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Our secular and inclusive Florida-wide Informal Education support group acts as a resource center and clearinghouse for homeschoolers, informal learners and alternative educators interested in enriching their learning environments and maximizing their learning opportunities, as well as an advocacy center for Curiosity Driven Learning.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Home School Opportunities Make Education Sound Act of 2008

LA Senator David Vitter recently introduced a bill to amend the US tax code to provide tax deductions for homeschoolers. While at the outset, the bill looks like good news, there are several things to consider.

On the one hand, it would certainly seem to open to the door to legislating homeschooling – what expenses would be covered, which ones wouldn’t, and why? Who decides, and then what else can be decided with respect to how we homeschool.

And despite Vitter’s suggestion that private school families are afforded some kind of “relief” for their educational choices, beyond state vouchers, there doesn’t seem to be any kind of IRS provision along the lines of what he’s asking for homeschoolers provided to private schoolers. If we really want to provide tax relief to people who choose a form of education outside of public schools, it seems all forms of alternative education should be equally included.

On the other hand, there a lot of people would really appreciate and benefit from the type of relief offered in this bill. A thoughtful evaluation of all the pros and cons of this legislation would seem to be in order.

Click through the links for more information on S 3076 and what others are saying about it:

Home School Opportunities Make Education Sound Act of 2008 (Introduced in Senate) S 3076 IS

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a tax deduction for itemizers and nonitemizers for expenses relating to home schooling. The bill was introduced by Senator David Vitter to “provide education-related tax relief to families who home school their children. The Home School Opportunities Make Education Sound Act would allow home school families to take advantage of tax deductions to help alleviate education-related expenses. “

From Vitter's website:

Like those who choose to send their children to private schools, home school families pay an inequitable share of education-related expenses,” said Vitter.

“Even as they pay for expenditures related to home school activities, they fund public schools through their tax dollars. We need to provide them with the same relief offered to private school families, and this bill is intended to do just that, by minimizing the financial burden of these families.”

Vitter’s bill provides for a deduction of $500 per child with an annual limit of $2,000 for expenses related to K-12 homeschooling activities. For families that do not itemize their taxes, the bill would allow for a standardized deduction of $500 per child, not to exceed $2,000 in one year. Families with children who attend private schools are already eligible for education-related tax benefits. “All families should be provided with a full spectrum of choices when it comes to the education of their children,” Vitter said. “We need to take the necessary steps to remove the undue financial burdens that are currently placed on home school families. As individuals empower themselves to take responsibility for the proper education of their children, we should in turn provide them with the appropriate tools to do so. To that end, this legislation is a positive step in that process.

Read others' thoughts on this effort at:

Informed Parent

Home Education Magazine News blog

National Home Education Legal Defense Bulletin #62

Follow the Bill’s progress at GovTrack ( )

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