If space permits, Wisconsin homeschoolers can attend up to two classes at a local public school. Effective July 13, 2015, they can also participate in sports and extracurricular activities on the same basis and to the same extent as public-school students.
State law does not authorize school districts to require a homeschooled student to “enroll” before participating in courses, sports, or other extracurricular activities.
Wisconsin Statutes § 118.53
(1) In this section, “course” means study which has the fundamental purposes of developing the knowledge, concepts, and skills in a subject.
(2) In addition to the standards for admission under ss. 118.14, 118.145(1), and 120.12(25), the school board of a district shall determine the minimum standards for admission to a course offered by the school district in grades kindergarten through eight.
(2m) A school board shall allow a pupil enrolled in a home-based private educational program who has not met the minimum standards for admission into high school under s. 118.145(1) to attend up to two courses at a public school in the district during each school semester if the school board determines that the pupil qualifies for admission to those courses and if there is sufficient space in the classroom.
(3) A school board shall allow a pupil enrolled in a home-based private educational program who has met the standards for admission under sub. (2) to attend up to two courses at a public school in the district during each school semester if the school board determines that there is sufficient space in the classroom.
(4) A pupil enrolled in a home-based private educational program and attending a public school under this section may attend one course in each of two school districts, but may not attend more than two courses in any semester.
2013 Wisconsin Act 20, effective July 2, 2013, gave school boards the new power to establish admission standards for admission to individual courses. It also expanded the potential availability of classes from high school classes only to classes at any grade level. Act 20 removed the reference to homeschooling in §118.145 and created a new statute, §118.53, to govern homeschool access.
Wisconsin Statutes § 118.133
(1) Interscholastic athletics.
(a) A school board shall permit a pupil who resides in the school district and is enrolled in a home-based private educational program to participate in interscholastic athletics in the school district on the same basis and to the same extent that it permits pupils enrolled in the school district to participate.
(b) Upon request, the home-based educational program in which the pupil is enrolled shall provide the school board with a written statement that the pupil meets the school board's requirements for participation in interscholastic athletics based on age and academic and disciplinary records. No person may provide a false statement under this paragraph. The school board may not question the accuracy or validity of the statement or request additional information.
(2) Extracurricular activities. A school board shall permit a pupil who resides in the school district and is enrolled in a home-based private educational program to participate in extracurricular activities in the school district on the same basis and to the same extent that it permits pupils enrolled in the school district to participate.
(3) Participation fees. A school board may charge a pupil who participates in interscholastic athletics or extracurricular activities as permitted under this section participation fees, including fees for uniforms, equipment, and musical instruments, on the same basis and to the same extent that it charges these fees to a pupil who is enrolled in the school district.
Things to keep in mind:
Public school access includes participation in public school classes, sports, activities, etc.
States use a unique vocabulary in this area: “extracurricular,” “cocurricular,” “curricular,” “interscholastic,” “program,” “activity,” etc. Care should be taken to distinguish one from another. When a state defines a word, it is important.
While athletic association rules are not “law,” public schools are generally constrained to operate within them, or their teams could be disqualified. We therefore refer to association rules of particular importance in a number of entries.
We strive toward keeping this information 100% up to date in this rapidly changing area of the law. However, this post should not be considered authoritative because of the possibility of unobserved changes in association rules, statutes, regulations, or case decisions, and because of lag time between changes and the publication of updates.
Please note: The information on this page has been reviewed by an attorney, but it should not be taken as legal advice specific to your individual situation.