Celebrate HSLDA’s Birthday with Giveaways!

Celebrate HSLDA's Birthday with Giveaways! | HSLDA Blog

It’s our 33rd birthday, and we’re throwing a party! To celebrate, we’re reaching back through our archives to share some of our favorite moments, we’re giving YOU gifts, and we’re inviting you to join HSLDA Chairman Mike Farris and President Mike Smith, today, March 23 for a livestream update on homeschooling. Click here to start streaming.

***** UPDATE on “The State of Homeschooling” Livestream: This free event for all of our members and friends takes place at 8:00–8:30 ET tonight! Mike and Mike will give an update on where homeschooling is in 2016, report the latest legal and legislative developments and trends, and discuss how this year’s presidential election could impact homeschooling. They’ll answer your questions in a Q&A session at the end. Click here to watch the livestream and submit your questions during the event. See you tonight! *****

In appreciation for our members and your support through the years, we’re holding a special drawing for members with 5 chances to win. Enter by using the form at the bottom of this post (not a member? Join now!).


The First Prize Winner will receive:

  • One free year of HSLDA membership!

The Second Prize Winner will choose one of these two prizes:

The 3rd – 5th Prize Winners will choose one of these five prizes:

Be sure to sign up below for your chance to win! The birthday giveaway is for HSLDA members only and closes at 11:59 p.m. on March 23. Winners will be selected in random drawing on March 24.* 


HSLDA was founded on March 23, 1983 – and in honor of that, we asked Mike Farris (Chairman of the Board), Mike Smith (President of HSLDA), and Chuck Hurst (Vice President of Administration) for three little-known facts about HSLDA, and we collected some of our favorite memories over the years.

Mike Farris:

HSLDA has shared office space over the years with the Moral Majority of Washington, Hall Bearing Company, Fort Worth Texas (though not very long), Concerned Women for America, Free Congress Foundation, and Patrick Henry College.  And we were once located above a saddle shop.

Mike Smith:

Back in 2001, HSLDA almost moved to Colorado Springs, but ultimately decided to stay in Northern Virginia due to our proximity to Washington, D.C., where we continue to lobby for homeschool freedom on Capitol Hill.

Chuck Hurst:

When I first came to HSLDA, all 12,000 member families had a physical manila folder that contained their original application, their renewal forms, and any correspondence. We had them sorted by state, then alphabetically. The learning experience for us was this: we discovered that around 10% of our members moved to another state annually—which kept someone moving files around almost continually, even when we didn’t have anything new to put in their file. So glad when we were able finally able to scan documents and stop moving those files around!


We love celebrating—so hold on to your hat and watch out for those balloons as we take a quick trip through some fun memories. Hope you enjoy the ride with us!


Mike and Mike celebrating Mike Smith’s 50th birthday in December 1993 at our old Kingsbridge Purcellville office.



A highlight of our summer is the annual HSLDA picnic, where we spend the day enjoying games, fellowship, and really good food. The first HSLDA picnic was at Lowes Island, Virginia, in 1994, and was organized by Elizabeth Smith, wife of the then-Vice President, Mike Smith. We’re throwing it back to the 90’s with this picture of some kids of HSLDA employees. Fun fact: Some of these kids grew up to work for HSLDA, too.



The first time we honored an Employee of the Year, we couldn’t pick just one – so we chose three! Here’s a picture of first Employees of the Year (L-R): Sally (Cowan) Berwick, David Gilstrap, and Pat Ramirez. Fun fact: The guy in the middle, David Gilstrap, is still the Director of our Mailroom.



When we celebrated Mike Smith’s 25th anniversary at HSLDA, our former HR Administrator Stephanie Campbell made her legendary cake pops, and we couldn’t get enough of them. Apparently Mike and Mike couldn’t either!


Thanks for your support through the years. We do this because of you, and couldn’t be prouder of the people we serve.

*HSLDA employees and their immediate family members are not eligible to participate in the giveaway. A random drawing will be conducted on March 24, 2016, and the winners will be contacted by email. If a winner does not respond to HSLDA’s prize notification within 24 hours, that entry will be discarded and a new winner will be drawn, with the same response rules applying.

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491 Comments on “Celebrate HSLDA’s Birthday with Giveaways!”

  1. Sharon Manley
    March 23, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

    Happy birthday! And many more!


  2. Donita Nyman
    March 23, 2016 at 12:42 pm #

    HSLDA has been a blessing in my life!!! Praise God for all their hard work!


  3. Christina
    March 23, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

    I remember growing up being a child of a member and eagerly awaiting their newsletter to read the different state updates. Now when the newsletter comes that is still the first feature that I read.


  4. Debbie C.
    March 23, 2016 at 12:58 pm #

    I am so thankful that HSLDA is only a call away and that they are looking out for us!


  5. Kathleen
    March 23, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

    When I had a very difficult legal issue last year, HSLDA was very supportive and kind. I especially appreciate the Religious Exemption packet they sent through email and their encouraging words about my RE letter.


  6. Mayra
    March 23, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

    We have been grateful to be on this homeschooling journey with HSLDA at our side. There were a few times when we thought we would need to ask for HSLDA’s help. Fortunately nothing transpired. We knew that if we would have been challenged beyond merr questions that HSLDA was just a phine call away. Just knowing this has always given us courage to move forward in confidence. The encouragement and knowledge we have acquired through HSLDA has been invaluable.


  7. Marina Zinn
    March 23, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

    You guys are always inspiring and give a good foundation. It is good to know you are not alone as a homeschooling parent, but have somebody to cover your back.


  8. jmschreiber
    March 23, 2016 at 1:31 pm #

    Thankful for all that HSLDA does to keep abreast of all that is going on in the homeschooling realm, and helping us stay informed!


  9. Lisa Cuevas
    March 23, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

    As a parent of a teen with different learning abilities I know that HSLDA protects us as a homeschool family. Happy Birthday HSLDA!


  10. Jessica Graves
    March 23, 2016 at 1:52 pm #

    I am so thankful for HSLDA and all their hard work so that I can homeschool my children and not be in fear because I know I have people backing me up.


  11. Nancy Clark
    March 23, 2016 at 1:52 pm #

    We love HSLDA! We love the piece of mind and all the benefits of being members. We are grateful to have legal advocates on our side in todays uncertain world.


  12. Denise
    March 23, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

    I’m new to homeschooling so the HSLDA will be a huge help with us navigating the ins and outs


  13. nancyclark2013
    March 23, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

    We love HSLDA! Happy birthday! We are so grateful to have legal advocates on our side in today’s uncertain world. We love the piece of mind and all the benefits of being members. Thank you.


  14. Salina Fedrick
    March 23, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

    I”m so thankful for HSDA and all you do you do to keep us informed and for protecting our rights as homeschoolers.


  15. Katie
    March 23, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

    Our family is extremely grateful for the work that you do on our behalf and for the work you do to protect our educational freedom. Blessings to all the HSLDA staff!


  16. Wendy Leatherman
    March 23, 2016 at 2:15 pm #

    I really like getting the HSLDA update newsletter! It is one that I read cover to cover every time! Thank you for the peace of mind and freedom to mind the peace in our homeschool instead of worrying about legal threats!


  17. Kristine
    March 23, 2016 at 2:42 pm #

    I appreciate the legal protection of HSLDA


  18. Tina Brom
    March 23, 2016 at 2:52 pm #

    LOVE receiving the HSDLA news, keeps me informed and a guidance on some of the choices we make for our homeschool child.


  19. Carolyn Meyer
    March 23, 2016 at 3:07 pm #

    Happy Birthday!


  20. Cecilia Leffew
    March 23, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

    Thank you for all that you do for the homeschool community!


  21. Joy Clancy
    March 23, 2016 at 3:19 pm #

    Several years ago I had a question regarding a concern with homeschooling in our state. I called and was able to speak directly with Mike Smith. I was so impressed and so helped. Thanks!


  22. Sasha
    March 23, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

    I am grateful for the hard work you do in keeping our constitutional rights in tact! I am also grateful for the support given to our family through the HSLDA!


  23. Kelly White
    March 23, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

    Happy Birthday HSLDA!! Thank you for all your protection as families such as myself embark on the homeschooling adventure. I can educate our children with peace of mind knowing there is a great group backing us up and protecting us from those who oppose. This is our second year homeschooling and thanks to HSLDA, I can enjoy watching my kids learn and grown in the comfort of our own home. God Bless!!


  24. Freedom Knights Academy
    March 23, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

    I am grateful for the hard work the HSLDA puts in to supporting our constitutional rights to homeschool!


  25. Kelly Carr
    March 23, 2016 at 3:48 pm #

    Happy Birthday HSLDA!


  26. Wendy Graham
    March 23, 2016 at 3:56 pm #

    Happy Birthday! I am so blessed to have had peace of mind through HSLDA membership as a homeschool mom, and also for the support you have given me as director of a third option homeschool association in SC!

    Thank you and many, many, many more!


  27. Christine Gauthier
    March 23, 2016 at 4:03 pm #

    We love the work that you do for homeschooling as our culture slips into the abyss. Keep it up!


  28. Virginia B.
    March 23, 2016 at 4:04 pm #

    So thankful for HSLDA. I remember sending an email with a question once, and it was answered promptly. Thank you for taking care of us!


  29. Jeni Holland
    March 23, 2016 at 4:07 pm #

    I’m so glad that HSLDA is here to help us gain and keep our freedoms to homeschool.


  30. Grace
    March 23, 2016 at 4:10 pm #

    HSLDA, what you provide to so many parents struggling through our roles and fighting the good fight on so many planes is truly priceless. I thank God for you ALL. I thank God for your dedication and tireless effort. It blesses all those who call on you in need and, at times, desperation. Thank you for making it so affordable for large and single income families. You are a beacon in the darkness around us in these times. Thank you for your commitment to Christ; fighting the good fight. In a time where true advocates willing to stand up and against much oppression towards homeschooling, and even parental rights in general, seem scarce we thank you!! May God truly bless every HSLDA with His Holy supernatural protection and guidance as you help all of us during these changing times. May God rise up in this next generation warriors to continue on in the fight. Happy Birthday, HSLDA!!


  31. Shoshana McDougle
    March 23, 2016 at 4:11 pm #

    Happy Birthday! It’s amazing that HSLDA has been going strong for homeschooling families. I am grateful for all of your help.


  32. Lori
    March 23, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

    Happy Birthday HSLDA!! Thank you for your faithful service to families.


  33. Joanna Boyer
    March 23, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

    I finally figured it out! I’m new to “blogging”. But not new to HSLDA! I am so grateful for HSLDA’s political leadership helping us organize in Kansas City to fight and win the battle against curfew. Knowing you are there to call us to arms when needed is such a comfort, and it sure IS NEEDED these days. Your integrity and leadership is for “such a time as this”. Thank you and Happy Birthday!


  34. akornchatter
    March 23, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

    I am very grateful that HSLDA watches out for us homeschoolers! I appreciate all the time and energy they put into making sure our legislators don’t forget that hs is legal.


  35. Angie Musgrave
    March 23, 2016 at 4:44 pm #

    Happy Birthday! So glad we found your site when we started homeschool this year. Very thankful for all the information you provide.


  36. ambertackles
    March 23, 2016 at 4:46 pm #

    The peace of mind is my favorite thing about the HSLDA.


  37. Mary Page
    March 23, 2016 at 5:04 pm #

    Happy birthday. I’m so very thankful for your help in keeping home education a little safer and the wonderful information you provide.


  38. Linda Gallagher
    March 23, 2016 at 5:28 pm #

    HSLDA gives my family the peace of mind yo know there is someone who supports Homeschooling! We are so thankful for all the benefits of membership! Happy Birthday!


  39. Cheryl Wise
    March 23, 2016 at 6:09 pm #

    It gives us confidence to know that there are men and women of integrity, wisdom, and grace that have our back. Congratulations!


  40. Lora Lee Goodson
    March 23, 2016 at 6:35 pm #

    I have unbelievable peace of mind and a great sense of community being a part of HSLDA. I love reading about the latest battle for our freedom to educate our kids the way we see fit. Being a part of that is inspiring and gives me hope for our nation’s future!


  41. Rachel Harbert
    March 23, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

    I would like to enter your drawing for a chance to win one of your prizes. Happy Birthday HSDLA!!!! Thank you for your service to all of homeschool families and our family!


  42. Nicole L.
    March 23, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

    This is my first year homeschooling and am so grateful to have found out about HSLDA. If gives me a peace of mind. Thank You! Happy Birthday.


  43. Jen
    March 23, 2016 at 6:53 pm #

    I always love reading the updates and emails. They’re such good inspiration to keep going with this journey.


  44. Linda Roberts
    March 23, 2016 at 6:55 pm #

    Thanks for having our backs all these years! Our family has more security as we homeschool because of you! Happy birthday!


  45. Mercedes
    March 23, 2016 at 6:56 pm #

    Really glad I found out about HSLDA when I started my homeschool journey. It’s been a great partnership.


  46. Susan Adams
    March 23, 2016 at 7:12 pm #

    It’s good we have some legal protection so we don’t get “walked all over”. Thank you to HSLDA for all the work you did protecting parents’ rights.


  47. Susan McKain
    March 23, 2016 at 7:31 pm #

    Thank you for all you do for homeschooling everywhere! Happy birthday!


  48. Omo. A
    March 23, 2016 at 7:37 pm #

    Love that HSLDA is always vigilant to keep us homeschoolers protected.


  49. Kim Lee
    March 23, 2016 at 7:48 pm #

    Thanks for everything you do for homeschooling families! Being a member gives my family such peace of mind.


  50. Jean Grant
    March 23, 2016 at 7:54 pm #

    We are grateful for HSLDA’s availability to answer questions and give guidance as we frequently move courtesy of the US Army. .


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