it’s typically only one of many issues over which parents disagree. It is outside HSLDA’s mission to say which parent should be able to determine how the children are educated when the parents disagree. In these cases, the judge must decide what is best for the children based on the evidence before him or her.

When a divorce occurs after the parents have joined HSLDA as a married couple, because both parents are or have been HSLDA members, we cannot ethically represent an interest contrary to either spouse, even though one may be trying to keep the other from homeschooling.

We provide a free information packet containing research on domestic and custody cases involving homeschooling, and where there is no conflict of interest, we will consult with our member’s personal attorney on homeschooling issues. Contact us to request the packet or ask about attorney consultation for your situation.

As a parent considering homeschooling your child who has special needs, does your decision hinge on the accessibility of services like occupational, speech, or other therapy or evaluations? We get that—so here’s a quick summary of the options available to you and your child.

Although HSLDA doesn’t generally recommend it, you can often get special education assistance through public school programs. These programs include any services funded by state or federal dollars though your local school district, whether the services are provided in your own home or at the school.

While you can obtain an evaluation for special education needs in every state, only about half of the states require services to be provided to homeschool students. See your state’s special needs provision here.

Parents who choose to homeschool already have a lot on their plates, and, in HSLDA’s experience, many families have found that public school services come with strings (and potential legal difficulties) attached. So it is best to choose a private service provider whenever possible.

If your child is currently receiving public special education services, you may wish to begin transitioning to private sources for your child’s special education needs. There are many different paths available to obtain a private service provider. You can learn more about locating one here.

HSLDA members can reach out to our Special Needs Consultants to get in touch with a local special education professional.

Concerned about being able to afford services? You might be interested in applying for one of HSLDA’s Compassion Curriculum Grants.

If you would like to learn more about homeschooling a child with special needs, we invite you to check out our Special Needs page. We’ve got lots of resources and support for your homeschooling journey, from start to finish!

HSLDA’s mission is primarily to advance homeschooling rights, and this extends to helping families whose decision to homeschool subjects them to suspicions of abuse or neglect.

For example, sometimes a report to child protective services (CPS) arises from a misunderstanding about homeschooling—a neighbor may see children playing outside during school hours and think that the parents are allowing them to be truant. Whether the report indicates actual abuse is occurring or not, some CPS investigators and law enforcement personnel then insist they be allowed to interview the children and search the family’s home without a warrant. They may refuse to tell the parents the allegations against them and, if the parents are hesitant about allowing the interview or home visit, may use threats of removing the children to get the parents to comply.

We agree with what the United States Court of Appeals said in the Calabretta case: “The government’s interest in the welfare of children embraces not only protecting children from physical abuse, but also protecting children’s interest in the privacy and dignity of their homes and in the lawfully exercised authority of their parents.”

However, current CPS and judicial practice often treats child abuse investigations as an exception to traditional constitutional rules that protect children and parents from unnecessary government intervention, especially during the early stages of a CPS investigation. We assist our members in these initial contacts with CPS investigators to ensure that their constitutional rights are protected.

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BIO

Abby Ryan

Abby is a freelance writer and artist who handles nonmember inquiries about homeschooling and creates social media content for HSLDA.
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