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By Michael Boyink

Managing Editor

I must have missed the uproar.

When I posted last month’s Ava School Board video to Facebook and pointed out the vote that approved access to MSHSAA-sanctioned Ava sporting events by homeschoolers, the comments were favorable.

Judging from the board member comments at the end of last week’s Ava School Board meeting, apparently that wasn’t the case everywhere online.

I’m not going to summarize the nearly-hour-long discussion. You can go watch it yourself on our YouTube channel. The homeschooling-related comments start about an hour and twenty minutes in.

I do have a couple of comments, however.

As a homeschooling parent.

Board member Deana Parsick (who voted in favor of homeschool participation) commented that she doesn’t believe parents “homeschool just to homeschool”, but rather felt that there was a “problem that makes that happen.”

I disagree.

We homeschooled our two children from K-12 for a number of reasons.

None of them included having a problem with the local public school system.

We initially felt called to be homeschoolers after much prayer and research.

That calling persisted.

But we also grew to appreciate the flexibility both in schedule and curriculum that homeschooling enabled.

Eventually we took advantage of that flexibility to take school on the road, traveling fulltime with our kids from when they were 12 and 13 to when they left our care.

We weren’t alone.

During both our stationary and traveling years as homeschoolers we meet hundreds of other families who had chosen to homeschool for issues unrelated to specific problems with their child in a public school.

Maybe they wanted a more Christian curriculum. Maybe they didn’t want their gifted children to be bored. Maybe they had philosophical differences with the overall public school model. Maybe they had a kinetic child who learned better while physically active.

As Parsick also said –  “people homeschool for a variety of reasons.” 

I agree with that. 

But not all of those reasons sprout from problems with the public school.

On another note.

Later in the discussion Mark Henry (who voted against allowing homeschool participation) commented that he felt, even before (or without) the board approving to allow homeschoolers to take part in sports, “everyone has access” to the sports programs at Ava. 

“We aren’t denying anyone,” he said.

But Henry’s definition of access is only through enrollment.

Which means homeschoolers would be forced to choose between homeschooling or sports.

I can’t speak for all homeschoolers.

But for us, that would have made the issue a non-starter. There’s no way we would have given up the benefits of homeschooling for one sports program.

The board talked about surveying the local homeschool community to try and estimate how many homeschool students might want to take part in band or sports.

Homeschoolers – this is your chance. Get in touch with the school board and talk with them. Let them know your interest level in these new opportunities.

And tell them why you homeschool.