When it comes to homeschooling in Wisconsin, we all are where we are today because of the tireless work of the volunteers who came before us. The following timeline of major WHPA milestones is just the tip of the enormous iceberg that is WHPA’s invaluable historic and ongoing work to secure, preserve, and protect the rights of homeschooling families in Wisconsin.

Working together through WHPA (formerly WPA), homeschoolers in Wisconsin have reclaimed and maintained basic freedoms in education and family life.

WHPA helps thousands of homeschooling families to discover ways in which homeschooling can work for them. WHPA provides encouragement, support, and accurate information about learning resources and laws.

WHPA educates the general public about homeschooling and promotes a climate of opinion that respects homeschooling, so that our homeschooling rights are more secure.

WHPA builds and maintains a strong and effective grassroots organization that brings together a widely diverse group of people for the common purpose of maintaining the right of parents to choose for their children an education consistent with their principles and beliefs.

WHPA Major Milestones

  • Homeschoolers meet in response to legislative proposals. (AB887)
  • WPA organized January 6. Membership costs $15/year for a family.
  • 2,500 people (the vast majority opposed to unreason­able homeschooling legislation) attend Jan. 24 legislative hearing.
  • WPA coordinates campaign that results in reason­able homeschooling law. (1983 Wisconsin Act 512, enacted May 10, 1984)
  • WPA’s First Annual State-Wide Conference is held in Stevens Point on June 2nd.
  • WPA arranges meeting with legislators and the DPI to protest first version of form PI-1206 which was not consistent with new law. DPI revises form. 
  • First edition of WPA handbook.
  • 325 adults attend 2nd Annual Conference in Stevens Point.
  • WASB resolution to give the DPI authority over homeschools tabled after WPA gives more accu­rate information to WASB delegates.
  • WPA defuses and discredits a misleading DPI-sponsored “research” report by UW’s Lufler. 
  • WPA’s “Perspectives” opposes state-mandated standardized testing. 
  • Legislative Council study committee decides not to recommend increased regulation of homeschooling. 
  • Over 2,000 homeschoolers and supporters attend WPA Day at the Capitol (Feb. 6) to affirm and cel­ebrate Legislative Council committee’s decision.
  • RESOLUTION: 10. The Primary Role of Parents in Education
  • RESOLUTION: 11. Opposition to State Control of Education and the Family
  • WPA informs members and coordinates testimony at Nov. 4 hearing on “education reform legisla­tion” that would increase regulation of home­schooling, establish portfolios on 3 year olds, etc. 300 homeschoolers attend. Legislators delete all homeschooling proposals. 
  • WPA Membership cost increases to $20/year.
  • WPA informs homeschoolers and others of prob­lems with reform legislation. Over 1,000 attend hearings in nine cities, the vast majority opposed to the legislation. WPA is influential in having some of the worst provisions removed although legislation passes.
  • RESOLUTION: 12. State goals in education
  • RESOLUTION: 13. America 2000 and Wisconsin 2000
  • RESOLUTION: 14. Education Vouchers
  • WPA publishes booklet, “For All Our Children: Parents’ Rights and Responsibilities in Education” about problems with current devel­opments in education and ways to counter them.
  • In July, the DPI publishes misleading and inaccurate “Questions and Responses” about homeschooling. WPA responds with accurate information, including letter in Dec. to school officials clarifying information about entry/re-entry and shared services. 
  • RESOLUTION: 32. Graduation Test
  • RESOLUTION: 33. Legislation That Undermines Homeschooling Freedoms
  • WPA opposes Walworth County committee’s attempts to increase state regulation of home­schooling.
  • WPA opposes AB129 which would allow homeschoolers to participate in public school recreational and extracurricular activities and would undermine home­schooling freedoms; the bill dies.
  • WPA supports increased funding for public libraries.
  • WPA opposes public school graduation test.
  • Wisconsin State Historical Society purchases all WPA newsletters.
  • WPA Membership cost increases to $25/year.
  • WPA alerts homeschoolers and others to problems with public school student identification system and how to insure homeschoolers are not included in it.
  • WPA introduces “Did You Know?” feature to its newsletter.
  • RESOLUTION: 42. The Media and Homeschooling
  • RESOLUTION: 43. Student Identification Database Systems
  • WPA researches and alerts members to risks of increased mental health screening.
  • WPA introduces CONNECTIONS to its newsletter and conference.
  • WPA provides a sample letter to school district administrators on homeschoolers’ privacy.
  • WPA corrects Wisconsin League of Women Voters’ information on the homeschooling law and explains why it should not be changed.
  • WPA opposes federal legislation that would undermine homeschooling freedoms.
  • WPA successfully opposes an amendment to the state budget bill that would have provided tax credits for homeschoolers.
  • RESOLUTION: 44. Mental Health Screening
  • RESOLUTION: 45. No Child Left Behind
  • RESOLUTION: 48. Maintaining the Basic Principles of Homeschooling
  • WPA responds to court decision on virtual charter schools and subsequent legislation with analysis, fact sheets, notices to members, testimony, and updates.
  • WPA shows the problems with another federal parental rights initiative.
  • WPA celebrates 25th Annual Conference.
  • WPA sends email to Wisconsin virtual charter school superintendents insisting that they cease and desist from linking homeschooling with public schools.
  • WPA celebrates 30th Annual Conference
  • WPA convinces DPI to correct language on their website regarding Diplomas and Special Education.
  • WPA publishes the 7th edition of Homeschooling in Wisconsin.
  • RESOLUTION: 53. Common Core State Standards in Education
  • WPA and its members successfully get proposed sports legislation withdrawn. 
  • WPA transitions to new leadership team.
  • Volunteer Legislative Watch Committee formed.
  • Updated 7e of the handbook released, with sports legislation updates, and new artwork by Wisconsin artist, Heidi Hankley.
  • WPA opposes school vouchers and other efforts to provide public funding for homeschoolers.
  • WPA holds 1-day member event in place of full conference.
  • WPA successfully opposes request to the Joint Legislative Council to create a Study Committee to review the Home-Based Private Educational Program Law in Wisconsin.
  • WPA opposes federal Enhancing Educational Opportunities for Home School Students Act allowing use of 529 savings accounts for homeschooling expenses due to the potential added oversight which comes with tax-favored benefits.
  • WPA’s 35th Annual Conference and Resource Fair moves from UW-Oshkosh to Holiday Inn-Stevens Point
  • The all-volunteer Question Answering Committee (QAC) begins as the successor to the previous all-volunteer Regional Contact (RC) system
  • WPA returns to all-volunteer model with working board
  • WPA opposes federal Student Empowerment Act allowing use of 529 savings accounts for homeschooling expenses due to the potential added oversight which comes with tax-favored benefits.
  • WPA opposes legislation which would have the unintentional effect of restricting homeschools to a specific location; the bill dies.
  • WPA holds 1-day member event in Amherst, WI in place of full conference.
  • The phrase “and freedom” is added to WPA mission statement.
  • WPA’s 37th Annual Conference and Resource Fair cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
  • WPA officially changes name to Wisconsin Homeschooling Parents Association (WHPA).
  • WHPA works with parents, schools, school districts, and DPI to reassert homeschooling rights, and clarify that homeschoolers are on the same legal footing as other educational programs.
  • DPI changes the language on their website regarding the filing of the PI-1206 Homeschool Report because of WHPA’s efforts.
  • WHPA cancels 38th Annual Conference and Resource Fair due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • WHPA holds virtual members meeting and a series of virtual mini-events in place of conference.
  • WHPA opposes proposed Wisconsin legislation that creates a new classification of schools – “microschools” – based on the definition of homeschools.

Last Updated on 08/25/22

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