Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » BOOK REVIEW: THE LAW OF HOMESCHOOLING

    Filed at 7:27 pm under by dcobranchi

    Author: Brian D. Schwartz
    ISBN-13: 978-1-56534-132-6

    This Education Law Association monograph purports to be a “resource guide for homeschool families and advocates, public school teachers and officials, college and university professors, students, and other interested members of the general public.” At best it partially succeeds. The brief book (67 pages) covers some of the history of legal decisions concerning homeschooling as well as some of the legal issues that affect homeschooling families today. It concludes with a tabular summary of the homeschool laws in all 50 states and DC.

    The author really has set himself an impossible task. Fifty states, numerous federal districts courts, and the Supreme Court all have laws and made rulings concerning homeschooling. Summarizing them with any kind of coherence would be a challenge. A challenge that Schwartz doesn’t quite pull off.

    There just doesn’t seem to be enough meat on the bones in any of the chapters. The history of homeschooling is covered in 5 pages. Several other chapters are almost as brief. But there’s really not that much that can be said it such a short book.

    Finally, a large chunk of the book is taken up with a summary of state laws. I scanned the two states’ laws with which I am most familiar: DE and NC. In both cases, Schwartz gets it wrong. DE’s listing is accurate for the law as it existed before 2004, when the law was substantially revised. NC’s law is incorrectly stated to “Regulate Progress of Homeschool Students” via “portfolio, diary, progress reports, and tests.” In reality, NC does require annual tests, but the state doesn’t get the results and so can’t use them to regulate anything. There is no provision in the law at all for any of the other methods.

    Overall, I really can’t recommend this monograph for homeschooling parents. At $43 including shipping, the few bits of useful information just don’t seem worth the money. And since the summary of state laws cannot be relied upon, it just doesn’t seem to have a place on a homeschooling family’s bookshelf.


    Comment by
    Nance Confer
    December 17th, 2008
    at 11:37 am

    Not when you can get the accurate information online for free.

    Thanks for checking this out, Daryl.


    Comment by
    December 17th, 2008
    at 11:58 am

    To get Delaware’s homeschool law all you need to do is go to the DOE website. I wonder just where they got their info from???
    Heck even HSLDA has more accurate information… a thought that gives me the willies.

    Comment by
    December 17th, 2008
    at 11:59 am

    This sounds very much like a book I saw in the mid-90s about homeschooling laws across the country. I can’t remember the exact title. I found it in the main Army library in Heidelberg, fwiw. I guess the academic credentials of the author (I believe he was academically validated) warranted having it in the library. It, too, was a slim, paperback volume, and was only marginally helpful at the time.

    I don’t know if the two volumes are related (hard to do without a title to look up ;> ), but, fwiw, they sound similar.

    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    December 17th, 2008
    at 12:13 pm

    It’s quite possibly the same. This one, I believe, is an update to a 1994 title.

    Pingback from
    Homeschooling Law Books a Bust « Just Enough, and Nothing More
    December 17th, 2008
    at 4:38 pm

    […] Don’t be fooled. So far, nobody has been able to correctly amass the detailed nuances of each state’s laws in one place. It’s been tried before, both online and offline, with little accuracy. […]