Copying a Florida law known as the “,” Virginia legislators are hoping to give homeschooled students the same legal opportunity that Tim Tebow enjoyed. The Florida law that granted Tebow permission to participate in public school sports was passed 16 years ago in 1996.
Over the years we have enjoyed the responsibility of teaching baseball to homeschool students. I intended to write this week supporting homeschool participation in public school activities.
In that process I asked one of our parents for some ideas. Turns out he said it all. These are his comments:
Thank you for asking my views. We appreciate Pinkman Academy
For us to participate in any activity, it has to have a purpose and mesh with
our education goals. To the degree sports can help with those goals, they
are a good addition. By no means is the sport an end unto itself but an
educational aid. As an example, team sports teaches many favorable
character attributes. One is that the mission is far more important than
the individual, a key life lesson. My guess is that most homeschool
parents will have goals for sports that are separate and distinct from the
outcome of the contest and will not be the focus. While Tim Tebow might
be a good example of a homeschool student doing well in public school sports, a sports career is likely not the purpose for most parents.
- Team vs. individual. My guess is that team sports would be the focus of a
homeschool family, for the most part. If the goal is more about life
lessons, team sports teaches those in ways individual sports cannot.
It is important to me that my children are introduced to authority outside of
me and my wife. I say introduced because it is not surrendered by me
until earned by the adult. But familiarity with different
leadership/management styles is important. We all know that it is the
employee’s job to adapt to his boss and not the opposite, for example. An
early and frequent introduction to different authority styles is beneficial.
I believe one of the greatest attributes any student can gain is the idea of
being teachable or coachable. Sports is a great training ground for the
imperative of teachability.
Team sports can teach important leadership traits including working with youth of all different skill levels, cultural, faith, political and family
Sports has a way of reflecting the greater society and the need to be a good
citizen. Doing our own part well and diligently along with teamwork are
attributes that make not only good teammates but good citizens.
There is likelihood that many public-school students have not been exposed to homeschool students. While this type of exposure is not a taxpayer
burden, diversity is a two-way street. To the degree homeschool students
should socialize with other peer groups, public school students would benefit
While is it not the public schools charter to develop students’ faith (a prime
reason many choose homeschooling), it can be an ideal environment for one’s faith to be tested and stretched. Whether public, private, or
homeschooled, every person of faith will need to take ownership of his own
faith, learn and tolerate the beliefs of others, navigate many diverse world
views while standing on a firm foundation. While not the taxpayers task
to produce such results, understanding of other’s views and experiences is a
benefit to our communities.
Many details remain to be announced. Things like eligibility, districting, academic standing, age/grade consistencies. Another area is private schools and whether or not those students will have access to public-school sports, regardless of whether the private school provides that particular sports option.
Public school sports is not a “must have” for us nor for most homeschool families, I would submit. It is merely an augment to a well-rounded (mind-spirit-body) education. It should not be seen as a right but a privilege. Many taxpayers fund efforts they don’t use (empty-nesters, singles, childless families, private-school families, etc) and to argue that homeschool families deserve access as taxpayers does not have much relevance.