Can homeschoolers participate in sports? And if so, how?/
Can homeschoolers participate in sports? And if so, how?
If your homeschoolers are athletic, or interested in having a shot at any athletic scholarships, then you probably have had some experience with trying to get them involved in athletic leagues.
Homeschoolers Playing in the Public School System
Can your homeschooler play sports with your local public school? That question isn’t as easily answered as one might think. A handful of states do have a simple yes or no answer. For instance, in Oklahoma (the only state that actually has a constitutional provision guaranteeing the right to homeschool), homeschoolers cannot play in the public school system. On the otherhand, in Massachusetts (where the state is much more involved in your day-to-day homeschooling), homeschoolers can play in the public school system, provided they stay in compliance with the state’s homeschooling laws.
The majority of states take the stance that “it’s up to each individual school district.” What that means is you pretty much have to just ask if they’ll let your homeschooler try out for any high school athletic teams.
What Happens When Public Schools Say “No?”
This happened to us. Our state has an “up to the school district” take on sports. My son had been playing soccer in the local recreation department for 10 years. He’s very good at it, and everybody in the county knows him and how he plays. Unfortunately, none of that mattered when he aged out of the recreation department and we approached the high school to ask if they would allow him to try out.
We were met with an unapologetic and emphatic “nope.”
So, what then…what were our options? What would your options be if that happens to you?
There is hope! While not all states have established homeschooling athletic leagues, many of them do. A good number of these leagues allow participation with private schools, which makes for larger teams and more options for traveling play.
Remember those scholarships I mentioned at the beginning? Well, believe it or not, college scouts DO attend some homeschool league team events, looking for athletes! Even if they don’t come out of their own volition, some (especially homeschool-friendly colleges), will send a scout out if asked.
If you’re unsure about your state laws concerning sports, or you want to find out more about these homeschool athletic leagues, you’re in luck. Let’s Homeschool Highschool has a terrific resource: High School Homeschool Athletic Info by State, your one stop directory to individual state sports laws AND links to homeschool athletic leagues in those states that have them!
Katie has been homeschooling her two boys, now ages 9 and 14, since 2005. She was once an "accidental homeschooler," but is now a "can't imagine NOT doing this" homeschooler. She's also an online marketing consultant, an avid reader, a TV watcher extraordinaire, a coffee drinker, a gadget addict, a music lover, a fan of community theater and a proud geek. You can hang out with her a little more over on her personal blog.