The Right to Home School: A Guide to the Law on Parents' Rights in Education

By Palasek, Karen Y. | Ideas on Liberty, March 2000 | Go to article overview

The Right to Home School: A Guide to the Law on Parents' Rights in Education


Palasek, Karen Y., Ideas on Liberty


The Right to Home School: A Guide to the Law on Parents' Rights in Education

by Christopher J Klicka

Home School Legal Defense Association 9 1998 * 198 pages * $10.00 paperback While the title would suggest otherwise, Christonher Klicka's book is not the kind of text most homeschool parents would pick up and read. In practice, homeschool parents tend to focus on how-to books and curriculum reviews, with a smattering of methodology thrown in for good measure. Homeschool bulletin boards, discussion lists, and my own support-group meetings reflect those concerns. With the exception of start-up requirements, the law as it applies to homeschooling is virtually never discussed. So why bother with a book on homeschool case law?

All homeschool parents, especially those who have made a long-term commitment to homeschooling, should read this book. The Right to Home School is full of information about actual cases and studies involving homeschool families, and is so well researched and documented that the citations alone are worth the reader's time.

Klicka is senior counsel of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), and the cases in his book describe much of his own work. As long as legal challenges continue, future court decisions will make the status of homeschooling evolutionary and uncertain. Klicka's book is really a chronicle of those challenges and resulting court decisions; the ability to exercise the fundamental right of educational choice in every state is either upheld or eroded with each successive case.

The author first discusses why parents choose to homeschool: to incorporate religion into school life, to exercise choice in topics and values in secular education, or to provide their children with a private alternative to government-run classrooms. Many homeschools operate for a combination of reasons. We come to understand the rights, challenges, and defenses that parents encounter in each situation.

A biR issue facin parents in each state has been the question of who has the authority to make educational decisions about children. Klicka examines that problem by presenting numerous cases handled by the HSLDA. …

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