Home-Schooled Students and High School Sports

December 27, 2020 Off By Tammy Schneider

Home-schooling is a way of life for some children. They wake up each weekday morning and go to school- at home. They do some chores around the house and are taught by their mom or dad. This practice allows the child to grow closer with their parents and allows the parents themselves to instill their values into a child while also providing him or her with a quality education. Parents can keep close eyes on their children and help them stay out of trouble. Children may be getting quality educations at home, but they are not doing enough things on their own if they are staying in the house eight or nine hours a day, especially in high school. There is no problem with a child being high-schooled up until ninth grade. After that, however, he or she needs to be in the public school system and experience it for lifelong benefits. If high school children want to compete in high school athletics, they should actually go to the school in question.

Home education is an option many families choose. It is widely utilized throughout the country. There are currently around two million home-schooled children in the United States ("Tim Tebow Bill"). Parents choose to teach their children at home for a variety of reasons, including: perceived better education at home, poor learning environment in the public schools, religious concerns, to develop character in their children, or for specific family values in general. Parents feel that they can provide a better education in the home because discipline problems are nonexistent, which means the teacher is not having to take away from valuable class time in order to discipline a particular student. Home-schooled children can be successful, and numbers continue to rise. In 1994, there were 345,000 students, with that number rising to 850,000 by 1999 ("Home School Statistics"). The two million students who go to school at home in the present day make up about 3% of all kindergarten through twelfth grade students in the country. Studies show that home-schooled children also do better on standardized tests ("Home School Statistics").

It is true that parents can provide a quality education for their children at home and create a good learning environment for them. But what about the stresses that this teaching role takes on them as parents? They must have a vast understanding of the subjects they are teaching their children, which requires a large amount of studying in most cases. Parents do not have time to themselves and are unable to work, which may create relationship strains at home. Home education may create a good environment with less disciplinary problems, but what if the parent and child get into a disagreement away from the school setting? What if it becomes a situation where the child or parent does not want to talk to the other one for a certain period of time? Aside from that, everyone periodically needs freedom and alone time. It creates healthy relationships, especially among parents and children who are already around each other so much anyway.

A home education does provide a good environment for children, but not the one that they need during their later life experiences. It simply pales in comparison to the public school and all the activities it provides (Romanowski 4). There are numerous activities besides sports, such as band and other student-run clubs and organizations. Children cannot participate in activities of this kind if they are going to school in their kitchens. Children also need to be exposed to different kinds of people during the high school years. This allows a child to know what kind of crowd they want to hang out with, and also allows them to experience a vast array of social situations. If they are sheltered throughout their high school years, they could be headed for serious trouble. Parents can teach their children right from wrong all they want, but they have to make certain decisions on their own. Children need to understand conflicts between others and be involved in different social situations. These things simply do not happen if they are going to school at home.

Taking all these things into consideration, home-schooled children should not be allowed to participate in high school athletics. Currently, only sixteen states in the country allow home-schooled students to play in their area high schools, and this number should continue to stay down. Florida is one of states that has passed law which allows the students to participate ("Tim Tebow Bill"). Tim Tebow, freshman phenomenon on the University of Florida football team, was one of these home-schooled students who played for his local high school. Playing in high school allowed him to garner enough attention to eventually play for the Florida Gators, but he is most likely experiencing a huge culture shock in college at this point.

Home-schooled children who play at a local high school cannot comprehend the pride and tradition in a school if they do not attend that particular institution. They do not go to class with their teammates or experience social situations with them on a regular basis. While other team members are in school experiencing different things and interacting with others, home-schooled children are sitting in their living rooms being taught algebra by their mothers. The parents of these children also serve as their sole authority figures, so how are they going to be able to deal with upset coaches when they miss a blocking assignment or fumble the football? It is simply not possible. Children need to be in the public school system to prepare them for life after high school, whether it is college or the workforce. With respect to athletics, if one wants to play for the high school team, they should attend the high school. Home-schooled children should not be allowed to play because they really are not a part of the particular institution in the first place.