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Monday, January 5, 2009

Public School Sports - Can Homeschoolers Have Their Cake and Eat It, Too?

Youth basketball season is here, and we're all looking forward to Andrew's first practice. We're a sports family. We love watching our son practice and play in games, and we love getting to know his teammates and their families.

My husband's fondest childhood memories involve sports, and one of his main concerns about homeschooling was that our children would not be able to play sports on a competitive level. So when I read this article about homeschoolers who want to play sports on public school teams, I was sympathetic to their concerns.

Home school sports leagues have not been in operation as long as public school programs, and may not provide the same level of competitiveness or exposure. In addition, homeschoolers pay school taxes that support public school sports programs and may feel entitled to play on athletic teams and participate in other school activities.

However, despite the obvious benefits, my concerns about participation in public school programs mirror my concerns about use of virtual schools. When homeschoolers begin demanding services from the government, what will the government begin demanding of us? By participating in public school activities, are we inviting government intervention into our homes?

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Do you think widespread participation in public school programs could jeopardize our autonomy? Can we as homeschoolers can have our cake and eat it, too?

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Brenda said...

You know, I think about such things as speech services. As long as they are available, and I am a tax payer...I would utilize such a service if I felt it was beneficial for my child. If they told me one day I couldn't use those services, (which I'm not sure that would make sense as I pay taxes), then I'm not sure I would fight it. Because I kind of like being "off the grid" so to speak. Yeah, I don't really want to deal with the public school if I can help it. There just has to be an alternate....or maybe some things aren't necessary as we think they are.

Luke said...

My family participated in club swim team at our local recreational center. Then we weren't involved in the public school program and were still connected to a very competitive group.

We also played in a local community band.

So there are viable (if a bit pricey) alternatives to the public school sports options.


Anonymous said...

You've raised an interesting point, Carletta. However, I fail to see the correlation. We pay taxes, so the government indeed owes us something. The government is not paying HSers a dime, so how can they make demands on us? Perhaps I'm oversimplifying this, but it seems to me the government is the one having its cake and eating it too.


Carletta said...

Karen, you're right that we do pay taxes that support the schools so we are paying for something that doesn't provide us with direct services.

However, in states like Oklahoma (where this story was reported) there is absolutely no government oversight of homeschoolers.

I am in Texas and as far as the authorities are concerned, we don't exist. We don't give notification, get our program approved, have attendance requirements, keep records, etc.

When I decide my son has graduated from our school, I print him a diploma and we're done. I value that freedom.

I am concerned this will change if a large percentage of homeschoolers start participating in public school programs.

Well meaning officials will naturally want to make sure we are meeting "standards." Opposing teams will want to make sure the homeschool players meet "eligibility requirements." Eventually, these requirements could be passed on to all homeschoolers in the state.

I do not begrudge homeschoolers who want their money's worth from the school system, but I do think these services may come at a higher cost than many of us already pay.