A topic of recurring interest for someÂ homeschoolingÂ families is participation in extra-curricular school events.Â Because AmericansÂ tie many activities to school instead of to theÂ community-as-community, opportunities for homeschooled children to participate in some iconic American activities, such as football, can be hard to find.
Recently,Â the subject ofÂ homeschooler-participation in school activitiesÂ ranged from Dr. Phil onÂ primetime, to state associations.Â Â OnÂ Dr. Phil, a coupleÂ disagreed about homeschooling, and Dr. Phil advised them that homeschooling is beneficial, but to make sure the childÂ participates in extracurricular activities. In Tennessee,Â the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA)Â made bylaw changes that allow limited participation by homeschoolers in sports governed by the TSSAA.
The situation of homeschooler participation in school sports isn’t simple.Â Even though some families concerned say that they should have ‘equal access’ to the activities because they pay taxes, many people pay taxes that support the public schools without any personal benefit from that payment, such as singles, childless couples and retirees.Â Â Also, rules vary soÂ that in one place homeschoolers can particpate, but across a state boundary, or perhaps even a school district line, they may not.Â In Maine, the courts have upheld the situation where homeschoolers can participate onlyÂ on public school teams, and may not participate on private school teams.Â A possible justification for this is to prevent private schools from attracting all the best players in a geographic area.
In Pennsylvania, the Clarion-Limestone School District approved a policy for homeschooler participation in extracurricular activities.Â In this case the homeschooled students are required to meet the same eligibility requirements applied to the enrolled students.
- The Clarion News, Strattanville, Pennsylvania, 13 December 2005, C-L OKs home-schoolersâ€™ participation
District Superintendent Richard Slack has said the new policy will adhere as much as possible to the guidelines that now apply to regular students so there is consistency in rules applying to home schoolers and enrolled students.
Home schoolers will have to meet the same eligibility requirements as regular C-L students, including academic requirements assessed on a weekly basis.
As long as extra-curricular participation is tied toÂ school attendance, whether public or private, homeschooling families who want that participation will have to make sacrifices of some sort concerning those activities.