Homeschoolers Want to Play Too
Upon moving into the Lindbergh School District, I became a reader of the Concord Call. The community-based articles draw the neighborhood’s attention to local school district happenings—football games, board meetings, plays—where adults without school-age children are welcome.
It’s common for school districts to engage with and give back to taxpaying community members. Homeschool parents are taxpaying community members too, but the Missouri State High School Athletic Association (MSHSAA) excludes their children from participating in after-school activities. The MSHSAA requires students to attend a public school for “not less than 80 percent of an allowable course load.”
Legislation was introduced last month that would give homeschoolers an opportunity to participate in sports and after-school clubs.
Twelve-year-old Isaiah Craft testified in favor of the proposed legislation. Missourinet reported:
“I came today to testify because I like football, but I don’t do the best in a classroom because I have Tourette’s and OCD. So, I just find it easier and I enjoy it more at home.”
Isaiah’s father touched on how the current law limits scholarship opportunities for homeschooled athletes:
“. . . what is troubling is the way it is now, it’s just the wall is there, there’s no option, and it’s just kind of a dead end.”
Opposition to the legislation suggests that homeschool participation would take away from academic incentives set for student-athletes. The fear of sitting out is often enough to motivate a student to complete an assignment or perform well on an assessment. The argument that homeschoolers have lower educational standards, which would be unfair to public school athletes, is unfounded. In fact, a lack of high academic standards in traditional schools is one of the top reasons parents choose to homeschool their children.
Homeschool parents make the same investment in public education as public school parents. If schools use taxpayer dollars to fund non-educational activities, such as football, then homeschoolers should have access to these programs. Children like Isaiah should have the chance to play too.