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?
Political and Legal Support for Homeschoolers in Massachusetts
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 passed on as facts and put in quotation marks as direct quotes. That's how rumors (and panics) start. Even though a posting may come from a well-intentioned homeschooler, you can’t automatically assume that its contents are accurate.
Current News
Current News is a section of the AHEM website that offers information on current legislative issues.
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.
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.
Alliance for the Separation of School & State
An advisory group concerned with educating people about the need to eliminate government involvement in education and the rights of parents to educate their own children. On this site, you will find a public proclamation for the separation of school and state, which you can sign.
National Charter School Watch List
This list is created to be a means of informing, documenting and evaluating available information concerning the impact of virtual/charter schools on the homeschooling community. This information consists of and is not limited to news items, articles from various sources, legislative information (bills, law changes), documented efforts and experiences and other information that may give weight to whether home-based charter schools or virtual schools are having an impact in any negative way on homeschooling.
Legal Issues Affecting the Homeschool Community
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.
On Jumping Through Hoops
Most books and articles on home education are quick to point out that homeschooling is legal--in one form or another-- in all fifty states. Parents might have to jump through more hoops in one state than in another, but, as long as they're willing to jump through those hoops, they are allowed to teach their own children at home. But are these hoops actually necessary?
The Seduction of Homeschooling Families
Do the public school authorities feel threatened by homeschooling? Judging by their efforts to lure homeschooling families into dependence on local school districts, the answer is apparently yes.
Together We Stand Free
Details the importance of support alternative educational choices, including private schools and vouchers, along with homeschooling.
Homeschooling Litigation: Preparing the Way
The greatest obstacle pioneering homeschoolers faced two decades ago was daunting: in most states home education wasn't legal. This article details five of the most significant cases that have become landmark decisions in the move towards homeschooling freedoms: the DeJonge case in Michigan, the Jeffery case in Pennsylvania, the Diegel case in Ohio, the Triple E case in South Carolina, and the Calabretta case in California.
Tips for Writing Your Education Plan
Practical ideas and tips for composing your education plan, with some examples of key phrases and paragraphs you may wish to use.
The Seduction of Homeschooling Families
Do the public school authorities feel threatened by homeschooling? Judging by their efforts to lure homeschooling families into dependence on local school districts, the answer is apparently yes. For the last several years, homeschooling has been the fastest growing educational alternative in the country. The sheer number of homeschoolers represent a distinct threat to the hegemony of the government school monopoly. Qualitatively, the academic success of homeschoolers, measured by standardized test scores and recruitment by colleges, debunk the myth that parents need to hire credentialed experts to force children to learn.
Social Security's New Home School Flow Chart
For some years, the Social Security Administration has permitted home schoolers to receive benefits in some cases. The agency used a fuzzy test involving several different factors. New documents from the Social Security Administration indicate that the agency has a much better defined policy in place now.
Massachusetts Department of Education Draft Advisory on Home Education
On June 9, 2003, a representative from Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts joined representatives from other homeschooling organizations to discuss the current DOE Draft Advisory on homeschooling. The advisory is the document the DOE submits to individuals seeking information about homeschooling in Massachusetts. The document's intent, according to the DOE, is to provide a neutral analysis of homeschooling law, and to answer the most commonly asked questions about homeschooling. Many homeschooling groups, including AHEM, have taken issue with various sections of the draft.
How to Suppress Homeschooling
The education establishment has realized that the socialization issue will be seen for the red herring that it is, and has searched for other means to suppress homeschooling. Two new strategies have emerged, and these pose real threats to homeschooling. The first strategy is to argue that homeschooling needs some form of accreditation. A number of reasons have been offered: it eases the transition back to the public school for those homeschoolers who go back, it is the basis for awarding a recognized diploma, and it makes it easier to provide homeschoolers access to public school programs and facilities such as science classes, libraries, sports, etc. But accreditation is simply another word for conforming, and the desire to not conform is the fundamental reason for choosing to homeschool. Homeschoolers as a group will not be seduced nor will they be tricked by the false promises of accreditation. The second strategy for suppressing homeschooling is one that is much more likely to be successful, and it is to drastically limit homeschoolers’ access to public higher education. In this, the education establishment has discovered its only effective weapon against homeschooling.
Political Influence
Every important movement or trend in this country was followed by an onslaught of legislative actions which resulted in some legal stipulations that controlled the trend. What is really of concern is that this legislative control is not static, but very fluid, subject to change (meaning more restrictions in many cases). These changes occur through either more legislative actions on the part of the government or through interpretation in the judicial system. Currently, the homeschool movement is being closely monitored by various teacher unions, the public and legislative bodies throughout the United States, resulting in more and more laws being passed to control or monitor the movement. If the homeschool movement is to survive in a manner which we feel would be beneficial to us and society as a whole, we have to be more and more diligent in protecting our rights. The only way we can do this is to be more active in the political process. The question now becomes, how do we do this?
Stand for Freedom
Some veteran home educators seem to take a firm stand on principles that others don't even recognize as issues. Is it that they are just stubborn, rebellious, or cantankerous? Probably not.
The Politics of Survival: Home Schoolers and the Law
Twenty years ago, home education was treated as a crime in almost every state. Today, it is legal all across America, despite strong and continued opposition from many within the educational establishment. How did this happen? This paper traces the legal and sociological history of the modern home school movement, and then suggests factors that led to this movement's remarkable success.
Featured Resources

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