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Homeschooling and The Olympics: A Team Victory

by David Engle | Aug 03, 2021 | 5 min read

If you weren’t already aware, the Summer Olympics are well under way in Tokyo. You may have caught some basketball, softball, swimming, gymnastics, diving, and track and field events. But were you aware that karate, skateboarding, surfing, sport climbing, and breakdancing are also Olympic sports? Breakdancing??

Some of those new additions may seem like head-scratchers to you (and me), but all of those sports/activities have one thing in common: they all require a TON of work, dedication, and practice to make it to the Olympics, whether you’re throwing a javelin, performing a mat routine, or…spinning on your head. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking breakdancing–it’s an incredibly athletic activity that undoubtedly requires max effort to become among the best in the world. I would love to be able to perform even one of the moves these dancers can do in their sleep without causing permanent bodily harm to myself.)

And that’s what all of these athletes must put forth–max effort, for hours a day, nearly every day each week, throughout the course of the year. It’s quite rare for a person to possess not only a remarkable amount of talent but also the unrelenting drive and determination to succeed. But it’s those people who earn the opportunity to travel and compete for medals across the globe, as well as the honor of representing their country.

So, what about school? Where does that fit in?

After all, these athletes are training for hours and hours every single day. Where do they find the time to study? How do they carve out a quarter of their day and dedicate it to classes? When are they able to write essays or take tests or create presentations?

Through homeschooling.

Freedom and Flexibility

There’s no other way to say it–traditional brick-and-mortar schools simply don’t allow flexibility into their schedules. You go to class from X-o’clock AM through X-o’clock PM, you come home, you dedicate some time to studying and homework, you wake up and repeat the routine. You can’t take a break to train for a competition or travel to a meet without suffering the consequences–absences, missed work that’s nearly impossible to make up, and minimal time outside of school for practice or performance. Put plainly, it’s nearly impossible to train to be an Olympian while attending a traditional school.

That’s where homeschooling comes in. Homeschooling with an accredited program through an academy like Bridgeway Academy offers all the flexibility in the world. Aspiring athletes can enroll in pre-recorded classes that allow them to watch and study and complete their assignments while they’re traveling, resting between meets or matches, or hanging at a hotel.

Homeschooling can happen on a bus, on a plane, in a van, at a gymnasium, at a coffee shop–anywhere there’s a WiFi connection, school is possible! Take our Total Care Elite program, for example. It’s designed to allow for freedom and flexibility while still ensuring there is plenty of communication between student and teacher. Look at some of the features of Total Care Elite, and you’ll see how and why it’s perfect for athletes and performers who need hours of their days set aside for practice and training:

  • The program is approved by the NCAA through our partnership with Edgenuity Instructional Services, which means student-athletes are all set when it comes time for college.
  • Classes are pre-recorded so students can log on whenever their schedules allow.
  • Coursework and assignments are customizable.
  • Academic advisors are there to support students at any time, while teachers directly interact with students every week.
  • On-demand tutoring is available for any student who needs help with their studies.

Homeschooling still holds student-athletes accountable for their studies, but it also lends the flexibility they need to accommodate both school and their busy schedules.

An Excellent Education

I can keep going and going, but isn’t it better to hear from someone who experienced Total Care Elite for herself, while she was training to be an Olympian?

Elizabeth “Ebee” Price, a 2014 Bridgeway Academy graduate, was selected as an alternate for the gold medal-winning 2012 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics team that competed in London. That achievement required countless hours of training and hard work, which would not have been possible without the flexibility that homeschool provides.

“I used Bridgeway Academy as my homeschool program, not only because of the flexibility that they offered me with my classes, but they allowed me to look at all the classes I could take, as well as all the requirements and worked with me to figure out a class schedule that I wanted to take and helped me reach my goals,” said Elizabeth. “They were also NCAA accredited so I could use all my coursework there and it would count toward high school credits that could get me into a university for sports, which was very important to me as well.”

Elizabeth put those credits to great use, attending and graduating from prestigious Stanford University in 2018. During her time at Stanford, Elizabeth accomplished the following (deep breath…it’s a long list):

  • Two-time NCAA National Champion
  • 2018 AAI Award Winner for most outstanding female senior gymnast in the country 
  • Finalist for the Honda Sports Award
  • 19-time All-American
  • 10-time NCAA All-American
  • Nine-time NACGC/W Regular Season All-American  
  • 2018 Regional Gymnast of the Year
  • Six-time NCAA Regionals champion
  • Two-time Pac-12 Gymnast of the Year
  • 2015 Pac-12 Specialist of the Year
  • Four-time Pac-12 Champion
  • Nine-time All-Pac-12

Clearly, all of Elizabeth’s hard work during her elementary, middle, and high school years paid off in a big way. And homeschooling was a crucial part of her success, as Elizabeth was able to focus on her true passion–gymnastics–while still studying and receiving an amazing education that allowed her to attend an elite school like Stanford, where she had the opportunity to excel as a collegiate student-athlete.

Elizabeth was humble when speaking about her homeschool education with Bridgeway Academy, while also addressing a common misconception regarding homeschooling–that there’s a serious lack of socialization.

“I’m glad I homeschooled,” said Elizabeth. “It didn’t take away from my athletics, or even academically. I did pretty well, probably better than if I had gone to [traditional] school. I know parents worry about sociability, but I still kept in contact with all my friends and went to football games and dances, and I still had so many friends I wasn’t isolated from, so I think it was a very good decision.”

Hard Work + Homeschooling = Olympic Dreams Come True

Simone Biles, arguably the greatest gymnast of all time. Shaun White, one of the most successful snowboarders in history. Michelle Kwan, one of figure skating’s all-time greats. Venus and Serena Williams, two of the best tennis players ever. Snowboarders Evan Strong, Arielle Gold, and Jamie Anderson. Skier Nick Goepper. Diver Steele Johnson.

This is just a list of recent Olympic athletes who were homeschooled. The list goes on and on. And it was because of homeschooling that these elite athletes had the opportunity to hone their skills day in and day out while still receiving a great education.

It’s no secret that every athlete named in this article was born with special talent. But that talent only takes a person so far if they’re not willing to work to achieve greatness. You won’t find a single Olympic athlete who coasted into the Summer or Winter Games on sheer talent alone. They put their blood, sweat, and tears into every workout and every practice on the field, on the slopes, in the gym, on the ice, in the pool, on the track, and on the courts. With the newest Olympic events, those efforts happened on the streets, in the dojo, and on the waves.

No matter the sport or event, it’s imperative that these athletes have the time to perfect their crafts–and homeschooling makes that happen. If you’re the parent, relative, or friend of an aspiring athlete or performer who is looking for the perfect education to complement their training schedules, tell them all about Bridgeway Academy and our Total Care Elite program. We’ve helped amazing athletes achieve their dreams, and we look forward to doing so again. Call us at (800) 863-1474 to learn more.
David Engle
Hello, and thanks for reading! I’m David Engle--dad, husband, sports fan, and writer/editor. As a father for the last 18 years (father of two for the last 14), I consider myself to be pretty well-versed in all things related to education, childhood, and parenting, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to share some insights and knowledge with fellow parents. I have been a professional writer and editor for a quarter of a century (it pains me to admit that) and have been writing in the educational space for a number of those years. I reside in southern New Jersey with my wife, two kids, two dogs, and three cats. Never a dull moment.
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