Sports Eligibility and Homeschooling

Email of the Day:

Hi Jen,
I need to find out some information about my son being able to play football at his local public school when he is homeschooled. I remember from previous conversations and/or your class that homeschooled kids can play sports, but before I inquire with the school – I just want to make sure I have all the information I might need. Would you be able to read the following eligibility requirements from their webpage and give me an idea of what they may ask me for? I see it clearly states homeschooled kids can play as long as they meet “all other eligibility requirements” like attendance and grades. I am assuming I can create a transcript for last year to show his passing grades. And then attendance wouldn’t mean at the public school but rather his attendance at homeschool, right?

A student attending a private school, alternative school, or being home schooled where an activity is not offered may participate in the activity at the public school in their resident attendance area as long as all other eligibility requirements are satisfied.
Once the athletic season has begun (turnout), the following eligibility standards must be maintained:
Attendance – The student must be in attendance at school the full day on the day of the practice or contest unless they have a note verifying the absence was due to an appointment with a physician and/or this physician approves their participation. The student must participate in all courses and classroom activities. Exceptions must be made with the coach and a representative of the building eligibility board.
Academic standards – At the beginning of each season, the athletic director will review the grades of all athletes to determine eligibility according to WIAA standard 18.7.4 and identify any students who have not passed the minimum number of classes from the previous semester. A student who failed to pass the minimum number of Central Kitsap School District 4 classes determined by18.7.4 shall be placed on suspension. The suspension period shall be from the end of the previous semester through the fourth Saturday of September in the Fall or the first five weeks of the succeeding semester for high school. The suspension period for middle level students shall be from the end of the previous semester through the first three weeks of the succeeding semester. Athletes who do not participate in Fall sports and choose to make a Winter sport their first for the school year and fail to meet WIAA standard 18.7.4 and have received an “F” grade or more than one “D” grade during the current Fall semester will be placed on probation. Additionally, grade checks will be done at the conclusion of the Fall semester to determine continued eligibility during the Winter sport season according to WIAA standard 18.7.4. Grade checks will be conducted as stated in the “Grade check process” section below. Athletes who receive an “F” grade or more than one “D” grade will be placed on probation or suspension status.

Okay — so this is one of those weird instances like getting your transcript and/or diploma notarized. The people writing the rules fundamentally have no idea how homeschooling works, so it’s up to you to get creative and figure out what they want, so you can give it to them in the way they’d like it.

Let’s take the attendance question. We don’t really have that, right? Our kids are ALWAYS underfoot — they’re always in attendance — they’re not “absent” because there’s no where for them to be absent to. We know this. The person who wrote the rule below has no clue. So, when you’re presented with an attendance form, mark your kid “present” for any day that is a M-F. It’s stupid. I know. Just do it.

You’ll also (esp. with varsity sports, as this is a WIAA requirement) be presented with forms that ask for course name and grade (and maybe number of credits). The athletes in the highschool take this around to each of their teachers to fill out. You’ll do the same thing — list the courses, put in a grade. If you unschool, this becomes an exercise in creative documentation (figuring out what to call the things he’s doing, and applying grades to it) — but you’re going to need this for his transcripts anyway, so it’s good practice. You don’t have to call them the same thing on his transcripts that you do here for this, so don’t feel that you’re boxed in by decisions you make now. It will make everyone’s life easier if you call your classes the same sorts of things that the highschool calls theirs (“English 11” “Algebra2” “US History” etc.).

Honestly? Athletic Director at the school just wants paperwork that will satisfy the WIAA requirements and not send up red flags. They don’t really care what you actually do in your homeschooling. Do your best to represent the truth, even if what you write might not quite represent the “facts.” For example, two of the things on my daughter’s transcript are “Anatomy and Physiology” and “Fire Science.” What those words represent is 3 years of weekly training for 3+ hours each time (plus a few weekends here and there, some specialized training, and going on actual fire/medical calls). We took that experience and translated it into something a college could digest.

Hollar as you have more questions.