Does Your Homeschooled Student Want To Participate In High School Athletics?

6 August 2017
 Categories: Education & Development, Blog


If your child has been homeschooled for nearly his or her entire school career, you may find that many of the popular myths and misconceptions about homeschool students, from lack of socialization to an unstructured schedule, are laughably wrong. However one area in which your student may find him or herself missing out on the public school experience is athletics; without an intramural or co-op team in your area, enrolling your teen in a public school's football, volleyball, or swimming program may seem like the only way to help him or her enjoy team sports. Read on to learn more about the legalities of homeschool students' participation in public school athletic programs, as well as some factors you'll want to consider when enrolling your teen in one of these programs for the first time.

Can Homeschool Students Participate In High School Athletics?

Each state's laws are different regarding homeschoolers' ability to participate in high school athletics; however, these restrictions and permissions generally apply only to public schools. You may find that certain private schools can restrict the ability of homeschool students to participate in certain athletics, even if your state's laws otherwise permit this; on the other side of the coin, states that tend to restrict the participation of homeschool students in their athletic programs may still harbor private schools who freely welcome students from outside the public school system.

Your best bet is to contact the public schools in your area or peruse their websites to see whether any policies about athletic participation by non-enrolled students are posted. Many schools will clearly set out the conditions under which a student can participate, including daily attendance at practice, payment of an enrollment fee to the high school's athletic department, or even enrollment in a high school class related to the sport.

What Should You Consider When Enrolling Your Student In An Athletics Program? 

While your student may be gung-ho to participate in a public school's athletics program, there are a few factors you'll want to consider when deciding whether this is a good fit.

You may want to talk to other parents about bullying to see whether they've noticed or experienced any issues. Homeschool students can sometimes be targeted by bullies, so knowing whether a team has an ultra-competitive or "hazing" attitude compared to a more collaborative one can be critical.

You'll also want to ensure that participation in this program won't unduly interfere with your student's other activities or schoolwork. In some cases, it can make more sense to transition to attending a public high school for part of the day while participating in an athletics program rather than interrupting the homeschool day to go to practice and then spend the evenings playing catch-up.

By keeping scheduling and personality considerations in mind, you'll be sure to make the best decision for your teen.