The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers (VaHomeschoolers) has heard from many Virginians who support the goal of creating opportunities for homeschooled students to participate in public school sports and activities. We have received calls and emails from:
- Homeschooling families whose children would like the opportunity to try out for their local public school athletic teams.
- Virginians (homeschooling or not) who support homeschool sports access because they have a neighbor, friend or family member whose children would benefit from the opportunity.
- Families who support homeschool sports access on the principle of fairness, even if their own kids are not interested in trying out.
- Coaches, officials and athletic directors of recreational, public high school, and community college athletic teams and programs who would like to be able to include homeschoolers from their own communities on their teams.
VaHomeschoolers’ annual membership survey indicates broad support among our members for homeschool sports access (“Tebow”) bills in the Virginia General Assembly.
If you support homeschool sports access, VaHomeschoolers encourages you to get involved! Sports access will become a reality for Virginia’s homeschooling families only if enough people show that this issue is important to them!
Here are some steps you can take
- Send an email. Remember, legislators are most interested in hearing from their own constituents. Identify your legislators on the General Assembly website, then send an email to both your delegate and your senator by clicking the button that appears (your message will go to both of them). Ask them to “Please vote yes on HB 63” when it comes before them. If you would like to, let them know why the issue of homeschool sports access matters to you.
- Make a phone call. Take a few minutes to call the General Assembly “Constituent Viewpoint” number at 1-800-889-0229. You will be asked for your name, address, and the issue on which you are expressing your opinion (be sure to specifically refer to HB 63). Your message will be transmitted to your legislators. (You can also request the number to speak with your legislator’s office directly.)
- Plan a trip to Richmond! Attend hearings on the 2014 homeschool sports access bill in the General Assembly. Observing our government in action is an educational field trip for kids of all ages – maybe you’d even like to plan to carpool with friends! Having a large number of supporters present during hearings is very helpful.
- Get ready to speak out! If your child would like to, he or she can prepare a very short statement to read in support of the bill (1 minute or less). Our kids’ stories make the biggest impact on legislators at hearings! Even elementary-age kids have testified to explain why they want to be able to play sports when they are homeschooled teens. Contact Government Affairs for tips on preparing testimony.
- Stay informed! To receive email about upcoming votes and other developments, sign up for VaHomeschoolers’ Announcements and Legislative Updates. Share them (and this page) with your local homeschool support groups.
- Tell us your story! Take a few minutes to send an email to tell us why you would like to see this year’s “Tebow Bills” become law. Or let your teen tell us in their own words why this matters to them or their friends. Send a photo if you have one! We’d love to share these stories on our website with legislators, the media, and the general public, so they can understand why this issue matters to kids in Virginia. (You can request that we use a pseudonym to protect your privacy, if desired.)
- Talk to a reporter! We get lots of calls and emails from reporters all over Virginia (and beyond) who want to include “human interest” in their stories on this topic. If you or your teen would be willing to talk or email with a reporter, let us know, and your story could help!
- Contact your local school board representative and ask him or her to support homeschooled students who would like an opportunity to try out for public school programs. Encourage your school board member to learn more by visiting our main sports access web page.
- Ask your child’s coach to support homeschool sports access by contacting his or her legislators and the local school board, by talking with other coaches, and by becoming informed about the issue. If your child’s coach is very supportive, encourage him or her to contact VaHomeschoolers to find out about opportunities to testify in support of this year’s bills. Getting coaches involved can make a difference!
- Visit Delegate Rob Bell’s website on homeschool sports access and sign his petition. Ask homeschooling friends, family and neighbors to do the same.
- Join and support The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers. Your member dues and tax deductible contributions support our advocacy efforts and help us represent you more effectively at the state and local level. As a member, you will receive our annual survey and be able to let us know of your support for this issue.
- Email VaHomeschoolers with your questions and comments on homeschool sports access. We want to hear from you!