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Can My Homeschooled Teen Participate in Public School Sports and Extra Curriculars?

Updated: Apr 14

Many homeschool parents wonder how they can provide their children opportunities for extra curriculars during middle and high school years that are normally provided by the public school system. Many parents are worried about their children not having the ability to participate in band, choir, orchestra, speech and debate, or sports like they did when they were in high school. The good news is that Colorado is one of the states that allows homeschoolers to participate in public school sports and other activities.

How does this work? 

High school sports and activities in Colorado are governed by the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA). Publicly funded schools in Colorado Springs participate in CHSAA and CHSAA has rules and bylaws that cover all aspects of high school sports and activities such as participation, academics, and accommodations. Participating schools are classified every two years as 1-5A based on enrollment. The current classification cycle is 2022-2024 and the next cycle is 2024-2026. CHSAA By-Laws Article 17 General Eligibility defines who can participate in CHSAA sanctioned activities and it includes an exception for homeschoolers stating that they can participate, however each school district implements the participation differently.

Note that the school district might tell you that you have to file a Notice of Intent to Homeschool with the district, but this is not a requirement according to the bylaws. If you are enrolled with an umbrella school and do not want to file a NOI, you should talk to them about your options. If they tell you that you have to file a NOI with the district, you can refer back to the bylaws and note that filing a NOI is not stipulated for participation. Access the bylaws and the statute here. Download the pdfs and do a search (command +F if you have a mac or ctrl + f if you have windows) for homeschool to see everything that applies to homeschoolers. You can ask the school district to accept proof of homeschooling legally in lieu of filing a NOI with them. Your enrollment confirmation letter and/or your Teacher ID/Student ID from Statheros Academy serves as proof of current enrollment.

Read on for an example of how one large public school district runs this system but be sure to ask your local district where your kids want to participate so you can be successful. 

For example

In D-20, the largest school district in the Colorado Springs area, homeschoolers who wish to participate in sports, choir, band, speech and debate or any other CHSAA sanctioned activities need to complete a form called Request to Participate and submit it to the D20 Central Registry. There is one form for middle school and one form for high school as well as a form for in-district and another form for out of district students. The person who accepts this form does change frequently so the best bet is to call Central Registry at 719-234-1200 and ask who is currently accepting the Request to Participate forms. Please note that filling out this form does not guarantee eligibility or school assignment. The form asks questions such as if the student has played this sport for a different school district previously, if the student has attended a D20 school previously, if a Request to Participate has been submitted previously, and if there is an older sibling that is currently assigned to a D20 school. The form also notes requirements that the school in which the student is currently enrolled (or your home for homeschooled students) does not offer the requested sport or activity and is contiguous with D20.

The next steps

After Central Registry receives your form, you will be contacted and your child will be assigned to either your assigned school or assigned according to the lottery system or they will reject your request. If accepted, you will receive your student’s Assignment Letter which outlines which activities and sports you wrote on the Request to Participate form. At this point, you should reach out to the coach and/or activity instructor for those sports and/or activities. The Assignment Letter also is sent to the school which will then track your student’s participation and will be responsible for ensuring compliance with CHSAA. You need to ensure that you are proactive in knowing when the registration deadline is for each sport or activity as well as any information meetings or parent meetings offered. Simply being approved to participate does not mean that the school will reach out to you for try-outs, registration or any other aspect. Your student will also need a sports physical each school year and D20 highly recommends that this is obtained in the summer each year so it does not expire during a sports season. The Assignment Letter will be filed with the Athletic Director and most likely the coach will not reach out to you so it is up to you as the parent to be proactive.

Keep in mind that some sports are more competitive than others and even if your Request to Participate is approved, your child is not guaranteed a spot on any team or activity, just like regular public school students. Depending on the school and the sport, there could be plenty of open spots to fill or there could be a competitive try-out. It’s always a good idea to reach out to the coach as soon as your child is assigned to that school, find out all of the pertinent information and get added to any email/text/app groups for parents. It’s a good idea to fill out the Request to Participate each summer as soon as the new year forms are released, which is usually July. That way everything can be approved and assigned before the start of school and sports practices and your child can be ahead of the curve for pre-season practices, open weight rooms, try-outs and then season practices.

Participating in sports and/or activities at your local public school can fill a need for your child if you plan ahead and ensure that all forms are completed and assignment is done according to CHSAA guidelines.

Can My Homeschooled Teen Participate in Public School Sports and Extra Curriculars? The answer is YES! It will just take a bit of leg work at the beginning along with diligence to check all the boxes and ensure compliance with school district requirements. With this effort, hopefully your teen will have an enjoyable experience and be able to participate in the extra curricular of their choice.



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