“So… Who is TEACH?”
When we talk to homeschoolers, there is sometimes confusion about who TEACH-CT is, and whether it is subordinate to some other organization. The myriad of local, state and national groups can be confusing to those of us who grew up looking to the government for answers.
We hope the following helps to clarify all the players.
TEACH-CT is The Education Association of Christian Homeschoolers of CT. We are an independent statewide non-profit organization that supports local groups and individuals by informing them about how to homeschool, where to find resources, and how to keep our homeschool freedom. In addition to our website, we maintain a public Facebook page, as well as a closed Facebook group. TEACH-CT is proud to serve as the Christian voice of homeschoolers in Connecticut.
CHN, Connecticut Homeschool Network, is another statewide group that supports homeschoolers via its Facebook groups, website and other activities.
HSLDA is the Home School Legal Defense Association. It works nationally and internationally to preserve homeschool freedom and was founded in 1983. TEACH-CT works closely with HSLDA but we are separate organizations.
HSLDA offers legal insurance to homeschoolers. For $130/year (with a discount for TEACH members), they will provide legal counsel all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. It employs several attorneys who cover different regions of the United States.
HERITAGE DEFENSE protects member families from wrongful social service attacks. Its structure resembles HSLDA.
THE ALLIANCE is the National Alliance of Christian Home Education Leaders. It operates to serve, encourage and equip Christian state homeschool organizations, primarily through its annual conference. TEACH-CT is a member of the Alliance. We attend their conference and participate in their Facebook groups to learn the best ways to serve homeschoolers.
NHELD is the National Home Education Legal Defense association, run by Attorney Deborah Stevenson. Ms. Stevenson is a sole practitioner who often represents homeschoolers. She is also legal counsel for CHN.
Co-ops are groups of homeschool families who come together, usually one day a week, to host classes taught by homeschool parents. They may also meet for field trips.
Support groups are local groups of homeschoolers who may also engage in some co-op activity, but include meetings for homeschool parents to support them as they instruct their children.
TEACH-CT maintains a listing on its website of local co-ops and support groups by region to help homeschoolers connect with each other.
“What about the State Department of Education?”
Connecticut’s status as a low-regulation state means that the state does not regularly keep in contact with local or state organizations or update their information about homeschooling. Their focus is on maintaining the public educational system. We recommend that you look to your state organization for information about legal requirements and other questions.
“What about those other websites that show up in internet searches?”
In addition to state organizations, there is a plethora of individuals who run their own homeschooling websites. Some are informational, such as The Homeschool Resource Roadmap, which lists curriculum by their Common Core alignment. Others are individuals who also blog and/or provide their own curriculum. They may offer information about homeschool laws around the country, but they are not as authoritative as your state homeschool organization.
“Who is CRHE?”
CRHE is the Coalition for Responsible Home Education. It bills itself as a national organization and was begun by some graduated homeschoolers who, as adults, expressed dissatisfaction with their own homeschooling experiences and/or their religious upbringing. Their goals include regulation of homeschooling and mandatory vaccination of homeschoolers, along with home visits. Their sister organization is HIC, Homeschool’s Invisible Children.
TEACH-CT works in opposition to CRHE because we believe in homeschool freedom and parental rights. CRHE is often quoted as a resource in media articles promoting homeschool regulation, but its board members are not trained in statistical research.
NHERI is the National Home Education Research Institute, run by Dr. Brian Ray. Dr Ray and others founded NHERI in 1990 as a non-profit research organization. It conducts and publishes research on various topics related to homeschooling. Dr. Ray has also published several articles in peer-reviewed research journals. Its website is www.nheri.org.
HOMESCHOOLING BACKGROUNDER is a website that publishes homeschool research on various topics by multiple researchers, including Dr. Brian Ray, Rodger Williams, and others. It can be reached at www.homeschoolingbackgrounder.com.
ICHER is the International Center for Home Education Research whose main researchers and spokesmen have been Milton Gaither and Robert Kunzman. They promote regulation of homeschoolers and align with CRHE.
Pam Lucashu serves on the Board of Directors of TEACH-CT as our Legislative Liaison. She often authors up helpful and informative legislative alerts and calls to action liberally peppered with these acronyms and was feeling guilty about it, which led to the writing of this article.