While homeschoolers in Virginia are allowed to enroll part-time in public school classes, they are currently not allowed to play on public high school interscholastic sports teams due to regulations established by the Virginia High School League (VHSL). The VHSL writes athletic eligibility rules and guidelines that all of its member public high schools in the state must follow.
The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers supports homeschool access to public school programs and services and since 1997 has worked to increase access at the state and local level. We have attempted numerous times to work with VHSL and other public school organizations to develop voluntary agreements to support the inclusion of qualified homeschooled students in VHSL programs. VaHomeschoolers is the only statewide homeschooling organization that has consistently lobbied in favor of sports access legislation (“Tebow Bills”) in the Virginia General Assembly.
What is the Latest on this Issue?
There are two bills in the 2013 Virginia General Assembly aimed at allowing homeschooled students the opportunity to participate in sports and other activities at their local public high schools: HB 1442, patroned by Del. Rob Bell (R-Albemarle) and SB 812, introduced by Sen. Tom Garrett (R-Lynchburg). VaHomeschoolers supports both bills, and will be working throughout the legislative session to communicate with homeschoolers about what they can do to help these bills become law.
Read our 2013 legislative position statements:
From the Media? Get the facts:
Read Virginia Commonwealth University’s Commonwealth Education Policy Institute’s poll:
Commonwealth Education Poll 2012-2013 - More than two-thirds of Virginians (67%) favor allowing homeschooled students to participate on public school teams
See what families are saying:
|Sports Access FAQ||29 States with Access (pdf)||Read the Bills||How You Can Help|
|Media Coverage||More Information||Reasons to Support HB 1442 & SB 812||What We Have Done|
Contact Us: If you have questions or comments about the issue of homeschool sports access, or if you are a reporter covering Virginia’s “Tebow Bills” and would like to request an interview, email Amy Wilson, VaHomeschoolers Director of Government Affairs.
What We Are Doing
Recent Press Releases
- Press Release: House Subcommittee Agrees With Over Two-Thirds of Virginians: Let Homeschoolers Play! January 25, 2013
- Press Release: Homeschool Sports Access in Virginia: 2013 “Tebow” Bills Would Give School Boards Control: HB 1442 and SB 812 January 15, 2013
- Press Release: Senate Committee Votes Down Homeschool Sports Access Bill March 1, 2012
- Press Release: House Education Committee Approves Homeschool Sports Access Bill February 1, 2012
- Press Release: Sports Access Bill Passes Subcommittee January 26, 2012
Recent Legislative Reports
- Bigger than Campaign Promises: Homeschooling, Tax Credits, and Politics in Virginia The 2013 Virginia Governor’s race sets the agenda for this discussion because a gubernatorial candidate has aligned himself with HSLDA and a candidate for lieutenant governor has taken a pro-tax credit view painted as having universal support by homeschoolers in Virginia, which it does not. However, it’s also a timely reminder that VaHomeschoolers needs to ...
- Legislative Update – February 14, 2013 Homeschool Sports Access: HB 1442 Senate Committee Hearing Results
- Legislative Update – February 8, 2013 HB 1442 Senate Committee Hearing: Thursday, 2/14 at 8 a.m.; Home Education Month; Parental Rights; Various Education Bills
- Legislative Update: February 1, 2013 Sports Access Bill Succeeds on House Floor
- Legislative Update: January 30, 2013 Sports Access Update: House Success, Senate Hearing Expected
- VaHomeschoolers Legislative Update: January 25, 2013 Time Change: House Education Committee Hearing on Monday, 1/28 at 8:30 a.m.
- Legislative Update: January 24, 2013 House Subcommittee Approves HB 1442. SB 812 “Passed by” for the Day. Next Hearing Expected Monday, 1/28 at 9a.m.
- Press Release: House Subcommittee Agrees With Over Two-Thirds of Virginians: Let Homeschoolers Play! With homeschooling families looking on, a subcommittee of the House of Delegates’ Education Committee voted 7 to 1 this morning in favor of sending HB 1442 to the full committee for consideration.
- Legislative Report – January 23, 2013 URGENT! Hearing Scheduled for SB 812 TOMORROW AT 8 A.M.
- VaHomeschoolers Legislative Report – January 17, 2013 Hearing Scheduled for HB 1442 on Thursday, 1/24
- VaHomeschoolers Legislative Report – January 15, 2013 2013 General Assembly: Quick Action Expected on Sports Access Bills, Virtual Schools Bill
- Press Release: Homeschool Sports Access in Virginia: 2013 “Tebow” Bills Would Give School Boards Control: HB 1442 and SB 812 This year’s homeschool sports access bills specifically state that homeschool eligibility is subject to the policy of each local school board – there would be no mandate on public schools.
- VaHomeschoolers Legislative Report – January 10, 2013 Help Pass the 2013 Sports Access Bills with YOUR Story
2012 VSBA Meetings
During the summer and fall of 2012, the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) hosted a discussion group aimed at bringing together stakeholders interested in the question of homeschooled students’ participation in public school interscholastic sports and activities at the high school level. VaHomeschoolers was the only discussion group participant to represent the views and interests of homeschooled students and their families. Other participants included representatives of the Virginia High School League, the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, the Virginia Secondary School Principals Association, and the Virginia Parent Teacher Association, as well as a number of public school principals, athletic directors, and superintendents. The discussion group met three times, over July, September and October.
While the meetings presented a valuable opportunity to discuss practical and equitable measures by which qualified homeschoolers could demonstrate their eligibility to participate in interscholastic programs at their local public high schools, unfortunately, opponents to homeschooled students’ participation declined to consider compromise of any kind. There was one positive outcome of the discussion group: the assemblage of a valuable collection of documents that will help to educate and inform constituents, legislators and the general public about the topic (see the second link, below).
The following links offer more information about the discussion group and VaHomeschoolers’ participation:
VSBA Discussion Group Public Documents Portal
VaHomeschoolers provided discussion group members with a wealth of documents related to homeschooling in Virginia and homeschool sports access laws and policies in other states. The portal also includes documents and perspectives from group participants who oppose homeschool sports access.
About the VSBA Discussion Group on Homeschool Sports Access – July 6, 2012
VaHomeschoolers’ initial announcement of our participation in the Sports Access Discussion Group.
Homeschool Sports Access: Our Work in the “Off-Season” – August 14, 2012
A summary of the first Sports Access Discussion Group meeting and of VaHomeschoolers’ informal survey of several state athletic associations where homeschool sports access already has been implemented.
VaHomeschoolers Legislative Report – September 14, 2012
A summary of the second Sports Access Discussion Group meeting, where VaHomeschoolers presented information on homeschool sports access laws and policies in other states.
Sports Access Discussion Group Update – October 3, 2012
A summary of the final Sports Access Discussion Group meeting and of VaHomeschoolers’ informal survey of several state athletic associations where homeschool sports access already has been implemented.