Are homeschooled students missing out?

By Sara Belsole

WAVERLY HALL, GA – 14-year-old year old Joseph Bryant loves archery.

“Archery is fun and I am pretty good at it,” he says.

But because he is homeschooled, he can't participate in any of the public school system's extracurricular activities.

In 2011, both Georgia and Alabama legislators introduced what is called the “Tim Tebow” bill to allow homeschooled students to play school sports and participate in school clubs.

Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow was homeschooled in Florida, but was allowed to play high school football at a local public school.

The bill didn't even make it out of the senate in both Georgia and Alabama.

“Public schools are open to everyone. If they chose to take advantage of our services, certainly they are welcome to come and do that. We just don't think they should be able to cherry pick what they would like from this school and this school,” Phenix City Superintendent Dr. Larry DiChiara says.

But for Joseph and his family, that's okay.

“As homeschoolers, I have kind of pulled out of that anyway, not for anything negative, but I have made a decision that we need to find our own activities,” Joseph's mom, Dorothy Bryant, says.

Joseph says he doesn't need a school to pursue his other love, theater.

“I have been in quite a few plays at the family theater, and I've been in one other play at the Springer and right now we are about to begin rehearsing for The Big Friendly Giant,” Joseph says.

Thanks to Waverly Hall Christian Academy, Joseph gets to practice his archery almost every day. He is one of about 10 students enrolled in the school's homeschool satellite program.

“It's very customizable for what the parent needs. So if someone needs help with math and we have room in that math class they can come in and take math,” Administrator Buddy Hucks says.

Joseph takes math, science and P.E. at the school and will receive an accredited diploma through the program.

But for the rest of the classes, both Joseph and his mom say they like the homeschool setting.

“We really like the ability to be able to chose a curriculum that matches your child's learning style and teach according to that style,” Dorothy says.

According to the National Home Education Research Institute, the homeschooling population grows at a rate of 2-8% each year.


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