Parents commonly ask if homeschoolers can participate in extracurriculars at the local school. The question usually comes after a child expresses an interest in joining a club, attending a function, or trying out for a high school team. Some parents also ask about school music programs, like marching band and school orchestra.
The quick answer is YES, homeschoolers may participate in extracurricular activities, as written in the Florida Statutes:
Home education students may participate in interscholastic extracurricular student activities in accordance with the provisions of s. 1006.15.
But, there is much more to say about this topic, and the details are important to know. Therefore, if your student is interested in using these programs, we recommend reading to the end of this article.
What is considered an extracurricular activity?
The Statutes define extracurricular activities as, "...any school-authorized or education-related activity occurring during or outside the regular instructional school day", as per 1006.15(2). So, by definition, extracurricular activities can happen before/after the regular school day, or they can happen during the school day, too.
Which activities are available?
Extracurricular activities vary from grade to grade, from school to school, and from district to district throughout the state. While families are welcome to ask their friends and neighbors for information, we advise homeschool families to reach out to schools and districts themselves. Some districts have a liaison who is able to respond to questions like these, while other districts often refer parents to the specific teacher, supervisor or coach of the activity itself.
Note that school dances and prom are not extracurricular activities, and typically do not fall under this definition.
How about the curricular component, if required?
Homeschooled students are also allowed to participate in "curricular" activities at the school, if the curricular activity is required to participate in the extracurricular activity, as per 1006.15(3)(c)(5). For example, a homeschooler might be required to take a weight lifting class during the school day in order to be on the football team; or, a homeschooler might need to take a music theory class during the day in order to play in the afterschool orchestra. These are just examples, and the specifics will be explained upon enrollment.
How are homeschoolers eligible?
Homeschoolers are eligible for these programs in a way similar to students in the schools themselves. Homeschoolers should first learn which school they would traditionally be assigned, and register their intent to participate there. Should the school wish to collect certain information about the homeschooled student in order to participate, this is required, and must be provided.
Then, to remain eligible for the duration of the extracurricular activity, homeschoolers must continue to meet the residency requirement, remain a student in good standing (as demonstrated by the annual evaluation), and meet any standards of behavior and performance as required of students who participate.
What about insurance?
As per 1006.15(7), any insurance provided by schools for participants will also cover homeschooled students. If there is an additional premium, homeschooled families will be notified.
Where to find the law
The section of the law about extracurricular activities is named the "Craig Dickinson Act", after Craig Dickinson of the Florida Home Education Foundation (FLHEF), who was responsible for bringing it into law. The entire text of the Craig Dickinson Act can be found HERE.
We encourage anyone interested in extracurricular activities to call or visit either their district homeschool liaison (find a list HERE) or the student's zoned school for more information. And, as always, our members are always welcome to ask us for assistance. (Not a member? Join HERE.)