Sports and Extracurricular Activities for HomeschoolersMay 21st, 2011 | By Jessica Parnell | Category: General Homeschool Posts
The other common question I hear in reaction to homeschooling is “how do you socialize your child? Doesn’t she need friends and activities and sports to be ‘normal’?”
Of course, children need friends. And sports. And activities. Actually, it’s surprisingly easy for homeschoolers to take part in extracurricular activities. In fact, most homeschoolers have more activities available to them than the average public school student.
What most people don’t know is that many states have equal access laws. These laws require public school districts to allow homeschoolers access to the district’s extracurricular activities, such as sports, music, drama, debate team and other programs. Usually, parents “dual enroll” a child, which gives them access to many of the public school’s programs and facilities while maintaining responsibility for their education at home. You are, after all, paying taxes- and you may as well get something back! The Home School Legal Defense Association has a great rundown on each state’s laws and restrictions.
Here are some additional options available to homeschoolers looking for after-school activities:
1. The Local Parks and Recreation Department
Your local Parks Department may offer youth sports and clubs, and a quick web search can help you identify other local youth groups, organizations and clubs that offer activities your child may be interested in. For example, the local YMCA generally has sports leagues your child can join.
2. Homeschool Leagues
Homeschool sports leagues are beginning to crop up around the country. Because travel distances may be greater, practices and games are generally held just once a week and parents are encouraged to be involved.
3. Civic Organizations
Open to all kids, groups such as 4H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and community theater, arts & music groups offer homeschooled children tons of options for activities and socialization.
4. Private Organizations
The local ice skating rink, gym and dance studio probably have classes available during the day, and they may be geared toward homeschool students. Check with a local home school support group to find out which private organizations cater to homeschoolers.
Don’t forget the local church! Many churches, temples and religious organizations offer activities designed specifically for kids, and membership in the church may not even be required.
The next time someone asks you how you go about socializing a child who learns at home, you can explain that the really hard part is avoiding over-scheduling them. Just make sure they don’t see you smile when you act sympathetic about their child’s limited options for after school activities in public school!
What extracurricular activities do your kids participate in and enjoy?
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