There are more than 25,000 students in the state of Virginia who are schooled at home. Many local districts allow them to take some classes in the public system without enrolling full-time, and Amy Wilson with the Organization of Virginia Home Schoolers doesn't see why those kids can't take part in after-school activities or sports.
"Particularly when you get to the high school years, community type programs, such as little league, no longer exist for those students, because the programs in the public schools are so large and so well supported through the school system," she says.
Del. Rob Bell and Sen. Tom Garrett agree, and they've drafted bills to let local school districts decide, but at the Virginia Education Association, President Meg Gruber says, there's strong opposition to letting the home-school crowd join debate teams, arts programs, clubs or sports.
"We really feel that's part of the total package for public school students, and it's an important motivator, and part of the school spirit," says Gruber.
She adds that public school students must meet certain academic and disciplinary requirements to take part in after school programs.
Amy Wilson says parents of homeschoolers are willing to abide by whatever rules local districts establish for their kids to participate, and she notes that in some rural areas there are not enough homeschoolers to form a team let alone a league.