I’ve been looking around trying to identify some leaders in homeschool websites and communities. I’m not looking at the new social media, I’m focusing on the more traditional web-based approaches.
- Homeschool.com – They seem to be #1 in most people’s minds.
- HSLDA – These are a polarizing group which uses scare tactics and speaks for one segment.
- Ann Zeiss – One of the old ladies of homeschooling. A2ZHomeschooling.com is her site.
- Mary Pride – Another pioneer and old lady of homeschooling. She wrote one of the most popular books on homeschooling. Her site is Homeschool World.
- New sites: HomeschoolMom, Letshomeschoolhighschool, homeschoolliterature, secularhomeschool, – there ar many of these
- Curriculum sites with communities. Many of these are well done: TehWellTrainedMInd, Time4Learning.net, etc etc
There are some sites that review the state laws and do it while trying to sell homeschool legal insurance. I don’t want to say that it’s a scam but they certainly have a strong commercial interest to emphasize the risks and oversteps by the government so that they can collect more insurance premiums. Some sites also have a very political agenda.
The A2Z Homeschooling site is unusual in that it is simply a resource for the homeschool community which is not trying to overstate (or understate) the rules and regulations. I’d recommend them as a great way to get to understand the state by state homeschooling laws. (DISCLOSURE. I’m affiliated with them but I would recommend the site anyway). However, no website could possibly be comprehensive enough to address all the legal questions. And I quote:
“It is important to home school legally!
Laws for Homeschooling by State, Province, or Country
Mobile-accessible list to find homeschool laws easily by political region. It is important to read the actual laws for homeschooling in your political region. Each is different from any other region, though there may some overlap in requirements.
How to Know Which Laws to Follow
If you have been in a state long enough to be legally required to have that state’s license plate on your vehicle, or are required to have that state’s driver’s license, then you should also follow that state’s homeschool law. If your primary residence is in a state where you vote and pay taxes, consider that your home state. There is no statutory definition for principal residence in the Tax Code. What if you move around a whole lot, living in an RV or boat? Either of those would have some state’s registration.”
There are some big complicated issues that she has just raised there. Lets review one.
Jurisdiction. She says that a good test is that if you have their license plate, you should also follow the homeschool laws of that state. I’d like to dig deeper into this. What about where you vote, where your driver license is from, and where you pay taxes? This is a more complicated question than that but as a starting point, she has a godo point that license plates matter. Still, I’d consult an attorney.
The homeschool movement has continued to grow and shift over the last few years. Megatrends in homeschooling to note:
- Growth. Homeschooling is no longer the rare fringy movement that characterized it ten and twenty years ago. Now several percent of the US population, perhaps 3% is actively homeschooling.
- Mainstream Awareness, Many Involved. Because of the widespread awareness and acceptance of homeschooling, the pirate or “us-them” mentality that characterized homeschooling for many years has somewhat dissipated. In fact, many families now homeschool for a few years or homeschool some but not all of the kids. Before, the homeschooling community was somewhat separated from the others, this is not nearly so much the case.
- Homeschooling Acceptance. In the old days, homeschoolers had trouble getting resources and even text books or teacher editions. Now, there’s a significant number of vendors, especially technology vendors, who actively market to homeschoolers. Time4Learning, Accellus High School, Reading Eggs, Time4Writing, Science4Us, VocabularySpellingCity, HugeSpelling, All About Spelling, and Writing Without Tears are just a few of the vendors who cater to homeschoolers. There is even a site about homeschooler’s literature!
- Technology – The homeschool market and community are now using all the great community tools on the net to find and work with each other. There are Facebook groups (and Twitter and so on) for Road Schooling, Military Homeschoolers, Waldorf Homeschoolers, UnSchoolers, Classical Homeschoolers, and so on and so on.