The Center for Homeschool Liberty (CHL) is a ministry that helps homeschool families with legal issues. Click here to skip down to the most five most common legal questions about homeschooling. (Do you know the answers?)
CHL is an outreach of the National Center for Life and Liberty. The CHL team includes a large group of full-time attorneys and more than 200 additional affiliated attorneys throughout the United States.
Start your membership to the Center for Homeschool Liberty for only $35 a year.
Benefits of Membership in CHL
Sonlight does not have an affiliate relationship with CHL (i.e., we don't gain anything financially if you become a CHL member). We just think it's a good service that could be a great help to you in your homeschool journey.
As a member of the Center for Homeschool Liberty, you'll have a hotline telephone number available 24 hours-a-day should any challenges arise.
In addition, CHL members receive free litigation services from the Center for Homeschool Liberty in cases that advance the liberty of homeschooling in America, subject to CHL's analysis and approval of your case.
Most legal matters related to homeschooling and Christian liberty are resolved quickly without court action. Often, CHL attorneys can successfully defend an attack by contacting local officials on behalf of their member. If a homeschooling court case is necessary, CHL provides full representation every step of the way. Members can take comfort in knowing they enjoy full legal protection for homeschooling and Christian liberty issues.
As a member, you will also get access to a comprehensive website with homeschool laws for your state.
The 5 most frequently asked homeschool legal questions
- Can I homeschool my special needs child? Can I get services through the public schools for my special needs child?
- Can I homeschool other people's children?
- I want my child to participate in sports and extracurricular activities at the public school. Can I?
Currently eighteen states allow access to public school activities, including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming. In other states, regulations vary widely, from a passive consent to a vehement denial. Check with your school to see what else may be required, should you choose to participate.
If you live in a prohibitive state, your choices may be limited to private teams or clubs. Where this has been challenged in the courts, they have held that our kids don't have a constitutional right to participate.
- My son has applied to a trade school and they say he is required to have a GED. Is this true?
- I am divorced and homeschool my children. My spouse wants me to put the children in school. What can I do?
The answer to the first question is a resounding, "Yes." In fact, many parents are finding this to be a superior solution. Your child will receive greater one-on-one time and will not be subject to the stigma of receiving a label in the school system. Please do learn about the challenge you are facing and learn the best ways to help your child!
As far as getting services for special needs through the public school, the answer is, "Maybe." If you are in a state where homeschoolers are considered to be private schools, you may approach the public school to request an evaluation for special services. The public school cannot, however, require you to submit to an evaluation. As with all matters involving public funds, if you are going to seek an evaluation, approach the school as soon as you can. Funding goes first to enrolled students. Then a proportionate share is distributed among private schools and homeschoolers.
Probably, but you must specifically check your state's laws. In some states it is quite common. In some states, the parents of the other children need to disclose your name as primary teacher on their Notice of Intent.
If you will be bringing other children into your home, you will want to take some other precautions. First, have a written agreement with the parents as to what services you will and will not supply, and who is responsible for what. Second, check with your homeowner's insurance to make sure that the child and their family will be covered in the event of an accident while on your premises. This is especially important if you will be paid for your teaching services. Finally, there may be zoning restrictions in your area regarding what activity can be done in your home. Check with your state or village zoning department to be sure.
The Higher Education Act Amendments of 1998 (Pub. L. No. 105-244) places homeschooled college applicants for admissions and financial aid on the same footing as traditionally schooled applicants. In the past, many colleges and other institutions were instructed by federal officials that they were required to have homeschool graduates take the GED in order for the college to qualify for federal financial aid.
Congress thus created an option for non-traditional graduates to demonstrate that they had the "ability to benefit" from federal financial aid. (Pub. L. No. 105-244, Section 483.) This option allows students who have "completed a secondary school education in a home school setting that is treated as a home school or a private school under state law" to receive financial aid. 20 U.S.C. § 1091(d)(3).
Thus, if the prospective school receives any type of federal financial aid (and who doesn't), they may not require the GED, but must give equal recognition to the homeschool diploma.
We receive a growing number of calls concerning divorce where one parent wishes to continue home educating but the other does not. Legally our ministry cannot intervene to represent one party or the other, as this is essentially a dispute between the parents. Marriage is a contract between the parties and when that contract is broken by divorce, the judge in the case, absent an agreement, will look at what is in the best interest of the child. We are carefully following a pivotal case pending in New Hampshire (Korowski) where a judge ordered a child to attend public school in accordance with the wishes of her father.
Start your membership to the Center for Homeschool Liberty.