Home School Legal Defense Association

The information on this page was last updated 5/9/2023. If you see errors or omissions, please email: [email protected]


HSLDA is a non-profit advocacy organization that makes homeschooling possible by protecting homeschooling families and equipping them to provide the best educational experience for their children. We have been trusted for over 35 years to care for homeschooling families as we safeguard their freedom and secure the future of home education.

Contact information

Mailing address:
Home School Legal Defense Association
PO Box 3000
Purcellville, VA 20134

Website: hslda.org

Phone: 540-338-5600

Email: [email protected]

Organization details

EIN: 521354365

CEO/President: J. Michael Smith

Chairman: J. Michael Smith

Board size: 5

Founder: Mike Farris

Ruling year: 1986

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 03/31

Member of ECFA: Yes

Member of ECFA since: 2003


HSLDA is the trusted movement leader that makes homeschooling possible by caring for member families and protecting and securing the future of homeschooling. Our vision is to see every homeschooling family have the resources they need to provide the best education they can for their children.

Mission statement

We believe that every child deserves a quality education-and homeschooling is one of the best ways to achieve that.

No other form of education allows the kind of customization and personalization that homeschooling does. As a homeschooling parent, you are free to teach your child at her own pace, follow her interests, and craft an education plan that meets her specific needs. The result is a unique educational experience that equips your child with the skills and opportunities she needs to really thrive.

We also believe that parents are typically better suited than the government to determine what kind of education works best for their children. Parents know their children's needs and abilities much better than any government official can-and they're better able to find ways to meet those needs and nurture those abilities. And so when parents are free to choose and direct their children's educational experience, it sets the stage for children to thrive.

Statement of faith

Our leaders, directors, and employees all live by the foundational teachings of Christianity. Although we come from a variety of Christian denominations and traditions, we share the following beliefs:

There is one God, who exists eternally in three Persons (the Trinity): Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Because human beings are sinful by nature and inherently in need of salvation, God became a flesh-and-blood human to save us-Jesus Christ, the Son, who was conceived by God in a virgin woman, Mary. In His death, Jesus received the consequences for sin that we deserved. He then rose bodily from the dead and will literally come again to earth in the Second Advent.

The salvation that Jesus Christ made possible for us is exclusively found by faith alone in Him and His shed blood. We find all these truths in the Holy Bible, which is the inspired and infallible Word of God. Because of our thankfulness to God for saving us, we try to imitate Christ in all we do.

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Transparency grade


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Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Advocacy

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating499 of 109719 of 48
Fund acquisition rating976 of 109944 of 48
Resource allocation rating340 of 109911 of 48
Asset utilization rating238 of 109710 of 48

This ministry has a negative net worth, making it impossible to assign it a valid financial efficiency rating.

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$563,748$561,392$479,624$501,789$70,131
Short-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$6,354,514$5,765,870$2,968,436$3,230,579$831,199
Long-term investments$27,007$53,334$84,345$107,777$0
Fixed assets$42,307$58,352$210,169$242,454$4,289
Other long-term assets$1,563,960$1,783,426$1,867,935$980,440$0
Total long-term assets$1,633,274$1,895,112$2,162,449$1,330,671$4,289
Total assets$7,987,788$7,660,982$5,130,885$4,561,250$835,488
Payables and accrued expenses$2,769,841$2,705,485$2,525,035$2,584,701$62,686
Other current liabilities$8,711,462$8,587,116$7,058,934$7,364,413$0
Total current liabilities$11,481,303$11,292,601$9,583,969$9,949,114$62,686
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$0$0$0$0$0
Total long-term liabilities$0$0$0$0$0
Total liabilities$11,481,303$11,292,601$9,583,969$9,949,114$62,686
Net assets20222021202020192018
Without donor restrictions($5,230,615)($5,557,512)($5,493,053)($6,181,653)$246,753
With donor restrictions$1,737,100$1,925,893$1,039,969$793,789$526,049
Net assets($3,493,515)($3,631,619)($4,453,084)($5,387,864)$772,802
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$4,856,241$4,143,100$11,946,792$11,165,924$2,074,946
Program service revenue$1,912,644$1,768,792$1,530,860$1,714,592$0
Membership dues$11,910,041$10,009,397$0$0$0
Investment income$0$0$35,401($13,945)$2,691
Other revenue$552,101$408,991$363,590$492,483$10,836
Total other revenue$14,374,786$12,187,180$1,929,851$2,193,130$13,527
Total revenue$19,231,027$16,330,280$13,876,643$13,359,054$2,088,473
Program services$16,170,525$12,741,987$10,637,047$9,152,245$2,094,885
Management and general$542,283$842,480$755,903$1,404,117$55,021
Total expenses$19,092,923$15,508,815$12,941,863$12,091,625$2,250,297
Change in net assets20222021202020192018
Surplus (deficit)$138,104$821,465$934,780$1,267,429($161,824)
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$138,104$821,465$934,780$1,267,429($161,824)


J Michael SmithPresident 4 1 21-7 31 22 Donor Relations$298,542
James R MasonPresident as of 8 1 22$248,267
Charles HurstAssistant Secretary Vice President of Administration$211,720
Steven OberlanderAssistant Treasurer Vice President of Finance Technology$210,952
Scott WoodruffSenior Counsel$201,094
Michael DonnellySenior Counsel$198,186
Suzanne StephensVice President of Communications Marketing$170,666
Darren JonesSenior Counsel Director of Group Services$163,401
Tim TrietleyDBA Web Developer$149,911
Jay Kent McKaySenior Data Analyst$149,807
Aaron FesslerTreasurer$1,355

Compensation data as of: 3/31/2022

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.

The information below was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 5/9/2023. To update the information below, please email: [email protected]


In the early 1980s, homeschooling was practically unheard of. Even though the model of parents teaching their children at home was one of the earliest (and most effective) forms of education in history, homeschooling had fallen into obscurity. Families who chose such a "nontraditional" education route often encountered major opposition and legal challenges. Some homeschooling parents were even put in jail for truancy or "contributing to the delinquency of a minor."

So when Mike Farris-an attorney and homeschooling dad in Olympia, Washington-started getting calls from other homeschooling families looking for legal representation, he quickly realized that this was bigger problem than he could solve on his own.

Farris knew that families homeschooling without competent legal counsel would stand little chance of prevailing against the government. But he could only help so many families-and beyond that, competent legal counsel was prohibitively expensive.

So Farris hatched a plan-but he needed a partner.

A chance encounter Meanwhile in Santa Monica, California, Mike Smith and his wife were homeschooling their kids . . . and local homeschoolers were contacting Mike for legal representation. (He's an attorney, too.) At the time, many California school districts took the position that parents could only homeschool their kids if they were certified to teach.

As it happened, the two Mikes ran into each other at a homeschool conference in Sacramento, California, in early 1983.

After meeting Smith and hearing his story, Farris excitedly shared his plan: start a non-profit membership organization aimed at making homeschooling legal in every state. The idea was to have a large enough organization to fund legal representation of homeschooling families from all across the nation-in other words, to make homeschooling possible for everyone through advocacy in the courts, legislatures, and marketplace of ideas.

To Smith, that seemed like a huge hill to climb. So naturally, when Farris asked if he would be interested being on the founding board of directors of this organization, he jumped at the chance.

Turning the tide

HSLDA started with a handful of member families. Farris worked from his home in Washington state, and Smith from his law office in Santa Monica. But within a few years, Farris and Smith had both relocated to Washington, D.C., set up a dedicated HSLDA office, and hired several full-time employees to help keep up with the rising number of member families.

As HSLDA and the homeschool movement grew, so did the freedom to homeschool. Working alongside state homeschool organizations-and backed by a rapidly expanding community of homeschooling families-we slowly but surely turned the tide.

Over the years, we've convinced state legislatures to adopt statutes acknowledging the right of parents to teach their children at home. We've won a number of high-profile cases on behalf of families whose ability to homeschool has been threatened. And we've expanded our services to help make homeschooling possible for families not only legally, but practically as well.

In the process, homeschooling has gone from a relatively unknown fringe movement to a flourishing and popular educational option for families of every shape and size.

Looking ahead

Today, homeschooling is legal in every state-but that doesn't mean our work is done. We continue to protect and advance the freedom to homeschool, defend member families facing legal challenges, and equip homeschooling parents to give their children the best possible educational experience.

Although we're constantly re-evaluating ourselves and adapting to meet the needs of the homeschool community, the focus of our work and the reason we exist will always stay the same: to help kids thrive by making homeschooling possible.

Program accomplishments