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Diatribe: Will Home-School Athletes Be Welcomed By Their Public School Peers?

06/16/2011

I’ve never blogged on a dare before but I can’t back away from the challenge or I’ll never live it down.  A recent change in policy will allow children whose parents opted out of the public education system in favor of home schooling to have an opportunity this fall to join public high school athletic teams for the first time.  A minimum set of eligibility requirements for home-schooled students has been established and students meeting ten criteria for eligibility, including various academic and curriculum guidelines will be welcome to participate.

The friend that dared me to blog about this knows that I don’t understand home-schooling.  I have a bachelor’s degree in education and I don’t think that I’m qualified to teach a child everything that is required of them in order to receive a high school diploma.  But, somehow, housewives and stay-at-home moms across the nation feel more qualified to teach than certified and trained professionals in public school systems that have been successful for generations.  Different parents have different reasons for wanting their children to learn at home instead of in a formal schoolroom setting, but most agree that one of the biggest “pros” to homeschooling is safety.  These parents worry about bus safety, bullies, other influential adults, drugs and other “bad influences” that might be introduced to their children in a public school setting.  Many are wary of the subject matter their children might encounter at the hands of teachers who don’t share their religion.  But, while all of these are legitimate concerns, I fail to see the logic in sheltering a child from unavoidable reality for even the shortest period of time.

But many parents of home-schooled student athletes feel that, because they pay taxes just like their neighbors, their children should have access to all of the opportunities presented to public school athletes.  The fact is, as taxpayers they DO have access to everything that the public school system has to offer its students … but they voluntarily turned it down.  Will these parents be getting their athletic cake and eating it too?  Apparently, the arguments against a public school education become irrelevant after 3:00 p.m. when a home-schooled student wants to compete in high school athletics.  It’s safe to assume that the same buses that are too dangerous to bring a child to class will be bringing them to their away games and anyone that keeps up with current events is aware that there are bullies and “bad influences” in every segment of every sport.

I’m anxious to see how this works out.  I’m curious to learn if the home-schooled athletes will be welcomed by their public school peers.  It will be interesting to see how the parents interact in the bleachers.  I hope the students can have a good time and get some exercise without any drama.  My friend and I dislike drama very much.

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4 Comments
  1. Sue permalink

    I don’t know how it works in Tennessee but here in Teabagistan/Fitzwalkerstan (Wisconsin). Schools get money per student enrolled. So the tax deal is a sore spot. Why should home-schooled students be allowed to take advantage of the public school sports program when they are not part of an enrollment that allows schools to receive state funding?

    I personally don’t think much of home-schooling. Having been exposed to many home-school families and groups visiting the little museum where I worked, I have found the kids to be lacking in courtesy, attentiveness, and obedience to simple museum rules. The adults exhibit the same tendencies as the students and additionally, they are notoriously late, disorganized and in some cases downright rude. And don’t get me started on parents being qualified to teach their own children in a home setting. Also maladjusted, bigoted (yes have experienced bigotry at the museum), undisciplined parents create the same traits in their children/students. Not being socialized in many cases causes misbehavior. We know enough to socialize our dogs so they are better adjusted. Home schooling isolates rather than socializes.

    What does this have to do with sports? Public school students are far from perfect but most have learned actions have consequences, good or bad. Rules, punctuality, courtesy and attentiveness are requisite of taking part of a team sport.

    There are plenty of teams for students that are independent of schools. Oh, yes, parents will have to pay but then again they are the ones who didn’t want to enroll their children in public schools.

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    • Seeing as you’ve seen and interacted with a tremendous variety of students, your experience gives you a unique insight. Eventually, each of these home-schooled students will need to acclimate to the “mainstream public” and shielding them from their peers can’t possibly be beneficial in the long term. I’m anxious to know how the players react to a new quarterback that didn’t have to take the big pop quiz in Mrs. Smith’s class like the rest of the team.

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  2. Grigsby permalink

    We sent our sons to private school here in town. Both played sports at their school and more often than not played teams made up of home schooled kids. I think that option is fine as the smaller private schools are able to host a little better than public schools would.
    Now I do not understand the home schooling as I have met plenty of kids that really didn’t know their way around the world. Public schools have their own set of challenges but so does private or home schooling. Challenges are what makes a young person into a healthy adult, but it all depends on how they handle the task set in front of them.
    Bottom line – I do not agree with home school kids playing sports in the public school systems. The schools are not good enough for you then why would the athletic department be good enough?

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