Parents see the incredible benefits of homeschooling and want it for their kids. But their kids love sports, and many parents do not want to take them away from something they love. This can be a showstopper for many families and prevents some people from leaving the conventional schools.
If you’re caught in this dilemma, you can breathe easily. There are several solutions that will allow you to bring your kids home to a safe environment where you can give them an excellent education AND you can have them involved in organized sports.
First of all, many states allow homeschoolers to be part of a public school athletic team. The states are almost evenly split down the middle on this topic.
- 20 states allow homeschoolers to participate in sports teams.
- 5 states allow homeschooler participation with local school district approval.
- 5 states allow participation if the homeschooler is dual-enrolled or enrolled as a part-time student.
- 20 states prohibit participation by homeschoolers.
You can find a summary of the laws at the Coalition for Responsible Home Education. The site also includes links to the relevant laws and eligibility rules of the athletic associations for each state.
Many private schools also allow homeschoolers to join their teams. As with public schools, they may require enrollment in one or more classes in order to participate on the team.
In some areas, homeschoolers have formed their own sports clubs. My son plays on a baseball team consisting solely of homeschoolers that competes with teams from conventional schools. (It warms my heart when they beat the conventional school teams!)
Finally, kids can join recreational leagues in many areas. While they often don’t have the same level of play as the school-based teams, if your child is not at a highly competitive level, they may be a good alternative. Often organized through local recreation centers, these offer a variety of sports, such as football, soccer, mountain biking, gymnastics, golf and others.
Your homeschool community is a great place to check into your options. It’s very likely that you’ll know a family that has already checked into the options. If not, refer to the CRHE website above and call around to private schools and recreation centers.
Given the options available, your children should be able to plug into a sports team, even if they aren’t attending a conventional school.
At Homeschool Awakening, we want to equip you with everything you need to start and continue homeschooling. Contact us if you need help!
Mike is a co-founder of Homeschool Awakening where he devised the HEART diagnostic and writes a lot. A father of 5 and homeschooling for more than 15 years, he has been in the trenches and understands the thrills and challenges. When he is not writing, he is typically on an adventure with his family.
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