2016 Homeschool Athletics Survey: Full Responses

These quotes are from our 2016 Homeschool Athletics Survey, which analyzed the athletic experiences and attitudes of 150 homeschool alumni. These are the full responses to each open-ended question, with the state in which each respondent was homeschooled noted. Our goal is to provide full information on these alumni’s experiences and attitudes.

Private, Homeschool, and Community Athletics Programs

Respondents who reported participation in private, homeschool or community athletics were asked this question: “How did participation in this athletics program (Private, Homeschool, or Community) affect you?” Their responses were as follows.

“I don’t really like sports.” – Sarah N., homeschooled in New York

“I learned how to swim with swimming lessons at the public school. This is great because I am not afraid of water now. I also played on a homeschool girls’ volleyball team for a season. We weren’t very good, but at least I learned a few basics. Also, a friend’s dad tried to teach me and his daughter the basics of tennis.” – E.I., homeschooled in Illinois

“Allowed me opportunity to learn teamwork” – J.W., homeschooled in Oklahoma

“Allowed me to get a NCAA Division I scholarship to the University of Texas Pan American. Gave a me a social outlet. Gave me confidence in my athletic and leadership abilities.” – Z.D.W., homeschooled in Oklahoma

“Broadened my friend group and taught me valuable social skills as well as gave me a method to gauge my maturity against peers who were not homeschooled.” – Dan, homeschooled in Texas

“Enjoyed it until high school when I began noticing how I was so different socially than the others on my team, especially those who were my friends growing up.” – Emily V., homeschooled in Virginia

“First off I love sports so it was a great experience. And I formed life long friendships with people I still have. It gave me a really cool opportunity to interact with a bunch of different people, whether that was my teammates, other school (during high school sports), or teams across the country for club sports teams at tournaments.” – Christine W., homeschooled in Washington

“Gave me a chance to play sports and be with other kids.” – Anna Rose, homeschooled in Virginia

“Gave me much needed social interaction, physical exercise, and team skills.” – A.M., homeschooled in Arkansas and Michigan

“Going through the Y was fun – it was the only time I was able to interact with kids outside our little circle. Playing within our homeschool group was boring and pointless. The only people who wanted to be there were the parents.” – Jaime, homeschooled in Arizona

“Great.” – Kelly T., homeschooled in Texas

“I did one semester of homeschool softball. It only reinforced my idea that I was bad at sports. Most likely I was bad at sports because I never had PE or any other sport classes.” – Ada, homeschooled in Oklahoma and Colorado

“I did gymnastics (privately run club) and swimming (YMCA) lessons, which were one of the few times I met people my age (and other ages) not affiliated with my family or church. I don’t believe it helped socialize me much, as I was a nerdy competitive awkward introvert to begin with, who didn’t grok the value of trying to make friends. I just did my strokes/moves really well and ignored the other kids. Around age 12, I was given the choice of joining the swim team or continuing gymnastics or continuing piano lessons, and chose piano.” – Marie, homeschooled in New Mexico, Alabama, Colorado, Ohio, and Missouri

“I did YMCA and Boys and Girls Club growing up — but only for swimming. I only went to the swimming lessons once a week until I entered high school. I learned to swim but didn’t make any friends there.” – A.R., homeschooled in Rhode Island

“I discovered I dislike track and field.” – Blair, homeschooled in Maine

“I enjoyed it.” – Kerry, homeschooled in Georgia

“I enjoyed it a lot. It gave me a social outlet and a way to make friends. I was a terrible, terrible athlete.” – Sara, homeschooled in South Carolina

“I enjoyed it but wished there were more programs to participate in.” – Laura B., homeschooled in Virginia, Rhode Island, and South Carolina

“I enjoyed it, but my mom did not seem to think it was a good influence or something. We got into a lot of fights over soccer.” – D., homeschooled in Minnesota

“I enjoyed participating in figure skating. It was a good opportunity to participate in a group activity. I made friends and improved my fitness.” – Bethany M., homeschooled in Minnesota

“I enjoyed playing on church league teams. My parents used it as PE.” – Lisa, homeschooled in Tennessee

“I enjoyed the opportunity to engage competitively with my peers.” – Carolynn, homeschooled in Washington and Oregon

“I enjoyed the sport but played for a small Christian school that did not expand my social opportunities significantly.” – Susanna, homeschooled in Missouri

“I enjoyed them greatly, for physical exercise, building confidence and gaining life skills.” – Amber M., homeschooled in Maine and Oklahoma

“I got exercise playing soccer for a number of years with a neighborhood association, then a city association team. This allowed for interactions with other peers and taught me a lot of teamwork and hard work. I and my siblings also swam in a summer league swim team every summer from when I was 9 until I aged out at 18. This interaction gave me a steady group of friends every summer. Lots of exercise, personal development and physical challenges to overcome as well.” – Christy, homeschooled in Texas

“I hated it. I didn’t know any of the kids and they all seemed to know each other. Also, it was obvious they had been playing these sports since they were little. They knew what they were doing. I didn’t start learning until middle school.” – Raya, homeschooled in North Carolina and New York

“I loved the scouts program I participated in. But it was hard to fit in and relate to my peers. I wasn’t on the same level as them. Much more mature in some aspects and years behind in others.” – Alex, homeschooled in Oklahoma and Texas

“I made a lot of friends, I made much healthier choices because I wanted to compete at higher levels. I eventually wanted to attend the school that allowed me to participate as an independent runner.” – Val M., homeschooled in Indiana and Texas

“I participated in Drill Team and competitive Dance Team. This experience gave me an escape from my home where my mother and brother were physically and emotionally abusive. It was a place where I could leave that behind and focus on my own development and growth. As I grew into adulthood I had some anger as I know the signs of abuse were evident to the coach, but that the culture of protection allowed them to choose not to see it or notice. This went beyond the coach as I know parents observed episodes of physical violence from my brother and verbal abuse from my mother. And not once did an adult or teammate reach out to support me. The reality is that the activity taught me great endurance and work ethic. But the culture of being more concerned with if I have leg showing than if that leg is broken has caused me to separate from the homeschool world entirely.” – Jacqueline, homeschooled in Missouri

“I participated in several activities through my community and/or church. The only way athletics affected me any differently than other activities was that it taught me that I hated playing sports.” – Dusty, homeschooled in Mississippi

“I participated in softball for one season when I was around 10 years old through a local Recreation Center program. Because my parents are absolutely non-athletic, I received no additional practice or help at home. With no outside help, I didn’t improve a great deal. Being unable to become proficient in one season it was considered a waste of time. I also met a few other kids my own age that lived in the area. They were automatically deemed a bad influence. I played volleyball when I was 16 with the church homeschool group and competed against a few other homeschool groups. It was fun since it was the primary time I got to spend with any friends during the week. That said, we mostly coached ourselves. It would have been nice to have a real coach and much higher level of competition like we would have had at a public high school.” – Karen, homeschooled in California

“I participated so briefly. My mother pulled me out and got the soccer coach fired, for being a lesbian. I was really upset. I enjoyed soccer.” – Bethany T., homeschooled in Tennessee

“I played softball twice on church teams, once when I was about 8 and once when I was about 13. The first time, I felt equal to my peers and able to contribute, but the second time, I felt very behind my peers who had played every year. I tried hard to contribute to the team, but felt that I was more of a liability than an asset.” – Michelle, homeschooled in Alabama

“I remember them fondly, but I do not feel affected by them. I was involved in a lot of good school extra curricular activities, and this was just another way of being involved.” – Devon, homeschooled in Indiana

“I think it was really positive. It was a chance to interact with other kids, while doing something I loved.” – Robyn, homeschooled in Alabama and Washington

“I think the largest way it affected me was the fact that sports were my major access to the outside world and socialisation.” – Max, homeschooled in Maryland and Ohio

“I was able to complete in a variety of sports. I made friends and discovered interests.” – Ruth Anderson, homeschooled in Virginia

“I was able to maintain friendships that would not have flourished without a shared experience. Participating in Girl Scouts allowed me social time outside of my homeschool environment.” – Jeanette Braun, homeschooled in Tennessee

“I was forced to do it and it became a point of contention in my family.” – Dallas, homeschooled in Texas

“I was in a gymnastics summer class through local parks program. I enjoyed the class, though I felt very self-conscious and odd. I did enroll in a private gymnastics program afterward. Our homeschool group had an informal “gym and swim” event at a Christian facility. We would use their pool for half of the time, and the gymnasium for half. I became familiar with a locker room and how to use lockers and shower with sandals. The swim was managed by moms, no instruction. And there was no instruction in the gymnasium so I never learned how to play basketball, volleyball, or table tennis, which is what was available. I was afraid of the older guys playing those things, and as it was not organized I had to jump into anything. I mostly wandered around, listening to my mom talk, or messing around with table tennis balls, making up a game with my little siblings, stuff like that.” – Elle, homeschooled in New Jersey

“I was in track and field for two years, and baseball for one. I was not fond of either, but I did stay in marginally non-terrible shape.” – Jasmine Stairs, homeschooled in Florida and California

“I was part of community softball and soccer as a preteen. I felt very awkward and didn’t feel like I knew how to interact with my teammates. As a teenager I was in a homeschool and church school basketball league, I enjoyed that very much and appreciated being able to improve my athletic abilities as part of a team.” – Amber W., homeschooled in Arkansas

“It didn’t affect me??” – Finley, homeschooled in Texas

“It didn’t really.” – Darian, homeschooled in California

“It gave me a chance to hang out with other homeschoolers and learn how to play soccer.” – Laura N., homeschooled in New York

“It gave me a reason and motivation to exercise. I learned valuable people skills, particularly leadership and teamwork. There were some negative experiences as well, and I learned to thoroughly despise favoritism and political pandering.” – Bob, homeschooled in Illinois and Colorado

“It gave me a social outlet as well as a way to exercise.” – Hannah, homeschooled in Virginia and Oregon

“It gave me rudimentary training in the sport. It also put me under huge stress since my abusive dad was our coach for the bulk of the time.” – Wendy, homeschooled in Maryland and Ohio

“It gave me the opportunity to spend time with other kids who were not a part of my homeschool or church groups.” – Kellen, homeschooled in Washington

“It got me out of the house but was not very structured and was only once a week.” – Liz, homeschooled in Arizona

“It had a good effect on me.” – Casey, homeschooled in Maine

“It helped foster a sense of community with fellow homeschooled kids, and from that we forged deep and lasting friendships.” – Cameron, homeschooled in New Jersey

“It is possible taking dance lessons made me more coordinated. I felt pretty bad about myself because I was eventually basically held back two years.” – Elizabeth, homeschooled in Tennessee

“It isn’t something I look back on particularly fondly. I was forced to go, it was a group of other homeschoolers who were either older than me or regarded me as too worldly to associate with (we were more funda-gelical, rather than fundamentalist). It was isolating and I was also autistic and not very athletically coordinated or gifted. It was frustrating and I honestly hated it.” – Laura Smith, homeschooled in Idaho

“It made me stronger, but it made me resent my mother, who ran the programs, because I was not an athletic/sporty kid (I wanted to learn dance, but that was too sinful), and she pushed me to reach goals I had no interest in reaching.” – Bailey, homeschooled in Connecticut, California, Hawaii, and Maryland

“It taught me teamwork and gave me social outlets.” – Brittany Spencer, homeschooled in North Carolina

“It was a great activity to look forward to at 10/11 years old. However, the coaches weren’t the best quality (language, temper, etc.) so you had to weed through all of that to actually have fun.” – Taylor, homeschooled in Louisiana

“It was a weekly program where we played different sports or did outdoor activities every week. It was a positive experience because it exposed me to other homeschooled kids outside my fundamentalist community. It provided no opportunity to become proficient in any sport, which was embarrassing because I was bad at almost everything we did.” – Caitlin T., homeschooled in Pennsylvania and New Jersey

“It was an elementary P.E. co-op type deal. I didn’t enjoy it very much most of the time. Many of my fuzzy memories of the teachers are unpleasant, and the whole ordeal contributes to my current dislike of basketball. I think it was also here I learned to dislike the competitive spirit most sports carry.” – Sam, homeschooled in Illinois and Iowa

“It was an enjoyable way for me to work out my energy and socialize with other kids in a superficial way.” – E.T., homeschooled in Michigan, Virginia, and North Carolina

“It was another great opportunity for me to interact with other kids my age. It was an all around positive experience. I did sports through the YMCA, my church and in 4th grade the local public school allowed me to play on their softball team since I lived in the school district.” – Kara Harris, homeschooled in Indiana

“It was ballroom dancing. It was not very athletic, but it did help me deal with people.” – Dakota, homeschooled in Georgia and California

“It was enough to make me wish I just went to school like normal kids.” – Ian Barnes, homeschooled in Washington

“It was extremely minor. I don’t have many memories of it but I’m pretty sure I engaged in church or community athletic programs.” – Rachel O., homeschooled in Oregon

“It was fun, gave some outside the house activity. Didn’t make any friends though.” – Kendall, homeschooled in California

“It was good for me to have interaction with people my age.” – Grace, homeschooled in Illinois

“It was good to see other kids my age. Participation in sports also helped get me active. Once I reached junior high age there were no longer any community sports available.” – Faith, homeschooled in Texas

“It was mostly a positive experience. Although a few of the teams I was a member of had a wide age range and didn’t always allow for equal participation.” – Jess A., homeschooled in Idaho

“It was my only routine social outlet for many years besides church. Every Tuesday and Thursday I got to play soccer with kids my own age and that helped me develop social skills and confidence. It was even better when I participated in martial arts because the amount of time I practiced increased.” – Sarah C., homeschooled in California

“It was okay but I never got to do much team building. Since my homeschool program was very small, the membership of our drill team was always changing and I couldn’t even tell you all the girls in our team. There was no connection. My atheism may have played a role since the drill team was very religious (we marched to songs about Jesus and I don’t believe any of that so it alienated me quite a bit). Jr. Life Guards was also only a very short program that I did one year at our community pool but at least I did get to know people and have some community with them. I think secular programs are more inclusive.” – Heather, homeschooled in California

“It was pretty limited and temporary — intermittent swimming or racquetball lessons but no organized team sports. I’d say it didn’t have much of an effect.” – Alisa, homeschooled in New Mexico and Oregon

“It was usually my only mandatory interaction with other kids aside from church. I had friends but I wouldn’t ask to hang out with them too often, so this got me out of the house during the week.” – August, homeschooled in Massachusetts

“Just a fun opportunity. I don’t know that there were any long term effects.” – M.K., homeschooled in Minnesota

“Loved the social interaction, only got to do it for two years.” – Xandra, homeschooled in Maryland and Virginia

“Minimally. I played soccer for two seasons when I was around six and all I learned is that I am bad at group activities, plus the arcane rules of sports.” – Morgan, homeschooled in Washington

“More socializing, I guess, and I played group sports and games that I normally would not have.” – Misha, homeschooled in Florida

“My experience with community league baseball (from ages 8-12) began positively but ended negatively as the more we aged, the more there were cliques within teams based on what school you attended. I was the only homeschool student. That exclusion was a significant part of my decision to quit the sport. Roller deck hockey at the YMCA was much better (12-13) but they cancelled it for lack of enough interested people. So I didn’t have any sports I could participate in (and there was a significant financial investment by my parents to get me started in hockey).” – Dave Ketter, homeschooled in Pennsylvania

“Not much – turns out I have zero athletic ability and a certain talent for getting hit in the head with just about anything.” – Alyssa I., homeschooled in Indiana

“Not much. We were minimally involved. I attended a week-long summer tennis camp for about seven years in a row and went to the annual track and field competition a couple of times.” – Leslie, homeschooled in Texas

“Not very much. It was once a week, and I didn’t enjoy it.” – Missie Kay, homeschooled in Minnesota

“[I went] one time at a church and was very turned off by it, never went back. We were apparently the only secular family homeschooling in our area; all others were conservative Christians and I hated being made to feel even more different by going.” – Kris, homeschooled in Arkansas

“Only participated for a short time (about a year). It was fun, but so many kids I didn’t really get a chance to know anyone well.” – Joanna J., homeschooled in Arizona

“Overall, it was fairly benign. I personally disliked the girls I played with, but that never affected the game, only practices. My coach was odd.” – Emily O., homeschooled in Oklahoma

“Participating in athletics helped me manage my depression. Having no choice in schooling being stuck at home almost 24/7 with my family was brutal. The few hours a week of social activity with kids my age helped me form social skills and opened me up to more ideas about the world beside what my parents told me about it.” – Mary, homeschooled in New Hampshire

“Playing sports through junior high and high school was great exercise, obviously, and pushed me socially, although I didn’t make many deep friends. The friendships were mostly surface-level, because all my teammates spent five days a week together at school, while I mostly saw them at hour-long practices and games. I look back on sports, especially basketball, with fondness, but as an adult who’s experienced much more meaningful friendships with peers, I can see now why I never felt like I was part of the group back then, because I really wasn’t.” – Kate Schell, homeschooled in Idaho

“Positive connections with peers, learning rules for various games, physical activity, and sense of accomplishment.” – Charlie, homeschooled in Michigan

“Positive experience with other kids and adults.” – Corey, homeschooled in North Carolina

“Positive experience. Mom counted it as our physical ed program.” – Brook, homeschooled in Ohio

“Positively for social interactions, team but also sense of mastery. However, my parents were often the coaches so independence/separation was still not possible until I played juniors (competitive non school).” – Shanna, homeschooled in Kansas

“Positively!” – Noel, homeschooled in Oregon

“Positively. Expanded my world. Gave me an outlet for physical activity. Was my primary social circle outside of my family. Exposed me to good men who were my coaches.” – Joshua Wells, homeschooled in Oklahoma

“Social outlet, physical benefits.” – Jeremy, homeschooled in Arizona and California

“Socialization with non homeschooled kids. Responding to authority figures that weren’t my parents. As a female I did something boys were doing too.” – Tiffany, homeschooled in South Dakota, Alabama, Virginia, Colorado, and Oklahoma

“The community swim team I was on for seven summers was a good way to meet new kids (public, private, and homeschooled). It brought me out of my comfort zone and taught me hard work and valuable athletic skills.” – Anna M., homeschooled in Nebraska

“Tremendously. I was a competitive swimmer through YMCA and other community programs for eight years.” – Jennifer Bozic, homeschooled in Florida, Hawaii, and Minnesota

“x” – Skylar, homeschooled in Texas

Public School Athletics

Respondents who reported participation in a public school athletics program were asked this question: “How did participation in a public school athletics program affect you?” Their responses are as follows.

“I didn’t achieve any of my goals. I was definitely the odd one out–I was on a swim team with girls who all knew each other from school. It was alienating and I quit pretty quickly.” – Joanne, homeschooled in Washington

“I had fun, and I proved to myself that I was capable.” – Rebekah, homeschooled in Florida

“I loved it. It was a lot of fun and my parents almost never came to my games, which was great.” – D., homeschooled in Minnesota

“I was bullied because of being homeschooled but the skills and (mild) athletic abilities I gained were helpful.” – Rachel O., homeschooled in Oregon

“I was part of the cross country team. It was a challenge for me, and I got to do something that wasn’t really available a club or individual sport. I still run on a semi regular basis so it was also a life skill.” – Bethany M., homeschooled in Minnesota

“It allowed me to get more socialization outside of my family and church.” – Rene, homeschooled in Oregon

“It expanded my circle of friends and helped me learn social skills. I also learned a great deal of self-discipline that surprisingly didn’t come with being homeschooled. I gained a lot of skills in problem solving and dealing with difficult people that I have continued to build on over my life.” – Allison H., homeschooled in Pennsylvania

“It helped me have something to learn outside of my living room that I could experience with other peers my age.” – Jeanette Braun, homeschooled in Tennessee

“It taught me about teamwork, pushed me physically, and gave me insight into other people” – Brittany Spencer, homeschooled in North Carolina

“It was mostly a good experience. It was a little weird being on a team with people who knew each other and had classes together, which could make you feel out of place or like an outsider.” – Robyn, homeschooled in Alabama and Washington

“It was really good! I loved my coach and teammates and I got the opportunity to play a sport, basketball, that I loved.” – Christine W., homeschooled in Washington

“Just like in the community sports, it was a fun experience and gave me a chance to interact with other kids my age.” – Kara Harris, homeschooled in Indiana

“Mainly it impressed upon me the importance of discipline.” – Ramona, homeschooled in Wisconsin

Public School Athletics Nonparticipants Q. 1

Respondents who reported that public school athletics were available to them but that they did not participate were asked this question: “Why didn’t you participate in public school athletics?” Their responses were as follows.

“I was asked to swim for the public school, but I didn’t like the style of their workouts or the workout time of 5:45 AM.” – Jennifer Bozic, homeschooled in Florida, Hawaii, and Minnesota

“Lack of time due to other activities.” – Bob, homeschooled in Illinois and Colorado

“No one ever asked me if I wanted to participate or considered it as an option.” – Reese, homeschooled in Ohio

“Other commitments.” – Carolynn, homeschooled in Washington and Oregon

“The law ensuring access came late in high school.” – Dave Ketter, homeschooled in Pennsylvania

“We had a variety of sports already available for us to participate without the public system. We did, however, use their fields during the weekend to play.” – Ruth Anderson, homeschooled in Virginia

Public School Athletics Nonparticipants Q. 2

Respondents who reported that public school athletics programs were available to them but that they did not participate were asked this question: “How would participation in a public school athletics program have affected you?” Their responses were as follows.

“By the time our local public school allowed homeschoolers into the athletic programs, I was already heavily invested in music lessons (ultimately my career choice), 4-H, Awana, TeenAge Republicans, TeenPact, nannying, and other extracurricular activities that participation in public school athletics would have been utterly overwhelming. If given the opportunity earlier, I might have enjoyed it, but I didn’t feel as though I missed anything.” – Carolynn, homeschooled in Washington and Oregon

“I am not sure. I had a lot of social anxiety and zero interest in sports. On the few occasions I was forced to participate in athletic events on youth group nights, I remember feeling even more alienated from my peers who had actually taken PE classes.” – Reese, homeschooled in Ohio

“I didn’t want to participate in a public school athletics program, because while I felt out of place with the other homeschoolers at homeschool P.E., I felt even more out of place with public schoolers who listened to music I’d been taught was evil, who swore, and possibly (gasp) had physical relationships with one another. So, I think it might have been even more isolating than homeschool P.E. at first. I was also incredibly introverted, and that made things much more difficult. However, it might have expanded my horizons earlier and helped me rebel in some healthy ways at a younger age, as well as exposed me to more diverse ways of thinking and being in the world. So, I’m not sure. Because of how little support I had at home (and because I’m autistic), I think it could have been really, really difficult. But it also could have been invaluable to experience something so foreign at that young age.” – Laura Smith, homeschooled in Idaho

“I don’t think it would have changed my experience very much. I participated in horseback riding, soccer, softball, swim team, and dance during high school.” – Ruth Anderson, homeschooled in Virginia

“I may have known a few more friends, but it is hard to quantify an experience you didn’t have.” – M.K., homeschooled in Minnesota

“I probably would have had more friends than I already did.” – Jennifer Bozic, homeschooled in Florida, Hawaii, and Minnesota

“I really can’t say how it would have. At the time I wasn’t interested in competitive sports, and didn’t realize that not all sports are team v. team–I probably would have pursued cross country & track had I known more about them.” – Sam, homeschooled in Illinois and Iowa

“I think it would have been good to interact with public school kids on a regular basis, but I just had no interest in any type of athletics aside from ballet.” – August, homeschooled in Massachusetts

“I think it would have been positive and helped with socialization. I enjoyed sports and was reasonably athletic. Could have prepared me to be better integrated at college.” – Dave Ketter, homeschooled in Pennsylvania

“I think it would have created more social opportunities and taught me consistency. We were always jumping from one homeschool fad to the next – I don’t remember ever finishing things when I was at home.” – Jaime, homeschooled in Arizona

“I would have been less sheltered.” – Grace, homeschooled in Illinois

“I would have had exposure to a much greater amount of kids my age, but I may have felt at a disadvantage socially because coming from a small town all the public school kids grew up with each other.” – Jess A., homeschooled in Idaho

“I would have learned how to work with a team, learned to handle criticism better, and really enjoyed playing competitive sports.” – Amanda, homeschooled in Ohio and Pennsylvania

“I’d probably have had more of an exercise habit. I definitely would have made a few more friends sooner. However, I did participate in the public school drama program, and made friends there.” – Missie Kay, homeschooled in Minnesota

“I’m not sure, I have never cared for team sports so I never asked to join one.” – Blair, homeschooled in Maine

“It certainly would have improved my abilities due to playing against tougher competition.” – Bob, homeschooled in Illinois and Colorado

“More interaction with public schooled kids, but earlier mornings and less time for schoolwork.” – Jeremy, homeschooled in Arizona and California

“Negatively. I avoid team sports assiduously.” – Brad B., homeschooled in Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Texas, and Mississippi

“Participating in public school athletics could have given me a whole new perspective on what goes on in the world. Coming from a very sheltered home I was taught most people outside of our homeschooling groups or people with different views were bad people.” – Mary, homeschooled in New Hampshire

“That’s an impossible question.” – Jacqueline, homeschooled in Missouri

Respondents with No Public School Athletics Access

Respondents who did not have, or did not know whether they had, access to public school athletics programs were asked this question: “How would participation in a public school athletics program have affected you? Their responses were as follows.

“It would have been one more activity I was doing.” – Sarah N., homeschooled in New York

“I wish I had at least tried being part of a team sport. It would have been fun to try being competitive and part of a team. I probably would have been too timid to try it, though.” – E.I., homeschooled in Illinois

“I believe I would have been much more in tune with my generation, not suffered as much depression from isolation, able to recognise the strange and abusive patterns of my family earlier, and maybe even be a great athlete. I was a good enough swimmer to be at the top of my group among swimmers to swim all year when I only swam on a community team during the summer.” – Max, homeschooled in Maryland and Ohio

“?” – Skylar, homeschooled in Texas

“A more varied social opportunity, access to higher quality coaching, and more opportunities for colleges to scout me for scholarships.” – Susanna, homeschooled in Missouri

“Adversely.” – Morgan, homeschooled in Washington

“As I said about the community pool Jr. Life Guards program, the secular program was more welcoming. My homeschool’s religious drill team excluded me. I even remember one girl telling me I was going to Hell because I wanted to go back to public school.” – Heather, homeschooled in California

“Because homeschooling crippled me socially and I was taught to be afraid of public schooled kids, I would probably be uneasy about participating. If this hadn’t been the case, I would probably benefit greatly from it.” – E.T., homeschooled in Michigan, Virginia, and North Carolina

“Being friends with people outside my insular world would have made me feel less socially inept as an adult.” – Bethany T., homeschooled in Tennessee

“Better social interaction; awareness of educational possibilities; better understanding of the world around me.” – Addison, homeschooled in Virginia

“Better social skills.” – Riley, homeschooled in Florida

“Connection with more peers, ability to compete on a broader scale, possible scholarship opportunities, stronger portfolio for college admissions, and greater sense of accomplishments.” – Charlie, homeschooled in Michigan

“Don’t know.” – Darian, homeschooled in California

“Hard to say, I was homeschooled for third grade only. Had I been by myself for more than one year I would have liked it I think because I was lonely, but one year at age 8 wasn’t bad.” – Kris, homeschooled in Arkansas

“I approached my local high school to allow me to try out for their tennis team. I didn’t ask for a spot on the team, just the opportunity to try out and go from there. They said no. I think participating in the tennis team would have allowed me to further develop my skills and allow me to spend more time with friends who were in public school and already on the team.” – Taylor, homeschooled in Louisiana

“I believe it would have had a positive impact in that I wasn’t cooped up at home and hiding during school hours, and I would have had/made friends vs. only having contact with individuals in our church.” – Jennifer Stahl, homeschooled in Texas and Alabama

“I believe it would have helped to add perspective to an isolated, abused lifestyle that was accepted as the norm. It may have given me options to seek help for abuse.” – Joseph, homeschooled in Oregon

“I could have had a chance to make friends and have other adult input in my life.” – Avery, homeschooled in Arkansas

“I don’t know enough about public school athletics programs to answer this question.” – Elizabeth, homeschooled in Tennessee

“I don’t really care for athletics. Thinking about it makes it feel like an obligation, since my home school athletics were low on competition.” – Devon, homeschooled in Indiana

“I don’t think it would have.” – Finley, homeschooled in Texas

“I enjoyed playing sports recreationally but did not want to play at a more competitive level so I would not have enjoyed the more serious competition.” – Corey, homeschooled in North Carolina

“I feel like it would have provided much needed physical and social activity that was otherwise hard to have access to where I grew up.” – Angel, homeschooled in Arizona

“I felt at the time that public schools owed us. Now I don’t feel that way.” – Kerry, homeschooled in Georgia

“I may have enjoyed sports or physical education more, because it would have been a way to interact with new people, and it wouldn’t have been my overbearing mother constantly berating me for ‘not trying’” – Bailey, homeschooled in Connecticut, California, Hawaii, and Maryland

“I might even a healthier person, but I would certainly have benefitted from making friends and being less alone.” – Meg, homeschooled in Louisiana

“I might have developed decent social skills and learned how to take better care of myself physically.” – Mary-Kathryn Wiley, homeschooled in Georgia

“I probably wouldn’t be as socially awkward as I am now. And I might have a sport that I enjoyed instead of not caring about any of them.” – E.C., homeschooled in Kansas and Arkansas

“I probably wouldn’t have wanted to participate because I was shy and afraid of public schoolers, but I think it would have been great for me. I’ve always regretted and been embarrassed by my lack of athletic ability and the exposure to different types of people would have been good for me.” – Alisa, homeschooled in New Mexico and Oregon

“I think I would have felt more normal. I didn’t fit into the stereotype of the super smart and studious homeschooler and I wasn’t public schooled so I didn’t have a place to belong.” – Rory, homeschooled in Washington

“I think I would have made more friends even. I think I might have developed different social skills that I lacked at the time.” – Val M., homeschooled in Indiana and Texas

“I think I would’ve been a lot happier and healthier” – Lierre Rue, homeschooled in Massachusetts and Texas

“I think I’d have been viewed negatively by the other kids on the team. I was always introverted and shy (not due to being homeschooled–my siblings were very social–but just a personality trait). I often had trouble making friends and I dressed a little weirdly (again, this was my own fault, not because I was homeschooled). Being in a public school environment would probably have subjected me to a lot of unfortunate social dynamics and peer pressure that I wasn’t ready for. I was one of those girls who grew up a little later than most, and in my own good time. Homeschooling allowed me to be comfortable with myself during that process, and I think being on a public school athletic team–at least during the crucial middle/high school years–would have really made me miserable.” – Anna M., homeschooled in Nebraska

“I think it would have built confidence and been a place for creativity and positive peer relationships.” – Dawn, homeschooled in Missouri and Texas

“I think it would have given me more confidence and helped me expand my social network.” – Trinity, homeschooled in Michigan

“I think it would have helped my ambition levels.” – Casey, homeschooled in Maine

“I think it would have helped my self confidence and helped me make friends. I had no friends my age that I saw on a daily basis.” – Shawn, homeschooled in Pennsylvania and Maryland

“I think it would’ve made me not want to be homeschooled. I would’ve seen what it was like on the other side and really wanted that.” – Cameron, homeschooled in New Jersey

“I was homeschooled from K-12 and had no friends as a child other than my sister. I also knew barely anything about sports and didn’t play them at all as an adolescent. As to how an athletics program would have affected me, I know that I would have been terrified to socialize with public school kids back then. However, I now know as an adult, that it would have helped me become more socialized with other kids my own age and opened my eyes to developing relationships with kids who were different than myself.” – Janean, homeschooled in New York and Ohio

“I was never very coordinated or athletic despite growing up on a farm. Exposure to athletics programs would have helped immensely in building confidence, social skills, and healthy habits.” – Naomi, homeschooled in Pennsylvania

“I would assume that the level of play would have improved, but I may have liked my teammates even less.” – Emily O., homeschooled in Oklahoma

“I would have actually been able to play a team sport, something I still have never done.” – Leslie, homeschooled in Texas

“I would have been able to be around kids my age and hopefully make friends. It would also have been an encouragement to stay active and healthy.” – Faith, homeschooled in Texas

“I would have been able to get in contact with people outside my belief system who would have helped me realize my parents were abusive.” – Dakota, homeschooled in Georgia and California

“I would have been able to get outside my homeschool bubble.” – Jordan, homeschooled in Washington

“I would have been exposed to different people and new ways of thinking.” – Sara, homeschooled in South Carolina

“I would have been exposed to greater society sooner. It would have given me quality time away from home. I would have worked hard to build individual and team skills in preparation for college sports.” – Wendy, homeschooled in Maryland and Ohio

“I would have been less socially awkward. I might be more active today.” – Ada, homeschooled in Oklahoma and Colorado

“I would have broadened the range of sports available to me. At the time I was homeschooled, basketball was the only competitive sport. That’s changed since then. I would have gotten more exposure for athletic scholarships if I’d played at the school in my district, which is one of the largest in the state. Better competition.” – Joshua Wells, homeschooled in Oklahoma

“I would have gained lifelong skills but mostly to gain comfort with my body, know what I am physically able to do, learn to push my endurance, build stronger core muscles and make friends.” – Karen, homeschooled in California

“I would have had a more positive body image and might not have developed an eating disorder.” – Caitlin T., homeschooled in Pennsylvania and New Jersey

“I would have had more exposure to public schooled kids as well as new friends, and [it would have] given me exposure to a stronger sports program.” – Hannah, homeschooled in Virginia and Oregon

“I would have had more socialization.” – Sash, homeschooled in Texas

“I would have liked to meet other students my age and socialize. I don’t think my parents would have allowed me because they didn’t like public schools for religious reasons (too secular).” – A.R., homeschooled in Rhode Island

“I would have made friends, and become more familiar with the public school kid culture. I also would have been able to see if I wanted to play a sport to scholarship level, or even just had an aptitude. I thought I was clumsy and unathletic and unskilled. But I never tried. In adulthood I’ve discovered I am far more capable than I always thought, and can learn and participate easily in various athletics disciplines. I wonder what I would have done, had I known this at a younger age.” – Elle, homeschooled in New Jersey

“I would have met more friends.” – Sandra, homeschooled in Michigan

“I would have probably had a more organized athletics career, with enough people to form more teams. It is possible that with a gymnastics program or a program that didn’t involve team sports (I have poor depth perception and eye-hand coordination, especially while moving) I would have enjoyed athleticism more. But I doubt I would have participated in more sports, I already had weekly meetings.” – Jasmine Stairs, homeschooled in Florida and California

“I would have thought better about the school system in general, and would have felt more connected.” – Kelly T., homeschooled in Texas

“I would not have had any desire to participate.” – Payton, homeschooled in Texas

“I would not have wanted to do this, I was too cognizant of the differences between myself and public school kids.” – Amber W., homeschooled in Arkansas

“I wouldn’t have been so isolated.” – Adrian, homeschooled in Washington

“I wouldn’t have done it – see previous answer.” – Alyssa I., homeschooled in Indiana

“I wouldn’t have wanted to participate but only because my caregivers would not have approved of even the DESIRE to do so because public schools were seen as evil. I would have gotten exposure to the outside world if I’d participated in a public school athletics program and I might have even come in contact with mandatory reporters or teaching that would have informed me about the ongoing abuse in my family.” – Anna Rose, homeschooled in Virginia

“I would’ve been less isolated and created a lot more healthy habits for keeping active.” – Liz, homeschooled in Arizona

“I would’ve have been more involved in my community, and more likely to develop positive relationships that didn’t necessarily involve my own religious beliefs, so when I got pregnant, I may not have been completely shunned and alienated by my peers.” – Brianna Dunning, homeschooled in Texas

“I’d have been able to grow and mature with people my age and stage in life.” – Alex, homeschooled in Oklahoma and Texas

“I’m not sure. I’ve never been interested in athletics, personally.” – Joanna J., homeschooled in Arizona

“I’m unsure. I was never athletic, but being active is something that’s always been a struggle for me.” – Susan, homeschooled in Tennessee

“Interaction with peers who did not have the same beliefs that my parents did would have been good for me. Learning to be athletic/active as a child would have really helped me start good habits as an adult.” – Dallas, homeschooled in Texas

“It may have given me more opportunities to find lifelong friends or even just friends outside of the aforementioned groups (homeschool, church).” – Kellen, homeschooled in Washington

“It may have taught me to work well in a team.” – Bea, homeschooled in Texas

“It might have expanded my view of the world; as a fundamentalist homeschooler, I rarely encountered people or ideas my parents and/or church didn’t agree with. I wish I’d been exposed to broader humanity earlier, and being on a secular team could’ve helped with that. That said, I had poor social skills and tons of social anxiety, so being dropped among a bunch of non-Christian teens who didn’t speak the same evangelical language might have been very overwhelming and isolating.” – Kate Schell, homeschooled in Idaho

“It might have helped me develop self-discipline. I have very little natural aptitude for sports, so it could have been an ugly experience, or it could have helped me develop the ability to approach things that are hard for me as learning opportunities, rather than avoiding them as I still do to this day.” – Jill Loft, homeschooled in Washington

“It might have helped me like exercise more. But I’m not naturally athletic so it would have been hard work and maybe not successful.” – Eliza, homeschooled in New York

“It might have increased my interest or willingness to participate in team sports and helped promote lifetime healthy habits.” – Katie, homeschooled in Indiana

“It probably would have been a good way for me to get to know different types of people, develop team spirit, and learn some athletic skills.” – Giselle, homeschooled in Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee

“It probably would have given me more social connection and potentially greater connection to others during the year. In particular, I had been part of that public school system as a student before so it would have continued some of those already existing connections. It also probably would have felt overwhelming to maintain added commitments during a difficult year since my mom died from cancer during that year.” – Lee, homeschooled in Pennsylvania

“It would have allowed me socialization with peers my own age. It also would have instilled a love of fitness that I didn’t discover until years later.” – Alyssa T., homeschooled in Texas and Colorado

“It would have benefited me greatly, both physically and socially.” – Brianna Schuyler, homeschooled in Virginia

“It would have broadened my social circle and offered access to sports training in things my family didn’t already participate in.” – Lisa, homeschooled in Tennessee

“It would have given me a much larger view of the world and made it more difficult to keep me brainwashed.” – Sophie, homeschooled in New York and Maine

“It would have given me exposure to and helped me learn how to interact in social situations better.” – Lynne, homeschooled in Pennsylvania

“It would have given me greater access to peers which would definitely have improved my social skills.” – Sarah C., homeschooled in California

“It would have given me more opportunities to build my skills and possibly pursue sports into college.” – Amber M., homeschooled in Maine and Oklahoma

“It would have given me more opportunities to interact with peers who were unlike me, to overcome my self-consciousness about my body, and to improve my body’s abilities (strength, coordination, etc.).” – Michelle, homeschooled in Alabama

“It would have given me the opportunity to engage with and make friends with people outside of my home and church. I would have had the opportunity to learn teamwork and how to work with people who may have differing views, ideas, etc. I would have learned what it means to achieve, how to share in that excitement, and how achievement can have such positive effects on one’s self esteem. I would have had another adult to look to as a role model and even perhaps someone I could talk to about what was going on at home.” – Sarah P., homeschooled in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Kentucky, and Indiana

“It would have greatly improved my social skills.” – Nate Crawford, homeschooled in Kentucky

“It would have improved my social skills, no doubt. However, it may have made me even more aware of how different I was from my peers. I probably would have been embarrassed by how out of touch I was with the outside secular world. It probably would also have enhanced my desire to attend public school.” – Laura B., homeschooled in Virginia, Rhode Island, and South Carolina

“It would have increased the diversity of my peer group and helped me to come out of my shell.” – Megan B., homeschooled in Idaho

“It would have introduced me to people of different viewpoints, therefore broadening my mind.” – Laura N., homeschooled in New York

“It would have made me less fearful and anxious of things and people I did not know well outside of my home. It would have made me less fearful of public school and the outside world. It would have given me more friends and helped me socially. It would have given me confidence in my body and helped me with performance anxiety.” – Rachel G., homeschooled in Georgia

“It would’ve caused me anxiety because I was often made fun of for not knowing how to play certain sports or games.” – Christine U., homeschooled in Utah

“It’s hard to say. It would’ve given me an outlet and the possibility of friends my age. A chance to get out of the house.” – Jessi, homeschooled in New York

“It’s hard to say. There were times I wanted to play soccer for the local high school but I probably wouldn’t have been good enough to join.” – Christy, homeschooled in Texas

“I’ve always disliked sports of any sort, particularly team sports, as I have little athletic ability or inclination. During my years as a homeschooler, I was grateful to be able to avoid gym class and other athletic activities. As an adult, I can see how participation in such activities could have benefitted me. That said, on the whole, of all the things I regret missing out on due to homeschooling (and there are many such things, which, at age 37, I still feel acutely), for me, participation in sports is not one of them.” – Jenny, homeschooled in South Carolina, Rhode Island, and California

“Less socially awkward, more in shape physically and emotionally.” – Quinn, homeschooled in Virginia and Ohio

“Made friends, be in better shape at an earlier age.” – Kallie Ferguson, homeschooled in Washington

“May have had more friends, something to keep occupied with.” – Hudson, homeschooled in Colorado

“Maybe I would have made some friends.” – Raya, homeschooled in North Carolina and New York

“More interaction, more friends outside of church.” – Xandra, homeschooled in Maryland and Virginia

“More opportunities at the higher level of competition.” – Brook, homeschooled in Ohio

“More social skills, and it would have given me a more secular world view.” – A.M., homeschooled in Arkansas and Michigan

“N/a” – Tiffany, homeschooled in South Dakota, Alabama, Virginia, Colorado, and Oklahoma

“Not any different than participating in community based programs did.” – Dusty, homeschooled in Mississippi

“Not at all since I was focused on swimming and not any typical school sports.” – Emily V., homeschooled in Virginia

“Not sure” – Harley, homeschooled in Georgia

“not sure.” – Noel, homeschooled in Oregon

“Not sure. Was more introverted.” – Misha, homeschooled in Florida

“Not sure? I probably would have felt the weird awkward one out, felt like I was intruding, felt elitist/superior to kids my age, dressed all funny and wrong (and not really have minded), and would have had a hard time integrating/participating with my peers, but would have looked up to and liked most of the adults. When I went to a private school for the first time in 10th grade, these were all reactions of mine. I didn’t develop friends my age till college, and I sort of doubt public school athletics would have helped me personally. Again, nerdy awkward introvert to begin with.” – Marie, homeschooled in New Mexico, Alabama, Colorado, Ohio, and Missouri

“Opened the door for more competitive environment.” – J.W., homeschooled in Oklahoma

“Positively affected my ability to interact with humans.” – Leia Ford, homeschooled in Pennsylvania and New Jersey

“Probably would have opened my eyes to the realities of the world outside the homeschool bubble a lot sooner.” – Dan, homeschooled in Texas

“The school in my district wasn’t as good as my homeschool team. I would assume that I’d have dealt with feeling like an outsider and animosity from parents and kids who actually went to the school. Positive would have been the ability to play in the state tournament and receive more local notoriety.” – Z.D.W., homeschooled in Oklahoma

“Unknown” – Daniel S., homeschooled in Georgia

“We didn’t go, so I couldn’t know.” – Sidney, homeschooled in Michigan

“Who knows. I’m not a team sports person so I would not have done it unless made to.” – Kendall, homeschooled in California

“Wider exposure to collegiate opportunities with sports. Anxiety due to public school peers/not fitting in.” – Shanna, homeschooled in Kansas

“Would have allowed me to be part of a community. Gained friends etc.” – J.D., homeschooled in Wisconsin

“Would have made me wish I could just go to fucking school!” – Ian Barnes, homeschooled in Washington

Public School Athletics Availability

All respondents were asked this question: “Why do you think public school athletics should or should not be available to homeschooled students?” Their responses were as follows.

“A lot of times that is where the scouts for college sports will see you. So just for the opportunity for homeschool athletes to get seen by scouts is a reason public school sports should be available.” – Christine W., homeschooled in Washington

“All children benefit from organized movement activities, whether that means sports or some other kind of athletic program, and homeschooled children shouldn’t be deprived of that just because their parents are determined to deprive them of other educational opportunities.” – Joanne, homeschooled in Washington

“All kids should be able to participate in sports, regardless of where they are educated, especially if the public school teams are the only options in town.” – Tiffany, homeschooled in South Dakota, Alabama, Virginia, Colorado, and Oklahoma

“Allowing homeschooled students an opportunity to participate in public school sports could allow them to have more opportunity for sport involvement in college and after.” – Christy, homeschooled in Texas

“Another sibling participated in public school athletics. It brought structure and discipline to his life, the favoritism of homeschool athletics didn’t exist, and he had access to college recruiters and many peer friendships.” – Sara, homeschooled in South Carolina

“As they are supplied by public funding they should be available to all children of school ages in the US.” – Noel, homeschooled in Oregon

“At the end of the day, it’s public, and homeschool working parents are helping to pay taxes that support the schools. Homeschooled students should be able to participate even if they don’t attend other public school classes.” – Hannah, homeschooled in Virginia and Oregon

“Athletic programs are very beneficial to kids, especially ones who have a desire to participate in them and potentially turn it into a career. All kids should be provided the opportunities to be a part of a team.” – Joanna J., homeschooled in Arizona

“Athletics and other clubs should be available because it is the district where the family lives! They still pay their taxes and participate in the community. There is no logical reason a family could not participate in sports just because they were homeschooling.” – Charlie, homeschooled in Michigan

“Athletics are important and there are situations where the public system is either the only choice or the best choice for an athletic program. Especially for sports which require more resources, such as football.” – Ruth Anderson, homeschooled in Virginia

“Athletics is one area that homeschoolers don’t always have as much access to as those in public or private school. There are many benefits to children being involved in sports. Although I would have been an active child with or without sports, some kids need sports to get them out and moving. Sports are also a great way for homeschooled kids to make friends and interact with other kids their age.” – Kara Harris, homeschooled in Indiana

“Athletics is part of the community of a public school. Homeschoolers are willful non-participants, non-joiners, often even hostile to the culture and services. They contribute little to the community, so they shouldn’t be allowed to benefit from its services. Taxes are not a free ticket. Many non-child-havers pay taxes to support schools but cannot claim any benefits.” – Kerry, homeschooled in Georgia

“Athletics programs that are not in a school, such as martial arts or dance, are also valuable. Not everything has to be centred in a public school. But being able to access programs that everyone else gets to be in, that the family’s tax dollars go towards, would also be good.” – Jasmine Stairs, homeschooled in Florida and California

“Athletics should be available to homeschoolers because there can be no substitute for it in the home. You can substitute learning/teaching from your own materials but you can not substitute athletics and the role they play in social learning.” – E.C., homeschooled in Kansas and Arkansas

“Because (a) their tax dollars are already supporting such programs, and (b) it would be beneficial for some homeschool students.” – Brad B., homeschooled in Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Texas, and Mississippi

“Because every kid deserves the chance to pursue sports, be part of a team and do something they love.” – Alex, homeschooled in Oklahoma and Texas

“Because everyone pays taxes supporting public schools, so why shouldn’t their programs be open to homeschoolers? In my own life, academics and music and athletics were all atomized, so it’s difficult for me to understand the argument “if you want to play basketball during these 3 hours with our team, YOU MUST ALSO DO THIS WHOLE OTHER COMPLETELY UNRELATED BUNDLE OF THINGS WITH US 30 OTHER HOURS A WEEK.” (I also am a fan of letting homeschoolers pick/choose some public school academic classes to attend, like how I ultimately mixed and matched private and homeschooling during my senior year of high school, due to a really flexible homeschooler-friendly private school. And like how community colleges often work). Sports teams are one thing that homeschooling is ill equipped to have the infrastructure for (like science labs, too), and I don’t think a person should have to buy the whole cable bundle of private school to access the one or two channels that they want or need (and are paying taxes to support regardless). Plus anything that helps integrate homeschool kids into their wider local community, giving them other adults as role models and other people who can spot possible abuse, is almost always a good thing.” – Marie, homeschooled in New Mexico, Alabama, Colorado, Ohio, and Missouri

“Because homeschool students might not have a choice. Also everyone pays taxes for schools.” – A.M., homeschooled in Arkansas and Michigan

“Because homeschoolers need to be involved in something that will expose them to the average kid and the average sporting event.” – Jordan, homeschooled in Washington

“Because it helps homeschooled children interact with others.” – Riley, homeschooled in Florida

“Because parents are paying school taxes regardless of whether their children are able to or desire to attend that school or not. The public school activities are supposed to be for the benefit of the public.” – Lynne, homeschooled in Pennsylvania

“Because playing sports should not be denied to people whose parents are paying taxes anyway” – Grace, homeschooled in Illinois

“Because they are tax funded and therefore open to all students” – Adrian, homeschooled in Washington

“Because they need the social interaction and the chance to shine at things they are good at.” – Eliza, homeschooled in New York

“Especially in rural communities, public school athletics are often the only resource available to homeschooled children, particularly if there is no organized church program, or if the homeschooler or homeschooler’s family is atheist or nonreligious.” – Ramona, homeschooled in Wisconsin

“Exercise is important, as well as learning team building skills” – Kallie Ferguson, homeschooled in Washington

“For kids who have athletic interests it makes sense to allow them to participate, especially in sports like track or wrestling where you really need a school environment to foster the activities.” – Amber W., homeschooled in Arkansas

“For students that want to participate they should be available since property taxes help fund them.” – M.K., homeschooled in Minnesota

“Greater opportunities for everyone” – Payton, homeschooled in Texas

“Having structured, well lead (by well informed teachers/coaches) athletics is something HS students don’t really get at home. You don’t get the benefits of working/playing with people your own age, and you definitely don’t get the instruction needed to improve skills and strength across the board. Having the public school’s program available would increase physical health in HS students, and, by extension, overall health. Having a physically fit body helps foster a mentally fit one.” – Sam, homeschooled in Illinois and Iowa

“Home schooled students need to be in touch with their community and to meet diverse people and interact meaningfully with them.” – Wendy, homeschooled in Maryland and Ohio

“Homeschool families pay taxes to support the public school system. They should be allowed access to any benefits the public schools have to offer, even if they choose to manage part or all of their academics in a different fashion.” – Carolynn, homeschooled in Washington and Oregon

“Homeschool families pay the same taxes as everyone else. They should have the benefit of extracurriculars funded by those taxes.” – Bethany T., homeschooled in Tennessee

“Homeschool families typically pay taxes that contribute to public education and the associated athletic programs, and therefore should have equal privileges and access to such.” – Bob, homeschooled in Illinois and Colorado

“Homeschool kids should still have the opportunity to participate in athletics if they want, so making public school athletics available to homeschooled kids will give them this opportunity since homeschool athletics are not always available.” – August, homeschooled in Massachusetts

“Homeschool parents pay taxes toward the public school system, therefore their children should be allowed access to the programs provided. Many homeschool students are athletically/physically underdeveloped because they do not have access to such programs.” – Bea, homeschooled in Texas

“Homeschooled parents pay taxes too and allowing their children the option to benefit from tax-funded schools in other ways than the education the parents specifically opted out of seems fair. It definitely would benefit many children to have the access to peer interaction, healthy competition, and constructive teams that they might not have in a homeschooled setting.” – Jill Loft, homeschooled in Washington

“Homeschooled students deserve the same opportunities in athletics. Our tax money goes to schools to support all students and that should include students in nontraditional education settings.” – Sarah C., homeschooled in California

“Homeschooled students need the opportunity to socialize, work with a team, and take constructive criticism from a coach. It helps as they grow up and join the workforce, giving them essential tools for being a good contributor to society.” – Amanda, homeschooled in Ohio and Pennsylvania

“Homeschooled students should have every possible opportunity to participate in activities with their peers.” – Addison, homeschooled in Virginia

“Homeschooled students should have resources available to them that are also available to public school students. In the case of athletics, these resources help keep homeschooled kids active, expand their social circles and introduce them to people with different experiences, and teach them lessons from physical coordination to teamwork. And I say this as someone who was definitely bullied on my public school sports teams. I still think the option should be open, and hopefully normalizing it can reduce the bullying I experienced.” – Rachel O., homeschooled in Oregon

“Homeschoolers don’t have many resources and become very isolated, any resources would be great.” – Meg, homeschooled in Louisiana

“Homeschoolers need to be connected to the community. Parents are not able or qualified to teach all areas and allowing a trained professional allows students to grow to their potential. Parents should also not be their child’s only life coach. Parents are not going to be with their child through their entire life and it is important to learn to take direction, criticism, training, and help from other people. This prepares the student for life in the adult world and dealing with bosses or other authority figures” – Karen, homeschooled in California

“Homeschoolers often do not have access to athletic programs and can be left out of that opportunity completely. Public schools can make it so that families who live in the same district can join with the school. This would benefit the school and all families involved, both public and homeschooled.” – Rachel G., homeschooled in Georgia

“I believe being able to take part of public school athletics would give homeschoolers a social outlet that many don’t otherwise have. I also think it lets them have contact with caring adults besides their parents who can affect them positively.” – Raya, homeschooled in North Carolina and New York

“I believe it should, unless the community has enough homeschool students to create their own team(s) that can compete with private/public schools. The point of a team is to represent a group of people or a place you identify with and wish to represent.” – Emily V., homeschooled in Virginia

“I do think they should be available, but at the same time I can see the potential problems posed to the schools involved. To some extent, I feel that the parents who choose to home educate are responsible to expose their children to athletic opportunities; however, if the local school system is willing to help facilitate this, that would be wonderful.” – Michelle, homeschooled in Alabama

“I don’t have a strong preference. In Oklahoma, the level of home school athletics is fairly high at this point, especially in basketball and baseball. Other sports are not as quality. I would suggest the main reason public school athletics should be available to homeschooled students is because they’re paying for them whether they participate or not. It’s a public service provided by taxpayer dollars. If you live in the district and meet the same eligibility requirements as other students in terms of behavior and grades, I don’t see why you shouldn’t be allowed to play. On the flip side, if you’re unwilling to submit to limited oversight from the school district on grades and educational progress, then you shouldn’t be able to play for the local public school.” – Joshua Wells, homeschooled in Oklahoma

“I don’t have opinions on that.” – Alyssa I., homeschooled in Indiana

“I don’t necessarily feel that schools should be forced to allow homeschoolers, I do not know the oversight and cost repercussions of including access for non students. But I definitely think it would be beneficial for homeschool children to have access, for the sake of not feeling segregated and promoting inclusiveness but also for the myriad of other benefits athletic programs offer, especially if there are no community/church programs available.” – Amber M., homeschooled in Maine and Oklahoma

“I don’t really care one way or another.” – Finley, homeschooled in Texas

“I grew up in Kansas City where there were other private (still competitive) programs for homeschoolers. We played mostly public schools. However, on smaller places, there might not be any other options besides public school sports. However, so many homeschool to keep their kids”untainted” so the pressures and differences may negatively impact homeschoolers ability to belong. But, I suppose it’s possible it could really expand the homeschoolers worldview (would homeschool parents actually go for this?).” – Shanna, homeschooled in Kansas

“I have mixed feelings. I think at the high school level it’s harder to find community teams to be a part of. In the younger years, it’s easier to just find a peewee team to be on. I think for college and competition levels, it would be good to have the higher level of competition” – Brook, homeschooled in Ohio

“I stated”disagree” and not”strongly disagree” because I think a case could be made either way. I tend to believe that it should not be a *requirement* for state funded education systems to be open to individuals not participating in the educational aspects of the system to be allowed in the athletic aspect of the system. If a system deems that it’s healthy for itself to allow it, great. I don’t think it should be a requirement though.” – Joseph, homeschooled in Oregon

“I support increasing homeschoolers’ access to athletics programs. However, I also understand that public schools have limited resources and it could be unfair for homeschoolers to take those resources (especially with programs with limited spaces like teams sports where a homeschooler could try out for every school in the district in case they don’t make it into one). Perhaps homeschoolers should be limited to participating only in one school based on district to avoid”shopping around”. I also feel that homeschoolers ought to be required to meet the same medical/other standards as public schooled kids to participate (ex: required vaccinations).” – E.T., homeschooled in Michigan, Virginia, and North Carolina

“I suppose that it should be because it’s important for homeschoolers to participate in sports and to be exposed to other types of people and beliefs, etc. however, I feel pretty negatively about homeschooling altogether so it’s hard for me to see any changes/developments as positive since I feel that as long as kids are still being schooled at home there’s a problem” – Laura B., homeschooled in Virginia, Rhode Island, and South Carolina

“I think all kids should have the chance to pursue their interests or be a part of their community no matter how they are getting their education.” – Allison H., homeschooled in Pennsylvania

“I think athletic programs should be available (and encouraged) for homeschoolers but I don’t have a preference on public schools or other avenues.” – Dallas, homeschooled in Texas

“I think athletics foster many qualities, such as teamwork and leadership, that are important for any kid regardless of whether they are homeschooled or not. All children should have access.” – Cameron, homeschooled in New Jersey

“I think homeschooled kids should have as many opportunities as possible to participate in activities with peers. As long as homeschooled kids meet the same standards required of public schooled kids for participation in athletics, they should be afforded the same opportunities.” – Reese, homeschooled in Ohio

“I think it can give children who don’t have an opportunity for athletics in their homeschool to have another way to participate. If parents and coaches are understanding and make sure the homeschool student can participate without being picked on for maybe not knowing how to play right away, I think it would be a good social and physical outlet for any students.” – Christine U., homeschooled in Utah

“I think it is difficult to open public school sports to homeschooled students. Public school students have to meet various standards to be eligible to play on their school’s team. It doesn’t seem fair to maybe have a homeschooled student take the place of a public school student that is at the school every day and required to meet attendance,fund raising,and grade level standards.” – Jessi, homeschooled in New York

“I think it is good to have connections between the homeschool and public school community and sports can be common ground for both student athletes and coaches.” – Corey, homeschooled in North Carolina

“I think it is important for homeschoolers to be plugged into local community in some way.” – Dawn, homeschooled in Missouri and Texas

“I think it should be available to give homeschooled students opportunities to socialize and have some oversight in their lives.” – Avery, homeschooled in Arkansas

“I think it should be available to homeschool students because they pay school taxes” – Laura N., homeschooled in New York

“I think it should be because otherwise homeschoolers are left with few, often expensive options to participate in organized sports.” – Dan, homeschooled in Texas

“I think it should because homeschool families pay taxes that support public school athletic programs” – Susanna, homeschooled in Missouri

“I think it should. It exposes them to others outside their own social group and to mandatory reporters. It also encourages them to stay active and healthy” – Faith, homeschooled in Texas

“I think it would be good for socialization and development of community spirit.” – Sophie, homeschooled in New York and Maine

“I think it would be wonderful to give all kids the opportunity” – Rory, homeschooled in Washington

“I think it would give kids more opportunities to explore a variety of sports and activities to figure out which one fit them best, vs. being pigeonholed into whatever their parents could teach them.” – Bailey, homeschooled in Connecticut, California, Hawaii, and Maryland

“I think it’s important for all children to be involved in SOME sport. Schools have an existing structure for this, and it would be easier to integrate student into this structure instead of creating a new one.” – Quinn, homeschooled in Virginia and Ohio

“I think it’s important for socialization purposes and for exercise. The activities I did growing up didn’t really benefit me athletically and I would have maybe been more comfortable being active around other students. My parents didn’t emphasize athletics either. I’m not sure what public school athletics look like though.” – A.R., homeschooled in Rhode Island

“I think participating in athletics is very important because it encourages healthy lifestyles, helps homeschoolers make friends, builds confidence, and teaches team participation. A lot of homeschooled students don’t have this opportunity because they are kept socially isolated, and don’t have an opportunity to participate in athletics. Even *if* public school athletics was available to homeschoolers, I don’t think they would be allowed to participate because their parents would want them out of the public school system. I think it’s important to have athletics for homeschooled students.” – Sash, homeschooled in Texas

“I think public school athletics should be available to everyone because everyone contributes financially to public education & interacting with students from different educational backgrounds is a beneficial learning experience for everyone.” – Lierre Rue, homeschooled in Massachusetts and Texas

“I think that public school athletics should absolutely be available as an option. These are often kids who have been so socially and religiously isolated that services like this have the ability to open their world and do a lot of good. I think it could be a really good option for a lot of kids, especially those who thrive in a more extroverted environment.” – Laura Smith, homeschooled in Idaho

“I think they should be able to participate with their peers. It allows them to expand their social circle, gain skills, and exercise. Also, if there is abuse or neglect happening, a homeschooled child in a sport (hopefully) has a higher likelihood of getting help.” – Rene, homeschooled in Oregon

“I think they should be available to parents who home school who also pay taxes that go towards public school athletics. Public school should be an option for every kid, and that includes the athletics program.” – Leslie, homeschooled in Texas

“I think they should be because parents and even those students pay taxes that should go toward the public school system. They should at least be able to participate in sports if they so wish.” – Val M., homeschooled in Indiana and Texas

“I think they should be so that homeschooled students have the same opportunities as public school students. I also think that private school students should have access to public school athletics, particularly if the private school doesn’t have the resources to provide this for their students.” – Anna Rose, homeschooled in Virginia

“I understand that public schools might not have any reason to allow use of the resources, but I think it would be a compassionate and nice gesture.” – Angel, homeschooled in Arizona

“I would worry that the homeschooled child could be bullied” – Harley, homeschooled in Georgia

“Idk” – Max, homeschooled in Maryland and Ohio

“If homeschoolers want to participate in public school activities, they should be enrolled in public schools. If they don’t want to fully participate in public school life, they should start homeschool sports leagues, or join sports leagues through their communities (or petition their communities to start a sports program if one is not available).” – Dusty, homeschooled in Mississippi

“If they would like to participate in those activities, they should be allowed to.” – Morgan, homeschooled in Washington

“I’m neutral on this since many homeschool umbrellas and co-ops now have their own athletics that compete against or with public and private schools.” – Jennifer Stahl, homeschooled in Texas and Alabama

“I’m not convinced it should be allowed. There are other options for participation in team sports (clubs, community leagues, etc.) It’s always seemed strange to me that people who opt out of a public school experience in every other respect are so eager to have their children on public schools sports teams.” – Jenny, homeschooled in South Carolina, Rhode Island, and California

“I’m not sure if they should be.” – Trinity, homeschooled in Michigan

“In many cases it is the only way for homeschoolers to participate in institutional athletics & competition” – Nate Crawford, homeschooled in Kentucky

“It allows for a diversification of peers and or beliefs while still being guided by parents, instead of college being the first experience where there is less parental guidance.” – Brianna Dunning, homeschooled in Texas

“It can be difficult to impossible to field an entire team of homeschoolers of the same playing level in a specific sport much less an entire league.” – Katie, homeschooled in Indiana

“It gives homeschooled children the opportunity to engage with their peers. Provides a”real world” learning tool for teamwork, character building, overcoming challenges, and achievement.” – Sarah P., homeschooled in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Kentucky, and Indiana

“It is the best way to integrate homeschooled kids in the community and make them feel normal.” – Caitlin T., homeschooled in Pennsylvania and New Jersey

“It puts homeschooled kids in contact with mandatory reporters and other children their own age.” – Jeremy, homeschooled in Arizona and California

“It should be an option, to allow for some minimal oversight” – Dakota, homeschooled in Georgia and California

“It should be available as additional oversight, extra pair of eyes to spot abuse” – Darian, homeschooled in California

“It should be available because homeschooling parents pay into the system anyway and it gives opportunities to some homeschoolers that wouldn’t have it otherwise” – Brittany Spencer, homeschooled in North Carolina

“It should be available because it is a way to allow children to integrate better in their community and interact with their peers of different backgrounds.” – Megan B., homeschooled in Idaho

“It would allow easy access to programs otherwise unavailable to homeschoolers.” – J.D., homeschooled in Wisconsin

“It would open up opportunities for all children to participate in team sports on a more challenging level than recreational leagues.” – Lisa, homeschooled in Tennessee

“It’s an important opportunity for fun, fitness, and for playing a sport you love.” – Robyn, homeschooled in Alabama and Washington

“It’s good to have external influences aside from just homeschooled peers. Playing Lacrosse was some of the most fun I had in high school and I loved playing soccer when I was younger even if we were terrible. Sports teach discipline, social skills, and how to work in a team of people who are different from your normal social group.” – D., homeschooled in Minnesota

“It’s mostly for the community aspect. Homeschool groups often don’t let you learn about other viewpoints in a balanced way and athletics can help you learn how to interact positively with those who have different views” – Kellen, homeschooled in Washington

“It’s one part of their life that won’t be homeschool” – Ian Barnes, homeschooled in Washington

“Legally, I believe homeschool students deserve equal access to athletic programs at schools their families pay taxes to support. Students usually pay fees for each sport, so it’s not like they’re getting benefits they aren’t contributing to. Socially, some homeschool kids may be well-prepared for a public school team environment and some may not. So it might not be the best decision for every child, but yes, it should be an option.” – Kate Schell, homeschooled in Idaho

“More interaction, exposure to life outside the bubble.” – Xandra, homeschooled in Maryland and Virginia

“My parents paid taxes that went to the public school in my district. I believe that those who pay for it should be allowed to participate as long as they were able to follow guideline that would need to be in place for such an arrangement.” – Z.D.W., homeschooled in Oklahoma

“My younger homeschooled siblings participate in athletics with public school students and I think it’s a very positive outlet for them– physically and socially.” – Alisa, homeschooled in New Mexico and Oregon

“No opinion really.” – Kris, homeschooled in Arkansas

“Our families pay taxes for these schools and their programs just like others do; why shouldn’t we be allowed to participate? Homeschooling is all about giving your child the best opportunities possible, nurturing their talents, and allowing them to pursue their own budding interests. If they are athletically gifted, the best way to help them explore their potential (or just have fun!) in that area is often to put them on a local school team.” – Anna M., homeschooled in Nebraska

“Philosophically, I don’t like the idea of homeschoolers cherry-picking public school services. On the other hand, I believe the value of exposure to other children outside an insular homeschooling community by far surpasses any drawbacks.” – Naomi, homeschooled in Pennsylvania

“Physical activity is often good for kids (with exceptions for some disabilities) and having more opportunities, especially free ones, makes it easier for parents to ensure their kids have access to physical activity.” – Elizabeth, homeschooled in Tennessee

“Public school athletics programs offer what most private and alternative schools never can, let alone a homeschool co-op, and there is simply no way a family can make up this gap. There is no textbook for that. No distance-learning PC program that will make an athlete out of you. One needs resources and coaches and teammates and fields and…yeah. I believe small private school students should also have the opportunity to join a program in their hometown that their school doesn’t offer, for example football or track.” – Elle, homeschooled in New Jersey

“Public school athletics should be available because the parent should of homeschooled students already pay school taxes. Also, it allows students actual competition and growth, unlike most homeschool teams.” – Emily O., homeschooled in Oklahoma

“Public School athletics should be available to homeschooled students because: 1. It helps homeschoolers learn to play and interact with other people who think, act and believe differently than them, 2. It’s one less area that homeschooling families can resist from slipping into isolation from everyone but their church/co-op.” – Janean, homeschooled in New York and Ohio

“Public school athletics should be open to homeschool students for many reasons. Their parents are still paying taxes for public schools to function and for after school activities including athletics. Public school athletics may be the only socialization with similar aged peers the homeschooler may have. It could open the homeschooler up to a more informed view of the world and how it works as well.” – Mary, homeschooled in New Hampshire

“Public school resources should be available to homeschoolers just like public schoolers — they have the same needs and desires as other kids.” – Casey, homeschooled in Maine

“Public schools should provide access to the public, including homeschoolers” – Kendall, homeschooled in California

“Should be available, there are not adequate resources for homeschool athletics” – Leia Ford, homeschooled in Pennsylvania and New Jersey

“Should!!!” – Sandra, homeschooled in Michigan

“Since homeschool families help support public schools through taxes, and their children are citizens of this country, they should have access to the educational program where appropriate, including athletics.” – Giselle, homeschooled in Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee

“Sport is important for social and health reasons. Homeschool parents pay taxes and their children should also profit.” – Ada, homeschooled in Oklahoma and Colorado

“Students are homeschooled for a variety of reasons. There are not always opportunities for homeschooled students to participate in sports or other extracurriculars. Excluding homeschooled children from these activities is a failure of the education system to be accessible to all students.” – Jeanette Braun, homeschooled in Tennessee

“Team sports through public schools are very often the only access for students like myself who grew up in underprivileged areas. I had to use a community league outside of my municipality and a YMCA that was nearly 30 minutes away from home to do sports.” – Dave Ketter, homeschooled in Pennsylvania

“The opportunities available outside of public high schools aren’t very good if you want to excel.” – Rebekah, homeschooled in Florida

“The opportunities for exercise, and more importantly, socialization are valuable.” – Missie Kay, homeschooled in Minnesota

“The opportunity to try out should be available to homeschooled students. Not a guaranteed spot, but simply a try out and then the option of joining or not based on their performance. We all pay the same tax money, but homeschooled students rarely have the opportunity to take advantage of the tax money their parents pay towards public education. My father was a public school teacher, so not only did he pay taxes to fund education, but he also directly contributed to the education system through time and talent. I was still denied the opportunity to simply try out for a public sports team even though they were short players.” – Taylor, homeschooled in Louisiana

“Their families still pay local taxes to fund education, so all resources should be made available to them.” – Daniel S., homeschooled in Georgia

“Their parents’ pay taxes that go towards the public school systems.” – Blair, homeschooled in Maine

“Their parents pay taxes to find the public school system. I’m some areas there are not enough homeschoolers to form a club team.” – Bethany M., homeschooled in Minnesota

“there are not many options for homeschool athletics, I was fortunate enough to have a homeschool group available to me which opened the door for me and many of my siblings to play college ball.” – J.W., homeschooled in Oklahoma

“There are social benefits and athletics is already part of the social and economic structures a homeschooled student continues to be part of.” – Lee, homeschooled in Pennsylvania

“These programs are paid for out of everyone’s taxes, so should be available for all students. Participation would be beneficial for homeschooled students who have little to no other contact with other students in their age group in physical health, mental health, and socialization.” – Susan, homeschooled in Tennessee

“They are a public service paid with tax dollars. If someone so wishes and qualifies for the team, and they lived in said school district, and would agree to the standards and disciplinary actions of the system for participation, then they have as much right as anyone else.” – Devon, homeschooled in Indiana

“They provide an important opportunity for socialization that many homeschoolers would not otherwise get.” – Brianna Schuyler, homeschooled in Virginia

“They should be available because it gives the students more exposure to other children their age, teaches them adjustments skills, and allows other adults to monitor their wellbeing.” – Jess A., homeschooled in Idaho

“They should be available because it is often difficult for homeschooled students to get enough social interaction and physical activity as well.” – Liz, homeschooled in Arizona

“They should be available to homeschool children so that kids have access to secular community programs. Actually I think they should be mandatory. My mother used homeschool to punish me for being an atheist and public school programs would have allowed me to make friends outside of her extremely intolerant religious community which I desperately wanted. (Note to religious parents, remember what Princess Leia said”The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.” Trying to prevent your kids from having friends outside of your religious community to try and force them to be Christian is only going to alienate them from your religion more.” – Heather, homeschooled in California

“they should be available. homeschooling parents still pay taxes into their local school system, so it makes sense. plus, kids would have the opportunity to interact with”normal” groups of peers. it would be beneficial for health reasons and for socialization!” – Mary-Kathryn Wiley, homeschooled in Georgia

“They should because taxes are being paid to allow every kid these opportunities and that should include homeschool kids. While I didn’t take advantage of it because our YMCA team was actually a better option, I know others who have and it was a good experience.” – Jennifer Bozic, homeschooled in Florida, Hawaii, and Minnesota

“They should have the option of participating on a team.” – Shawn, homeschooled in Pennsylvania and Maryland

“To allow them the options afforded to all other children in the community. I also believe dual enrollment in academic courses should be allowed.” – Jacqueline, homeschooled in Missouri

“To enable them to socialize better.” – Misha, homeschooled in Florida

“To provide the same benefits paid for by all, to all children. The ideal situation, would be to require all students to go through the public school system, so their parents wouldn’t be able to keep them from athletics programs.” – Sidney, homeschooled in Michigan

“undecided” – Skylar, homeschooled in Texas

“We live within the same school zones and pay the same taxes. Doesn’t make much sense to exclude anyone. I do wish their was more oversight for homeschoolers, though, and it seems like that could be incorporated into qualifying for athletics participation.” – Jaime, homeschooled in Arizona

“We pay school taxes. We should have the freedom to access athletics too.” – Kelly T., homeschooled in Texas

“Without athletics, we missed out on a huge chunk of education about our bodies and how to care for them” – Alyssa T., homeschooled in Texas and Colorado

“Would be too many extra kids for public schools to take on” – Hudson, homeschooled in Colorado

“I want homeschoolers to have options. However, I know at least one school official in my area believed that some parents withdrew children with grades too low to remain on the sports team from public school in order to give them inflated grades in “home school” and get them back on the team.” – E.I., homeschooled in Illinois

“Because team sports are important and especially in higher grades it is hard to find opportunities for participation in sports.” – Sarah N., homeschooled in New York

Rachel Coleman

Rachel Coleman

Rachel Coleman is the Executive Director of CRHE. She was homeschooled K-12 and is an instructor at Indiana University.
Rachel Coleman
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