You may be considering a sport for your child but are unsure whether it would work for your family. You may be wondering if it’s even possible to homeschool and be involved in organized sports. Thanks to improved laws and a growing number of programs, you can find many different options when it comes to homeschool sports. Extracurricular activities such as music, art, and sports can provide many advantages for homeschoolers. Sports can especially benefit children and teens. Playing sports can improve your child’s ability to concentrate and focus, both on and off the court or field.
Your homeschooler will also learn how to be a team player and work with and encourage their teammates, which will help as they prepare for the future. Another benefit is having another adult besides a parent to instill discipline and to instruct, correct, and motivate your child. Playing sports can help boost kids’ confidence. And participating in sports promotes better physical health by improving strength, speed, and flexibility. In fact, playing sports early on in life can establish healthy exercise and eating habits your child can continue as they get older.
Can homeschoolers play sports?
The short answer is yes, your homeschooler can play sports! Your child can participate in many different sports programs, whether on a public-school sports team or for a homeschool group.
Can they play sports in public schools?
It depends on the state. Right now there are more than 30 states that allow homeschoolers to play public school sports. But it also depends on each school district within those states. Some districts permit homeschoolers to play sports for their high schools; others do not. It’s important to research your state laws as well as your local school district laws concerning public school sports.
Can they play sports in private schools?
In some cases, yes. There are times when private schools need additional athletes in order to form a sports team. Some will allow homeschoolers to join a team and play for their school. Keep in mind that private schools may have their own requirements for homeschooled students to qualify for sports programs in their school.
Are there homeschool programs for sports?
With the rising popularity of homeschooling, many states have homeschool organizations that offer a wide variety of sports programs. In my home state of South Carolina, there are at least 10 sports programs homeschoolers can take advantage of and enjoy. Even if you live in a state that doesn’t allow homeschoolers to play public school sports, you still have options. Research your state’s homeschool groups to see which ones provide sports.
What is the Tim Tebow Law?
Also known as the “Equal Opportunity for Access in Education Act,” this bill allows homeschoolers to play sports for public schools. Tim Tebow, after whom the bill is named, was the first homeschooled student to play public school sports. He played college football for the Florida Gators and went on to play in the NFL. Thanks to Tebow’s persistent efforts, 31 states now uphold this law and permit homeschoolers to participate in public-school sports programs. Some states require few conditions for homeschoolers to play sports. However, other states have strict legislation and requirements for homeschoolers to be involved in public school sports.
How can your homeschooler play sports?
Research your state’s public-school sports policy. Find out whether homeschoolers are allowed to participate and, if so, what requirements they must meet.
- Contact your local school district. Even though your state may allow participation, school districts can set their own eligibility requirements. Ask for specific information regarding your school district’s policies for public school sports.
- Contact your local school’s athletic director. He or she can give you all the information you need about what, when, and how to submit forms and other required items (e.g., a copy of your child’s birth certificate).
- Keep detailed records of your child’s academic progress. Be prepared to show documented proof of educational achievements such as report cards, schoolwork samples, and lesson plans.
- Schedule a sports physical for your child. Even if it’s not required, it’s a good idea to make sure there are no health issues that would hinder your child’s ability to play sports.
Which states allow homeschoolers to play sports for public schools?
Yes, as long as homeschooled students do not have more practice time than their public school peers.
Yes, if homeschoolers meet certain basic requirements.
Yes. Parents are required to show proof of satisfactory educational progress.
Yes. Homeschooled students must score at least in the 30th percentile of the state’s annual nationally standardized achievement test. School districts may permit students with a lower score to participate. School districts also may require homeschooled students to attend the public school for not more than one period per day.
No. Any student not enrolled in the public school system may not play public school sports.
Yes. There do not seem to be any extra requirements for homeschoolers to participate in public school sports.
No. As with California, Connecticut requires student athletes to be “bona fide students at the public school they represent.”
No. They hold the same requirements as California and Connecticut.
District of Columbia
No. Their athletic association requires student athletes to be officially enrolled in a DCPS or in a school funded by DCPS in order to play in their sports programs.
Yes. Both homeschool statute homeschoolers and private umbrella school homeschoolers can play public school sports. The former group must be maintaining satisfactory progress in their evaluations. The latter group must be willing to share their academic records with the public school system.
Yes, they have recently passed the Tim Tebow law.
Yes. Homeschoolers must have dual enrollment through a public school. They are not required to enroll in academic courses. Parents must prove that their children are keeping up with grade level standards by showing a portfolio review or standardized testing.
Yes. Homeschoolers must be enrolled in the school for which they play. They must take a minimum of 25 credit hours in the school. Students must meet the other eligibility requirements of the school to participate in sports.
Yes. Homeschoolers are to be enrolled in the school they play for and take at least one course at that school.
Yes. According to the Iowa Code 299A.8, “Students receiving competent private instruction, but not students receiving independent private instruction, have full access to participation in extracurricular activities.”
Yes, homeschoolers can play public school sports.
Yes. Homeschools are considered individual private schools according to Kentucky law, homeschoolers can play public school sports.
Yes. In 1970, homeschoolers were barred from playing public school sports. Louisiana has now passed the Tim Tebow law.
Yes. Homeschool students must maintain equivalent academic requirements.
Yes, when homeschooled students meet all the requirements of their local public school.
Yes. It is up to individual school districts to grant homeschoolers permission to play sports. School districts must approve homeschoolers’ educational plans.
Yes. Homeschool students can participate in “nonessential elective courses” and athletic programs in their local public schools upon approval of the school district.
Yes. Homeschool students are “eligible to fully participate in extracurricular activities on the same basis as public school students.” Minnesota Statutes Annotated, 123B.49, Subd.4(a).
Yes. Homeschoolers can play public school sports, as long as, they have been enrolled in at least 20 credit hours at the school they represent.
Yes, when there is room available for homeschoolers and they can prove that they are academically “qualified” to play.
Yes. Local school boards can decide on their own policies regarding homeschool athletes. The policies cannot be “more restrictive” for homeschool students than their public school peers.
Yes. As with New Hampshire, local school districts can develop their own standards for public school sports. Homeschoolers must meet all requirements, receive approval from the local school board, meet equivalent academic standards, and be residents of their district.
Yes. According to New Mexico statutes, homeschoolers can “participate in up to three school district activities in their school district of residence” upon approval of their academic eligibility.
Yes, upon approval of individual school districts.
Yes. Homeschoolers must meet the homeschool statute’s assessment requirement the previous year.
Yes. To qualify to play public school sports, homeschoolers must have achieved at least the 23rd percentile on the standardized achievement test the previous year. School districts may also require documented proof of educational achievement such as a portfolio.
Yes, when homeschoolers fulfill all academic expectations required of public school students.
Yes, upon school district approval. Homeschool students must comply with Rhode Island rules and regulations and submit quarterly grades to their local public school.
Yes, when homeschool students have complied with South Carolina’s homeschool statute for at least one year. They must meet all other requirements other than enrollment and attendance.
Yes, subject to school district approval. Guarantee of participation increases for homeschoolers who enroll in a public school on a part-time basis.
Yes. According to the state’s legislation, “the director of schools must confer with the parents to determine that the student is academically eligible.”
Yes. Homeschool parents are required to submit an affidavit affirming that their child has met the state’s educational requirements. If called into question, the school superintendent may form a panel to determine the student’s eligibility.
Yes, full access is granted when homeschoolers are enrolled part-time in a public school.
Yes. Homeschool students will have the same rules and regulations as public school students but may not be charged higher fees than public school students.
With nearly 40 states now upholding the Tim Tebow law, many more homeschoolers have the opportunity to compete in public school sports. But even if you live in a state that prohibits this, you still have options. You can sign up your child for a homeschool co-op sports team. Find out if there are any recreational sports programs in your area. Our two daughters got started playing rec soccer. Our oldest daughter has played two seasons of JV soccer at our local high school. The YMCA is a good option as well. They offer a wide variety of sports programs.
“Homeschool Sports Access by State.” Coalition for Responsible Home Education, 13 Feb. 2022, responsiblehomeschooling.org/research/current-policy/homeschool-sports-access-by-state/.
“Can Homeschool Students Play Public School Sports?” College Raptor Blog, www.collegeraptor.com/getting-in/articles/questions-answers/can-homeschool-students-play-public-school-sports/. Accessed 25 Oct. 2023.Jennifer
• • • • •Jennifer is a pastor’s wife and mom of two young girls and loves homeschooling them. During her own twelve years of being homeschooled, Jennifer developed a passion for reading and writing. She earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and relishes writing during her free time.