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Homeschooling a Would-Be Athlete

Homeschooling Expert Advice from Isabel Shaw

Q: My 13-year-old daughter is a very serious figure skater. She wants to be homeschooled so she can focus on her skating. What are the pros and cons? How would it affect her chances of getting into college?

A: If you watched the recent Olympics, you may have noticed that several of our best athletes were homeschooled. Linda Dobson's book Homeschoolers' Success Stories is filled with reports of athletes, artists, musicians, and others who are able to pursue their passions and achieve academic success through homeschooling. Here are some pros and cons for you and your daughter to consider as you make your decision:


  • No homework. Homeschooled students learn effectively and efficiently. Those two-hour homework sessions are history!
  • No wasted time. It is not uncommon for kids who learn at home to complete the equivalent of a week's worth of traditional schooling in a few short hours, or to finish a traditional four year high school program in less than two years.
  • Flexible hours. Work your learning/studying time into your practice schedule. Catch up on sleep whenever you need to.
  • Higher Test Scores. Homeschooled students consistently outperform their school peers on standardized tests, including the ACT test — an important indicator of future college success.
  • Negative Influences. Peer pressure, cliques, drugs, alcohol, sex, and violence have sadly become a daily part of high school life. Homeschooling is one way to limit that exposure.
  • Achieving Goals. Your daughter can set her goals, both academically and athletically, and pursue them at her own speed.
  • Additional Responsibility. You will have a much greater role in your daughter's academic life.
  • Added expense. If you purchase a curriculum package or join an Independent Study Program, costs can run anywhere from $400 to $1,000.
  • Research. To homeschool successfully, both of you will have to do some reading and research so you know exactly what homeschooling involves.

Homeschoolers are accepted and welcomed in colleges across the country. College admissions officials often view homeschoolers as being self-motivated, mature, and serious about their studies. These traits have resulted in homeschoolers having few problems during the application process. For more information, read And What about College?: How Homeschooling Leads to Admissions to the Best Colleges and Universities by Cafi Cohen.

For a better idea of your homeschooling options, read Homeschooling Teens and Leaving School and Learning at Home. Also, our How to Homeschool information center is filled with great resources and helpful advice. Good luck!

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Isabel Shaw is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom of 15 years. She and her husband Ray homeschool their two daughters, Jessica and Amanda. Besides being a contributor to FamilyEducation.com, Shaw has written for Home Education Magazine, The Link, Homeschooling Horizons Magazine, The Homeschool Gazette, and other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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