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Organizing Local Homeschool Sports

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, March 10, 2006

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 7 No 10 March 10, 2006
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2006 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net. All Rights Reserved.

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!

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Notes from the Editor
-- High School Sports (2)
Helpful Tips
-- Bathtub Containment
Question of the Week
-- Your Questions
-- Your Answers
Editor's Picks
-- Old Ironsides Unit
-- Subscriber Information
-- Sponsorship Information

Notes from Heather

Wow!I received SO many nice letters this past week!Thanks to
everyone who wrote in... it is a great encouragement to me.I will
begin by sharing some of these emails first... and then follow with
my "notes".:-)


"Hi Heather -- Our family is facing a different situation with sports this
next school year. We have paid the enrollment fees, plus sports fees
for the past 2 years in a private Christian school so that our boys,
Junior High age, could play sports.They love football and track (we
also tried basketball).We were just notified by the school, that they
will be cutting back on their sports programs next year and will not
offer football.The boys were heartbroken, as were we.We love the
school and have built some friendships there. We have decided, how-
ever, since the boys want to play football, that we will have to go to
another school. This has been a wonderful experience and we were
welcomed with open arms by the school.We will be leaving them
next year to join with another school that is offering football and it
makes us sad and excited at the same time.We will leave some
old friends that we had a lot of fun with and we will make some new
friends.We will still see some of the old ones at track meets and
maybe some other places, but we have good memories for the
middle school years." -- Carol in Iowa


"My family has had wonderful experiences with doing sports with
others.I'm not very knowledgable about sports, but I wanted my
children to learn.I found it hard to find much good material on home-
schooling and Phys Ed until I found a book called "We Win" written
by a homeschooling father and coach.(Sorry - I think I lent it out,
and can't check the author's name)This book presented many
different sports from a homeschooling perspective, giving skill drills
and ways to adapt the sport to small group or family situations.I
was so excited about finding this book, I showed it to a friend and
together we ended up planning a year long program covering approx-
imately one sport a month, and invited other families in our church
and other homeschooling friends to join us.We started with around
five families and have grown to fifteen, and over 70 children.We divide
into four groups including preschoolers.The first half of the year we
meet at the baseball or soccer fields or skating rink or ski resort.
The second half we rent a church with a gymn and rotate the groups,
offering other activities such as choir, art classes and other things that
not every mom can just dish out.We end the year with a year end
program including a play or two and music, graduations, etc.It has
been really fabulous.Every mom is involved for all three periods, so
the work is not on just a few people's shoulders, and it is a great
opportunity for people to use their talents for God's service even in this.
It does require a commitment to be there every week, unless there is
sickness or something, but it really works.If you want to do some-
thing like this you just need to find a few likeminded people to work
with and start small.If it's a good thing, it will grow.Of course, grow-
ing includes growing pains, but have a servant heart and love each other
through thick and thin and do it for God and His children that He has
entrusted to you and I trust He will bless your efforts." -- Christine


"My oldest daughter, who is a freshman this year, has participated
with our local Christian school for team sports.This has been a very
positive experience and many homeschoolers from our support group
participate in a variety of sports programs through this school.

With the beginning of high school, I did contact the public high school
in our area regarding her playing on their teams.I was told that she
would need to take the four required classes with passing grades in
order to maintain eligiblilty.I was told that she could even take "fluff"
classes if I wanted!

We chose to keep her playing with the Christian school.At the same
time, she is involved with a club volleyball program run by the volleyball
coach at the high school.

The main reason we were considering sending her to the public high
school was sports - isn't that silly!I think you are right when you say
that many families do this, however.

We are happy with the set up as it is now.The only problem we may
encounter is that the lady who runs the club program may be very
anxious to have her play on the public school team.If she goes before
the school board to change the policy so they let her play, we will con-
sider it.My daughter already has her commitment to the team at the
local Christian school so it may not work for us now.It may open the
door for future athletes." -- Lorri in Illinois


"Our local home school connection has started started a homeschool
basketball league.We have elem. teams, J.V. and Varsity.We are
in a league with other home schooling teams and christian schools.
We just had an awesome awards banquet last night.

If parents are truly upset about sports not being available, then start
something!!!Our children are worth it.

If we pitch our tents towards Sodom (the schools) in the name of
sports, then we are going to have alot of regrets!

Just my opinion."-- Amy


"My son is playing his 6th season with a homeschool baseball
program.He is a junior.A homeschool dad started the program 10
years ago because his son wanted to play baseball at the high school
level, and they wanted to continue to homeschool.This dad retired as
coach this past year.The decision was made to hire a professional
coach this year.

Recent ruling changes in the state sports organization now allow us to
compete against any public or private member school.We previously
were forbidden from even scrimmaging these teams.Our vision is that
the program will continue to grow and provide a competitive high school
baseball opportunity for homeschool boys while building Christian
character, teaching good sportsmanship and teamwork and developing
leaders for Christ.We are members of the Homeschool World Series
Association and participate in their national tournaments.

It is a time and financial commitment for parents not to mention the
travel we have to do to play other homeschool teams in neighboring
states.We have also chosen to affiliate with the local homeschool
organization so we can benefit from their nonprofit status.We would
like to see corporate sponsors and private donations eventually fund the
program.It takes many hours of work from parents to keep a program
like ours going, but it has been so worth it.We have 4 former players
currently playing baseball at the college level.One alumni is projected
to be drafted in the MLB draft in the top 15-20 rounds.It is possible to
have opportunities for homeschoolers in competitive high school

I appreciate your newsletter." -- Melanie Morris


"Dear Heather -- Thank you - Thank you!Our family is EAGERLY
anticipating your article about homeschooling and sports.

We are BLESSED with a wonderful local church nearby that has
many opportunities for instructive, encouraging and competitive
(when they get a bit older) leagues for a wide-variety of sports.

But - you are right - between 13-15 depending on the sport - it all
STOPS - so abruptly.

Our three children are involved in a number of athletic programs with
this church - and a few other things like dance lessons and archery
through the H.I.S. program for homeschoolers.The latter 2 - the
children will be able to participate in all the way through schooling -
but - soccer, baseball, and eventually basketball - will end.We are
not looking forward to how our children will react to this news.

We are looking forward to what your article has to share with us.

Thank you for taking the time to impart some wisdom and advice -
we are so appreciative." -- Charity in New York


"The same thing happens with things other than sports. My daughter
stayed in school for band toooo long. She is very upset about what
she will be missing in years to come, but realizes that homeschooling
is the only way for her to learn. I just wanted you to know that things
other than sports are the same way. Great newsletter, thanks!" -- Shari


"I agree, many do not homeschool through high school and sports
sometimes is the issue. And high schoolers seem to need more of the
daily contact and exercise that a school team sport can offer, rather
than just once or twice a week.

Thankfully, our two sons have had no difficulty joining our high school
track teams for the past two years. In fact, after one of their first prac-
tices for x-country, the coach stopped to ask if I knew anymore home-
schoolers who wanted to participate!We had 3 homeschoolers on the
team, and they were the top three runners that year and this year.
Granted, our town is small, and track is not a popular event, but it was
nice to know they were appreciated. The boys went on to do well that
season, with 2 of the homeschooling boys winning the MVP and the
Coach's Award!One of the homeschool boys has gone on to be team
captain for several years as well. Now the team is growing, gaining
enthusiasm, and being recognized as a quality sport.

The requirements have been few. We have to have our paperwork filed
with the state education department, which is what we need to do
legally to homeschool in Maine. Otherwise, we just need to keep on
top of the schedules ourselves (no morning announcements as remin-
ders), and we ask a friend on the team to call us if something usual
changes with practice, such as a time change or being cancelled due
to snow. It hasn't been perfect, but it has worked out well for us. I have
heard of homeschoolers in just the next town up, however, who have
had to jump through many hoops before their children could participate
on a team, such as having interviews by the principal and having their
transcript reviewed. Thus, it seems to be a town by town decision here
in our region.

At first, I was concerned that the sports team would lure the boys into
the high school environment, and that they would then ask to go to
public school. Actually, their relatively limited exposure has caused
both boys to say "no thanks" to attending public school. They see the
time wasted, the disregard for quality work, the language, and the petty
relationships. It seems they appreciate their unique homeschool more!"
-- Karen in ME


"I look forward to any information on team sports through High School.
My husband coaches our kids teams and has always been involved
with team sports as a kid and feels that it is very important but he feels
even stronger about our commitment to home school our children all
the way through High School.Our oldest is 11 right now but we really
only have a few years left.Around here when she is 13 there aren't very
many local opportunities for her to play (at least that I am aware of).
We are very interested in being involved in bringing more opportunities
to home schoolers with team sports.Thank you in advance for your
willingness to speak to this subject." -- Gina Shiflet


High School Sports (Cont'd)

In the last issue I promised to share with you some suggestions for plan-
ning ahead for sports opportunities in the high school years.This series
of articles came about because a friend of mine suggested I should write
about "How NOT to Run a Homeschool Sports Organization".Ha!She
is right.Like Edison, I can probably tell you 1,000 ways NOT to do it. ;-)

But here is my best "how to":

1.Do your research well in advance.What opportunities ARE available
in the area for your child?If considering a school-based team, get the
requirements in writing.Draft questions in advance.Don't depend on
a coach saying "Oh, I'm sure it will be fine for you to participate."Read
up on local school board policies and state high school sports rulings.
Often local school boards are ignorant of changes at the state level and
will hide behind previous rulings until they have been educated.

2.Think you have what it takes to organize a start-up homeschool
sports group?You probably do!The main rule is DO NOT try to start
too big.Pick ONE sport... work on ONE team.[Establish early
guidelines, but don't be too strict.One mom wrote in that a local hs
sports group has so strict a "statement of beliefs" that it excludes all
Catholics and many established Protestant denominations!If you
desire to open up the hs sports opportunity to as many homeschoolers
as possible -- which is really wise when "numbers" count, especially in
the beginning, consider a basic statement of conduct and goals.A
good statement of purpose will include building strong moral character,
encouraging good sportsmanship, low tolerance for bad attitudes, and
zero tolerance for profanity or intentional injury on the playing field.If
there will be prayer before games, etc., just state that clearly.]

3.Get to know homeschool groups within a certain radius of your
area.Spread the word that you would like to put together homeschool
sports and see who steps up to help.Lots of parents are looking for
opportunities... and many hands make light work!

4.You'll know when it is time to incorporate, form a board and get
your non-profit status.In the meantime, make sure you cover costs of
equipment and uniforms with what you charge participants.Home-
school sports in our area range from $35 to $200 to play with a team,
depending on the group.Consider the cost of renting a gym (commer-
cial or church with a "love offering", etc.), scoring equipment, etc.With
wrestling our biggest expense were the mats.With basketball it might
be investing in your own portable electronic scoring system.You don't
have to have it all in the beginning... consider renting or borrowing.But
some sports simply can't go forward without proper equipment!Talk to
everyone you know.Tell them what you are doing and what you need.
Talk, talk, talk.

5.It is easiest to start with an "everybody plays" arrangement.You'll
know when it is time to divide into competition teams with try-outs and
"for fun" type teams.Rome wasn't built in a day!

6.Think long-term.There is probably very little you can do to start an
independent homeschool opportunity for that child who is nearing 18.
Think about your 5 and 10 year old.Where do you want this organiza-
tion to be in 5 years?Plant the seeds now and you will have some-
thing solid to offer them.You could be doing this for your grandchildren,


PLEASE PLEASE email me with what YOU would add to or change
about these suggestions.I know I am just scratching the surface and
I'm far from being an expert on the subject!

Also... I am still welcoming more "sports stories" like the ones we have
above.What is the situation in YOUR area?Looking forward to hearing
from YOU!

Send me those emails!!Mail to:heather@familyclassroom.net



[Here's your chance!Send YOUR ideas along to

"To keep younger pre-school age children busy while the older chil-
dren are doing their lessons, utilize the bath tub. (Without water of
course.)Little ones love to be given play-doh, paints, bubbles, any-
thing that makes a mess.The clean up is very easy then you can
run the water and clean up the child and the mess.If you have a
baby that wants to crawl all over school work, put a laundry basket
right next to where you are working put the baby in it with their own
special toys.The baby feels like they are right there and the older
child can do their work without a baby sitting on it." -- a subscriber

Send YOUR ideas to:HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Answer our NEW Question!

"I work full time. My husband is disabled and home schools our teen-
age son. We don’t seem to have any local organizations for dads.My
husband would like to participate in group activities but they all consist
of moms and he’s just not comfortable. Can we hear from some dads
about what are they doing?" -- A Mom in Arkansas

[Editor's Note:I didn't receive any responses yet to this mom's
question.If the dads don't want to write in -- you moms feel free to
share what your husbands are doing to connect with other homeschool
dads!Online... or even "real world" connections.Let's hear about it!]


Send your responses to:HN-answers@familyclassroom.net


Do you have a burning question that you can't ask just anyone?
Send it to HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if our readers can help you out.


The following information was forwarded to me by a member of our
Homeschooling Boys group at http://www.homeschoolingboys.com

It looks like a great idea for an extensive unit study!

"The USS Constitution Museum has made their award-winning K-12
curriculum, All Hands on Deck: Learning Adventures Aboard "Old
Ironsides", available for download from the Web at no cost. The
curriculum, previously available only as a workbook, uses one of the
United States' most colorful and beloved icons to teach a range of
subjects. Fourteen lesson plans use the frigate USS Constitution,
nicknamed "Old Ironsides" during the War of 1812, as a vehicle to
explore a wide range of disciplines including social studies, language
arts, reading, math, science, and art.The curriculum uses fascinating
and varied content scope, including critical thinking, making tables and
diagrams, solving math problems, and writing essays and poems. Life
skills that stress the value of cooperation, persistence, creativity, and
ingenuity are also included.Educators can search the online curri-
culum by discipline, subject, skill, and grade level to find the lesson
plans and activities that match their needs. The VHS tape that ships
with the hard copy is now available online as a streaming video for use
with the online lessons."


Interactive Email Group

In an effort to help our readers become more of an interactive
community, we have set up an email loop at YahooGroups called

Please sign-up for the group and take our poll, even if you want
to go "no mail" for the loop.This will help me to understand what
ages your children are, how you school, etc.(The information will
be kept anonymous and private, of course.)

Here is the link to sign-up and take the poll:



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Next - Competitive High School Sports; Support for Home-Teaching Dads
Previous - High School Sports Expectations, Gifted and Talented Support

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