As a long time homeschooler whose son participated in homeschool sports through high school and now playing sports in college, I feel that I have some insight into how this bill will affect homeschoolers in Houston.
First, I understand that we, in Houston, have access to a numerous extra-curricular opportunities for our homeschool students. My son played baseball with the West Houston Thunder from age 13 through high school. We built alliances and rivalries with the three other homeschool high school baseball teams in Houston. Yes, I said three! There are four homeschool high school baseball teams that service the Greater Houston Area: Two are in North Houston, one is in South/East Houston and one is in West Houston. Currently, my son plays baseball at a small college. Two other Houston area homeschoolers are on his team! He has also played against college teams where other Houston area homeschoolers play. I say this to emphasize that homeschooled kids can and do go on to play sports at the collegiate level.
These homeschool high school teams play each other, area public and private schools and even 6A high school programs! Basketball and volleyball, band and orchestra, choir and drama, as well as numerous other extra-curricular activities are offered to homeschoolers in all of the metropolitan areas in Texas.
This leads me to my next point. Most of these opportunities are not available to families in rural areas who choose to homeschool. Two years ago, a boy played on my son’s baseball team who lives in La Grange. He drove 2 hours to and from practice and games multiple times each week for 4 years. Apparently, families in rural areas often must choose between extra-curricular activities and homeschooling. I believe this is why THSC is pushing the Tim Tebow bill.
How will the Tim Tebow bill affect Houston area extra-curricular activities? I believe that if this bill passes, it will have a huge impact in cities like Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, etc on homeschool sports in metropolitan areas. This is because many will opt to play for their local team – especially the better athlete. Committing to play on a homeschool team usually involves a family sacrifice of driving to practices and games. Often, the drive is 30 minutes or more. Playing for the local public school team is easier and less time consuming for the family. I loved the camaraderie of driving as a family to games where my husband (who was my son’s coach), and son discussed baseball strategy going to the game and recapped the game driving home. Playing for the local high school team means meeting the school’s bus and dropping your child off to ride with his public school teammates.
I believe that homeschool sports will still exist if this bill passes, but on a much smaller scale. And I believe that homeschool sports will lose their competitive edge in the Houston area. Homeschool sports has largely built a good reputation in Houston as honorable teams who bring solid competition.
There is something else to consider. Homeschool sports are largely free of foul language, alcohol, drugs and sex. This is definitely not the case with public school sports where it is the norm! When my son began playing baseball at the collegiate level, he chose to attend an area junior college and now he plays at a state school. It was an eye-opening experience to say the least! While playing for the junior college, he learned how to detect the smell of marijuana, was regularly harassed for not drinking alcohol, pressured to lose his virginity and encouraged to watch pornography. While in high school, he made several good friends of fellow players - none of whom were engaging in these activities. However, this has been a far more difficult find in college.
I wanted to share my experience to shed light on an area of this that may not have been addressed. I see both sides. However, I lean on the side of not allowing the bill to pass for these and other reasons.
Below is a comment from one of the original plaintiffs from the Leeper V. Arlington lawsuit.
Comments, Notes and Articles.
Letter from a long-time homeschooling parent.