AUBURN TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Northeast Ohio parents who homeschool their children are celebrating an amendment to the recently signed Ohio budget that allows their kids to participate in extracurricular activities in the public school districts where they live.
“I was really excited,” said 17-year-old Tyler Barr. He has been homeschooled for several years and can now try out for the tennis team in the Kenston Local Schools.
“I haven’t been able to play with my friends on the same team the last couple of years and I’ve known them for a long time, so it’ll be fun to play on the same team as them,” said Tyler.
Tyler and his younger siblings, Austin and Chloe, excel at their classwork. They keep a regular class schedule inside the home, where Austin, 15, is just starting his freshman year. “I really like computers,” said Austin. “I’m taking a computer class this year and I’m really enjoying it.”
Aside from their straight-As, Austin and Tyler are also avid tennis players with plenty of awards. They’re now able to participate in team sports, thanks to Rep. David Hall’s amendment to Ohio’s biannual multi-billion dollar budget. It permits homeschooled and private school students to participate in districts where their parents pay taxes.
“They’ve known the other kids on the team, some of them since they were three and five years old, so it’s just going to be a very great opportunity for them to have fun playing tennis with their friends after school,” said Kelly Barr, who is Tyler, Austin and Chloe’s mom.
Athletic programs are impacted by the change which also allows for participation in any other extracurricular activity.
Fewer than 10 states allow it, according to State Representative David Hall from Ashland, Holmes and Medina counties. He helped make the law change happen and the Barr family couldn’t be happier.
David Barr credits his kids for their hard work and his wife who is also their teacher. “Her focus and her determination to make this work and to work very well has been just extraordinary,” said Barr.
Because of the success here in Ohio, Rep. Hall said lawmakers in other states have reached out for guidance as they work on similar measures.