I understand that UIL gives kids the opportunity to be scoped out by colleges for scholarships, and that is a huge draw. When we decided to homeschool our children last year, the biggest complaint of our oldest was that he would miss band. The state leaves it to each school district to decide whether they want to allow homeschool students to participate in things like athletics, band, art, etc. The kids would not be allowed to participate in UIL functions, but could otherwise participate in the school program. Our school said no. So here are my concerns;
1. Will this bill force schools to have to allow homeschool students, a decision that was previously up to each district? Or will they still be allowed to deny homeschool students? In which case this whole thing is sort of a moot point for many throughout the state.
2. One of the biggest draws to homeschooling was getting away from state-mandated testing. From the looks of it, in order to participate in public school extra-curricular activities such as sports and band, homeschool students will be forced right back into the very thing we were trying to avoid. Our children are free to learn what they want when they want, rather than following the scope and sequence of the state. If a child wants to learn Greek mythology in 8th grade rather than US history, he/she can. If they have to take a bench mark test in order to participate in UIL with a public school, this has the potential to take away that freedom.
3. Also, another of the appeals to homeschooling in the state of Texas is that we report to no one. We don't have the state micromanaging us. With the Tim Tebow bill, any homeschool student wishing to participate in UIL will have to submit regular academic/progress reports.
In the end, this bill with all of its well intentions opens the doors for the government to start imposing more restrictions and monitoring of homeschool families. What I propose is rather than trying to open the doors for homeschoolers to participate in public school athletics and band, is encourage more programs strictly for homeschoolers. There are many great homeschool groups that provide basketball, football, baseball, volleyball, robotics, etc. Support more of that. Encourage college scouts to look into those groups as well as public school events.
Once homeschoolers start getting funding/support from the state and federal government, it opens the doors for that very same government to start putting it's policies on the homeschool families. The very thing we try to avoid. At this moment in time, I am able to teach my children with God in the midst of it. Science through a creationist view. What happens once we let the government start "helping"?