Legal/Homeschool Laws
Laws that regulate home education vary from state to state. It is important to understand the legal requirements in your state and to be aware of legislative and other legal issues that affect homeschoolers in your community. We've compiled resources that will help you become informed. Although homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, and the vast majority of homeschoolers face no problems, you may find that you need legal assistance at some point in your homeschooling career. We've compiled a list of resources to help you find the support you need. And if you'd like to become more involved in working towards homeschooling freedoms, we discuss some of the issues facing homeschoolers that we hope you find compelling.
State Laws
Read the laws regulating home education in Massachusetts and browse through the case law and legal opinions relating to those laws, along with government publications relating to homeschooling and summaries of the laws.
Forms
Which forms do you need to fill out? Where can you get them? Here is a list of useful forms for homeschooling in Massachusetts.
Legal Support
If you need legal information or have run into a legal situation regarding your decision to homeschool, these resources will be helpful.
Lobbying Groups
A listing of local and national lobbying groups and information on how you can become involved in the political process to ensure the freedom to homeschool is protected.
Attorneys
When searching for an attorney, it is helpful to know whether he or she has experience working with homeschoolers and is interested in protecting the right to homeschool.
Legal Issues
Is homeschooling legal? Which laws pertain to homeschoolers and which don't? How do homeschoolers protect their rights to freely educate their children and to preserve their privacy?
Government Resources
A listing of local and state government resources, including your state's Department of Education, school districts, and Senate and House of Representative information.
What's Popular
Brunelle, in Brief
A summary of the Brunelle decision and its effect on home education in Massachusetts.
The Role of School Policies and Forms
Home education policies are not laws nor contracts between schools and homeschoolers. Rather, they are tools for the administrative convenience of school officials. School districts are not required to have policies, but are free to deal with homeschoolers on a case-by-case basis.
Massachusetts Home Education: Information for Superintendents
Lists court rulings on home education in Massachusetts, a summary of guidelines for home education in Massachusetts, FAQ for Superintendents, relevant documents, and more.
MHLA and Legislation
The Massachusetts Home Learning Association lists its current and past lobbying issues and actions. Some years as many as 10,000 bills are filed before the Massachusetts State Legislature; typically only about 300 become law. Most simply die in committee. When evaluating news of threatening legislation, MHLA urges you to check facts and question everything. Once a volatile e-mail begins to move through a network, various assumptions and speculations appear in subsequent posts. These both get pas...
Court Rulings on Home Education in Massachusetts: Overview
A summary of the effects the Charles Decision and the Brunelle case have on homeschooling families in Massachusetts. Lists thirteen perspectives on the Charles and Brunelle decisions.
How to Withdraw Your Child from School in Vermont
If you want to start homeschooling during the school year and your child is currently enrolled in a public or private school, HSLDA recommends that you formally withdraw your child from that school. If you are going to start homeschooling after the school year is over, and your child is considered enrolled for the following year, we recommend that you withdraw your child before the next school year begins, so that the school does not mark your child as absent or truant.
Charles, in Brief
A summary of the Charles decision and its effort on home education in Massachusetts.
Ten Points from the Supreme Judicial Court's Decisions
A discussion of the Supreme Judicial Court's decisions (Charles and Brunelle) that affect homeschoolers.
Chapter 71: Section 3 Physical education.
Section 3. Physical education shall be taught as a required subject in all grades for all students in the public schools for the purpose of promoting the physical well-being of such students. Instruction in physical education may include calisthenics, gymnastics and military drill; but no pupil shall be required to take part in any military exercise if his parent or guardian is of any religious denomination conscientiously opposed to bearing arms, or is himself so opposed, and the school commi...
Massachusetts Home School Laws from HSLDA
The Home School Legal Defense Association provides a brief summary of the homeschooling laws in Massachusetts. Includes a link to a legal analysis of laws relating to homeschooling in Massachusetts.
Michael Brunelle et al., vs. Lynn Public Schools (1998)
The Charles decision left the door open on the question of whether or not home visits might be required as a condition of approval of a home education plan. In 1998, in the Brunelle vs. Lynn Public Schools, that question was settled: home visits could not be deemed "essential" in determining if education was taking place; therefore, home visits could not be required as a condition of approval. (The Court did not exclude the possibility that such visits might be required in exceptional cases.) In...
Compulsory School Age in Vermont
The laws in Vermont state that you must enroll your child in school from the day he or she turns 6 years old until he or she turns 16. This HSLDA article details the Vermont state compulsory school age regulations. 
Massachusetts Home Learning Association (MHLA)
The Massachusetts Home Learning Association is an advocacy and education organization, which endorses home learning as an alternative to public or private schooling. MHLA informs and educates families, school officials, the media, elected officers, policymakers and other constituencies about the benefits, societal impacts and unique educational methods of homeschoolers.
Perchemlides v. Frizzle (1978)
In Perchemlides v. Frizzle (1978), a Massachusetts court upheld the right of the nonreligious Perchemlides family to homeschool their young son. The court concluded that "the Massachusetts compulsory attendance statue might well be constitutionally infirm if it did not exempt students whose parents prefer alternative forms of education."
Charles Decision: Care and Protection of Charles (1987)
The 1987 Care and Protection of Charles decision of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (SJC) provided parents and school officials with guidelines for the process of approval of home education. The town of Canton filed a petition for care and protection, with respect to education, of two homeschooled children. The details of the case are spelled out in the decision itself. The Court, after providing guidelines by which school officials might evaluate home education plans, required Canto...
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