The sports season of soccer is finished up in many public schools and State Impact Ohio‘s Amy Hansen reports on the transition of new homeschooling participation because of a new state policy.
Ohio’s Homeschooled Students Can Now Join Public School Sports Teams
Thanks to a provision in this year’s state budget, Ohio’s homeschooled and private-school students can now participate in sports and extracurricular activities at public schools in their local districts without restriction. Before this year, most, if not all districts required students to be enrolled in classes at the school. As StateImpact Ohio’s Amy Hansen reports, the change hasn’t been entirely seamless.
Northeast Ohio’s Ideastream laid out the policy transition that finally satisfied Sophia Dean’s mom allowing her daughter to run onto the public school playing field:
Playing on a varsity team used to be just a dream for Dean.
Being home-schooled, she had to be enrolled in five classes to join the team, a requirement Sophia’s mom, Julie Dean, found absurd.
“Five out of seven, you’re not homeschooling anymore,” Julie Dean said. “You’re a full time student.”
The district later dropped its guideline down to two classes – each could set its own under the old rule. But the family didn’t change their minds.
Then, last summer, the state legislature swept away those requirements as part of the state budget.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association Assistant Commissioner said this change was a long time coming because some homeschoolers were pushing for this change ala Tebow Bills.
She threw this out too:
“And people just philosophically saying ‘sports is an extracurricular activity that engages students in the curriculum and now you have students who have the opportunity to participate who aren’t engaged in the curriculum, who don’t walk our halls, who don’t have that same sense of community or engagement,” she added.
In defense of real community engagement, it should be noted many home educating families volunteer and appreciate many of their neighborhood activities and projects. Opportunities in park districts, libraries, zoos and museums are readily available outside the schoolhouse and the limiting classroom hours.
But the public schools and their associates have generally kept a lock on extra-curricular activities.
The Fairbanks High School administrator was not particularly looking out for all the participants’ best interests feeding the pot with this comment:
He hasn’t heard of Dean having a difficult time, but he does think it’s a pretty big issue that homeschooled kids aren’t in classes every day with their new teammates.
“I just know it’s hard to develop relationships with kids that you only see at practices or games,” Humble said. “When you don’t see them in the hallways, you didn’t grow up with them, you haven’t built any relationship with them. The kids have a tendency to hang with the kids that they know.”
Despite the Superintendent’s and Assistant OHSAA Commissioner’s obsession with hallway pass-bys, that’s not quite the same quality and quantity time many private and public schooled kids have growing up and playing together at and around their homes. The deadlock of public school dominates, but hopefully the youthful friendships will persist past politics.