LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- It doesn't matter if your child is a student there or not, home school students are now eligible to participate in high school activities. From sports to choir to chess club, the Arkansas Activities Association voted today to allow home school students the opportunity to be involved starting the 2013-2014 school year.
Those home school students looking to play high school sports or activities in their local district can now do so as long as they are enrolled in at least one class a day, meet standardized testing requirements and make the team.
"We've heard from a lot of home school parents that they'll do whatever it takes to be able to participate," says AAA Executive Director Lance Taylor."It's wherever the public school district where their parents reside, that's the school district they are going to be able to participate in."
Wednesday, the Arkansas Activities Association (AAA) gave home school students grades seven through twelve a unique opportunity to participate in sports and activities at their local high school without being a full-time student.
"We think it will be good for them to be around other kids and learn the life skills that our kids are learning by participating in these activities," says Taylor.
Life skills Michael and Renee Bennett say their home schooled children are already learning, along with nearly 300 of their home schooled peers.
"We have track and field, cross country, volleyball, basketball, softball and baseball," says Michael Bennett.
The Bennetts are the athletic directors for the Pulaski County Flames, a program that allows home school students to compete in athletics. But instead of teammates with public school students, the Bennetts say they would rather be opponents.
"When we go to other states to play other programs, for example Kansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, just to name a few, those programs are allowed to play triple A or the triple A equivalent in those states and their programs are a little more advanced than ours," says Bennett.
As for the triple A rule, the Bennetts say it is at least a step in the right direction.
"I think it means a lot for the rural communities, in places where they are not able to field a complete home school team," says Michael Bennett.
The Pulaski County Flames high school volleyball team won first place last year at a national competition in Omaha, Nebraska knocking out all the other home school teams in the country.
The Bennetts hope this new triple A decision will soon open up the door for them to play against public and private schools in their area if just for the practice it gives the students.