To establish homeschoolers’ rights in Texas, [Peter] Allison said, [attorney] Shelby Sharpe took a unique approach. Instead of asking the Texas legislature to pass a new law, Sharpe convinced homeschoolers that the old law, enacted back in 1915, already established their right to educate their own children at home. And instead of trying to defend that right on a case-by-case basis, Sharpe convinced the homeschoolers to attack—demanding a declaratory judgment in their favor against more than a thousand Texas school districts.
“Was homeschooling legal? That was the big question,” Allison said.
“Shelby Sharpe said that the 1915 law, all the prosecutions notwithstanding, says that homeschooling is legal. He said, ‘The law of 1915 is good. We need a court case, not a new law.'”…
Sharpe’s argument was that Texas’ 1915 compulsory school attendance law specifically exempted private school students from having to go to public school. During the decade of the Nineteen-teens, Sharpe said, sixty percent of school-age children in Texas were being educated at home.
“For most Texas families when the law was passed, homeschooling was what you had. So the only meaning the law could have had was that private school meant homeschooling.”
Sharpe’s surprising strategy, tied to existing law, along with the strong contributions of [R.J.] Rushdoony and some of the other witnesses, led to a victory which continues to bless homeschooling families to this day.
Duigon, L. (n.d.) Homeschooling’s Greatest Courtroom Victory. Chalcedon Foundation. Available http://chalcedon.edu/research/articles/homeschoolings-greatest-courtroom-victory/. Last accessed 2nd Apr 2015.