Organized Sports for Homeschoolers

We’re entering into new territory in the life of our homeschool: organized sports.

If you have younger children you might truly be wondering what your athletic child will do when the days of Little League, Upward, and various other rec league opportunities come to an end. Sports opportunities are abundant when kids are little, but what happens when they get to the middle and high school years?

Quite a few parents have told me they have decided to send their child to traditional high school for the sports opportunities (among other reasons). I believe this is fear talking - or perhaps sports sound like a good enough reason to stop homeschooling your high schooler.

As the mom of an extremely athletic boy, I understand the importance of sports. They provide a much needed physical outlet, a vehicle for a competitive nature, and an opportunity to challenge personal limits.

Then that homeschool mom mindset kicks in. You know what I mean. We tend to be skeptical of “group” anything. We also tend to hold our children’s activities quite closely. We’ve done a lot on our own thus far, right?

Organized Sports for Homeschoolers

As you seek the best sports situation for your child, be sure it aligns with your homeschool vision. What are your ULTIMATE goals for your homeschool graduate? Will these athletics support those goals?

Have you prayed with and for your child about their education? About their athletic opportunities?

Sometimes FEAR begins to kick in as our children approach the high school years. Don’t ever forget we must have faith - not fear.

Organized Sports for Homeschoolers in Public Schools

First, we need to understand the facts - more specifically the facts for the area where we live.

Many states have passed the Tim Tebow Law. Basically, certain states have given the ok for homeschoolers to participate in public school sports teams. (Here is a list of the states and a little more about the law.)

I imagine that, if you live in one of these states, weighing the pros and cons of participating in a public school sports team is important.

If you homeschool for religious reasons, be prepared for God to be off limits now. You should also understand the INTENSE peer pressure that exists in public high schools today. Some of the statistics surrounding sexuality in public high schools are astounding.

Then again, you may know the exact situation your homeschooler would be stepping into - and if you keep close tabs on the situation all could be well.

Organized Sports for Homeschoolers in Hybrid Schools

Homeschool hybrid schools also provide sports opportunities for homeschoolers. If you aren’t familiar with this term hybrid schools are…

... a model where children split their time between homeschool and a more traditional schooling environment. This could be three days at home and two days at school, two days at home and three days at school, part of the day at home and part of the day at schools, or a variety of other options.
— Forbes Magazine

In my area (Atlanta metro) there are an abundance of these schools. These schools give homeschoolers a chance to play on their sports teams, sometimes regardless of their enrollment status.

Organized Sports for Homeschoolers in Private Schools

This option is one we have become acutely familiar with in the past year.

Many private schools (especially smaller schools who might need players for teams or who are trying to increase their revenue) welcome homeschoolers on their sports teams.

My son has been playing basketball for a local Christian school this season (in fact, they just won the state championships - how awesome is that?). The benefits have been TREMENDOUS, and we have loved the emphasis on Godly character and sportsmanship.

Organized Sports for Homeschoolers

Sometimes all it takes is putting out feelers to see if there are schools in your area that allow homeschoolers to play - and it never hurts to make a call to a school to ask about their policy.

And here’s an interesting side note - we actually had a choice of where my son would play basketball this year - a local hybrid school or a Christian school just down the street from us.

I love that we have CHOICE! (Homeschooling is so mainstream now, and the opportunities are endless!)

Create Your Own Homeschool Athletic Team

Homeschool parents are resourceful when there is a need for their children.

We have played on a tennis team that was organized by homeschool moms. They secured two tennis instructors and lessons were offered each Friday morning. Children who were interested could play on a USTA team (easily organized by a parent).

I can imagine the sky would be the limit with the sports opportunities you could create - if you know children who are interested and someone who is willing to lead/instruct the group, you are set.

Homeschool Sports - Use the YMCA

Finally, we have used our local YMCA for many years.

Our branch offers basketball, tennis, swimming, baseball - and probably so much more that I am not even aware of.

Granted, these opportunities tend to diminish once children are in 9th grade.

My children also use the YMCA for simply working out, too. Our membership has been of such value during our homeschooling years. At one point my kids even took a Homeschool PE class at our local YMCA.

(In the same vein, don’t forget about local sports academies that might offer things like soccer, flag football, etc… )

Organized Sports for Homeschoolers

I hope you are reassured about the ABUNDANCE of opportunities for athletics in the upper years of homeschooling. I’m in the middle of it all now, and will keep you posted as life for my sports loving boy continues!

Do you have an older child in organized sports?

Where do they play?

Leave me a comment below and let’s share situations!

Organized Sports for Homeschoolers

What We've Been Up To Lately: Community or Curriculum?

Community has always been an essential ingredient of our homeschool.

When the kids were younger I would definitely tell you community was more important than curriculum. By that I mean we were in an “extracurricular” co-op once a week for the benefit of community. Sure, the classes were engaging and beneficial, but they weren’t essential to our learning and were outside of our curriculum.

As my children reached middle school age, however, community and curriculum became intertwined. We began Classical Conversations and that was a good solution for both needs.

Until it wasn’t.

Homeschooling at Homegrown Learners: Community or Curriculum?

For my oldest, we needed to follow her heart and desires. We took her out of a CC community and enrolled her in online classes and a few classes at a local classical school.

We had to seriously evaluate the curriculum and the community, too. In her case, we needed a change in BOTH.

She will be graduating in May and I now look back and thank GOD for leading us in the right direction!

She is finishing high school with a beautiful of mix of her interests and also the “required” curriculum.

Homeschooling at Homegrown Learners: Community or Curriculum?

This week my husband and I have had some long, thoughtful discussions about the community we want for our son going forward.

We also received the latest Classical Conversations catalog and have been discussing whether the curriculum for next year fits our son’s needs.

As I stood talking with another mom this morning she articulated what I have been feeling: Which is more important to us moving forward? Community or Curriculum?

The Importance of Homeschool Community

Three years ago we started a new CC community. A prayerful group of moms (most of us with boys) came together to form a place where we could be together and educate our children together through high school.

I cannot accurately describe what a BLESSING this group has been. Our community is STRONG. The children are thoughtful and diligent, hard working and kind. The parents are friends and we are walking the road of Christian parenthood together.

We all remark how RARE this kind of community is and do not take it for granted.

Homeschooling at Homegrown Learners: Community or Curriculum?

That first year of our group was small. We had a group of 6 moms that met to pray about our community. We prayed for tutors, facilities, and so much more.

Now that community has changed locations. We have dozens more families, and have expanded to Challenge A, B, and I. Our Challenge I class next year will have 11 children - most of them have been together since their elementary years.

When Community Trumps Curriculum

Many of you who have followed me know that I am a bit leery of all of the reading that is done in Challenge I and II. I don’t want to see my son lose his love of reading.

I believe there should be more formalized history in the high school years.

I don’t think the sciences are accelerated enough in the Challenge years.

Those are things I am willing to adjust and work with so that we can have the benefit of THIS COMMUNITY.

We will most likely add an online Spanish class next year. I will probably omit some of the reading. This summer we may work on Physical Science so that we can move ahead to Biology in Challenge I.

The bottom line is this: There will never be a perfect school situation. We need to work on a child by child basis to determine what is most important for them at a given point in time.

Additionally, I think it is important to never commit yourself so wholeheartedly to one method or program that you cannot make a change if that is what is best for your child. When the method becomes more important than the child you have a serious problem!

That’s what weve been up to this week (well that AND lots of basketball!) - making big decisions for next year and evaluating decisions from previous years.

Homeschooling these upper grades is so GOOD - there is no need to be afraid. Just jump in and GO - with prayer and careful research you can avail yourselves of all of the wonderful opportunities out there!

What have you been up this week?

Making any big decisions for next year? Let me know in the comments below!

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