If you join HSLDA, your fee is used to help support them in their political lobbying that they feel is tied to our freedom to homeschool, but you may or may not agree with. If you join pre-paid legal, your money is simply used to offset future legal fees if/when you need them but to my knowledge (having been with them for 11 years) your money is not used to support any political lobbying or even charitable initiatives of any kind.
Is HSLDA a political action committee? - Page 2
No, that was my issue. It was why I was joining them. They actually called to tell me that they do not deal with issues related to special education and homeschooling. I'm not sure how that falls outside the expertise of an organization that deals specifically with legal rights as they pertain to homeschooling. I guess I saw their role differently.
It looks like HSLDA-PAC is separate from HSLDA:
The link that Lillian provides is a good one.
HSLDA is an exclusive organization. They only assist homeschoolers that do school-at-home.
HSLDA is a political organization. See Generation Joshua.
HSLDA is a religious organization. I won't send my money to any religious organization, to be frank, nor be counted as a member.
HSLDA is directly responsible for helping to create local laws across the states that may or may not be acceptable to the homeschoolers living under those laws.
HSLDA gets its members through fear-mongering, when in reality most legal cases (which are pretty rare, anyway) can be solved by 1) knowing the law, and 2) being assertive. Really, we should all be teaching our kids to know their rights and stand up for themselves, anyway.
My family has been homeschooling for eleven years. We started in Washington, DC, and have HSed in Virginia and Rhode Island. RI is notoriously difficult to deal with and I continually remind the school administration that school policy is NOT state law. I still haven't ever felt the need for legal backup.
Most definitely to all of this and I would add that HSLDA does try in practice to make it seem as if they speak for *all* homeschoolers instead of the specifically Christian ones. I don't think it's any mistake that they went with HSLDA instead of Christian Homeschool Legal Defense Association. Are the specifically a PAC? No, but they sure do spend a lot of time on politics.