How Sports Can Contribute to a Well-Rounded Homeschool Experience-GUEST POST

How Sports Can Contribute to a Well Rounded Homeschool Experience

When Miranda asked me to write a guest post on being home schooled, I was a little lost on where to start. There are so many different things I could write about. I could talk about all the things I liked. I could write about how much I loved being able to spend so much time with my little brother or how I love the relationship I have with my parents. I could talk about the life-long friends I have because of the kids I was home schooled with. I could talk about the incredible example of hard work and tenacity I learned from my parents and their example of sacrifice and love.

I decided on something different though, that I don’t think many homeschool families do. At least not the one’s I grew up with.

I was homeschooled for 11 years. My dad is a fireman, so he did most of the homeschooling and my mom came along side him and helped in every way.

My dad used to tell my brother and I that he wanted us to be “Warrior-Scholars.” We thought he was being kind of cheesy at the time…but now I LOVE that idea.

The point of that term is that we should be well rounded. This term makes me think of King David. He was strong, a leader, a protector, a literal warrior. Yet he was a humble servant, a writer, a musician, a husband and father.

Obviously, the ‘warrior’ part of that term means something different for girls and boys…but you get the idea.

The proverbs 31 woman was no whimp 😉

My brother and I took piano for 8 years each, we read all the classics and learned to read Latin and Greek. We both have ‘artsy’ sides- my brother is a very talented photographer and designer. I like to make things and write.

My parents wanted us to be well rounded- and when we showed an interest in sports- they jumped on board to help us explore sports and grow our abilities.

They let us play sports at our district’s public school.

We did participate in homeschool leagues and PE classes, but neither of us really started to excel until they allowed us to play at the high school level.

When I was growing up, not many homeschool families realized you can do this- but you pay the same taxes as everyone else and the public school has to let you try-out for their teams.

It didn’t mean I was guaranteed a spot, I had to make the cut athletically, but they had to give me a chance. Which means they have to give your kids a chance too.

[Side note: I ran track at the public school for freshman and sophomore year, and then (for several different reasons) my parents ended up sending us to a Private Christian school when my brother started high school (which was my junior year). I was extremely blessed to have some incredibly talented teammates who pushed me really hard. I absolutely loved my time at the Christian school but I know I’m writing to homeschool families. Homeschooled kids can’t play sports for Private schools…so I’m writing this knowing that’s not an option for most.]

The competition you get in a small homeschool league is nowhere close to what you get at a public school…. I think this is mostly because the pool of kids is larger.

I think if you aren’t a sports fan or if athletics isn’t something important to you personally – this might not make sense or sound important.

But it is.

Having good competition around you, experienced coaches, and the equipment and facilities is a huge blessing and something that you can’t get in homeschool leagues.

To become a good athlete, you need other people who are better than you to push you and challenge you. For a kid who has a God-given ability in the area of sports- it is so important to challenge them.

My parents saw that I had a skill and they did everything they could to help me develop and use it.

God gives everyone different gifts and abilities and I believe He loves to watch us use them for His glory. I got the opportunity to struggle through what it means to do something- like sports and running- for His glory.

The biggest compliment I ever received on the track was from a non-Christian teammate during college. He asked me what made me so consistently joyful all the time.

Talk about a beautiful invitation to share Christ and His Joy 🙂

Being a part of a team taught me so many things that have followed me into adulthood. Playing sports taught me tenacity and integrity. It taught me how to work with others, work through disagreements, and how to be an encourager and a leader.

Sports taught me that when I make a commitment, I need to see it through to the end. I learned to deal with disappointments and victories in a God honoring way.

Sports changed my life. I learned so much during my four years of high school sports. It was absolutely one of the biggest things that shaped me and made me who I am today. It also opened up the opportunity for me to run track and cross country in college.

After the first few weeks of being on the high school track team, I remember sitting on the bleachers crying my eyes out telling my mom I wanted to quit. My dad was pretty firm and told me I made a commitment to this team and these kids and I could quit when the season was over.

I am SO grateful that he made me stick with it. I ended up loving track. I excelled at it and I ended up being able to run collegiately. Running is still something I do almost every single day.

Sports and Homeschool

Some of my best friends were made during my time on the track team- several were even bridesmaids in my wedding. I introduced one of my teammates to my brother-in-law, and she’s now my sister-in-law 😉

Best of all, I got the opportunity to run Cross Country collegiately with my brother during my junior year. There is absolutely nothing more special 🙂

Homeschool and Sports

I think my parents did such a good job facilitating high school sports. They were extremely involved, but they never made me feel smothered.

At least one of my parents was at every single high school track meet I ever ran in.

My dad was incredibly involved and he knew my races as well as I did. He knew what my splits should be and how my pace should look and where I was supposed to be in the line up. He had his own stop-watch and he would stand at a certain spot on the track and give me my times. I could hear him cheering for me from anywhere on the track. He knew when I needed to hear encouragement. He was the first to catch me in a hug after every race.

Sports and Homeschool

He would pray with me before every race. If he had to work, I would call him 5 minutes before I lined up and he would pray with me. I remember a few times in college, glancing up during a prayer and seeing a few non-Christian teammates had gathered around and were bowing their heads as my dad prayed over me and our team.

To this day, I still call him before road races and we pray together over the phone.

Track became a family event. My mom brought snacks and a big canopy to every meet. She really got the other parents involved. Track meets became fun potluck style events. She made spaghetti dinners for my team and opened our home for other team events. She encouraged me, cheered me on, and served my team and I in fun and creative ways.

My parents were my biggest fans and they were just as involved as my coaches were.

For my first college meet, they surprised me by driving 9 hours to New Mexico to cheer me on.

I know that a lot of homeschool families are very against the public school system and this post might even make you feel a tiny bit defensive.

I’m not advocating for carelessly dropping your kid at the public school and turning a blind eye to what’s happening with them there. But I am advocating for parents to consider public high school sports as a way for kids to grow their God given skills and talents. Consider how you can help cultivate their athletic abilities. Consider the joy, fun, and incredible life lessons sports can teach your kids. I know that competition and sports may not be the first thing of importance on everyone’s list, but I know that my life is forever changed because of running and playing sports.

What’re your thoughts on this? How have you integrated sports/physical activity into homeschooling? Have you run into challenges?

About the Author:

Jessie is a wife and a cardiovascular ICU nurse at a childrens hospital. She is an avid runner and fitness lover. Jessie shares her heart on nursing, her love of fitness, and her family’s adventures on her blog Sneakers & Stethoscopes.

Sports and Homeschool Author

You might find me linked up to some of these awesome blogs.

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  • http://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

    I love this! My husband is very into sports, so it has been something our kids have been doing since they were old enough to. Although, I am not sure about the rules here in CA as far as playing HS sports as a homeschooler. I know I looked into it a few years ago and it was very vague. My sister did home study her last year in HS, and they wouldn’t let her go out for sports. But it is a very good point you bring up that we still pay the same taxes! I do think that as Christians, we are to be in the world and shining our light, and if sports is an avenue that God uses you for, to take it. I also know that you would have to be sure that your child was being an influence for Christ, instead of the other way around too. All in all, some great points to consider as my children get older. Thanks so very much for guest posting! I really enjoyed reading about your experiences and your family.

  • http://www.giveaways4mom.com/ Victoria H

    This is a great post. I was in sports during high school. I did dance and track. Sports are important, I hope my boys want to do something once they reach the sports age.

    • http://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      I agree, sports are important-both for fitness as well as teamwork.Thanks for stopping by!

    • Jessie

      I feel the same way, I really hope my kids will love sports as much as I did:)

      -Jessie
      http://www.sneakersandstethoscopes.com

  • Melanie Redd

    Hey Jessie,

    What a great testimony about being in the world and making a real difference! I think it’s great that your parents gave you the chance to have high school sports experience. There is so much you can gain from being part of a team.

    And, it sounds like you made many friends and wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing your story. (By the way, I met Tim Tebow’s mom a few years ago. As a homeschooler, he played football for a large public high school).

    Came over on Soul Survivor today, and I’m glad to read your post.
    Hope you have a blessed Monday~
    Melanie

    • http://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      How interesting! I didn’t know that Tim Tebow was homeschooled. My hubby will be interested in that. Thanks so much for stopping by.

    • Wendy Knehans

      Melanie-
      We participate at the same high school Tim played at!

    • Jessie

      Melanie thank you for such a kind comment 🙂 thank you for taking the time to read:) I had no idea that Tebow was homeschooled, that is so cool to know 😀

      -Jessie
      http://www.sneakersandstethoscopes.com

  • Amanda Dunville

    Sports is something I would love to get my kids involved in on a more competitive basis. They are younger and have shown no interest whatsoever. My daughter did play softball from ages 7-10, but when it became competitive, she was done. She said she liked to play for fun only. Lol This post has opened my eyes to an opportunity I wasn’t even aware of. Thank you!

    • http://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      My oldest daughter also stopped playing when softball became more competitive. Which was fine for me at the time because the parents we were dealing with were competitive monsters and I couldn’t stand to be around them! Sports for fun is also ok, and not everyone is gifted or interested in that area, but for those children that are, the next level of playing can be a good thing.

    • Jessie

      That’s too funny:) I was the same way, I hated PE and playing sports and then something clicked and I just loved it haha maybe she will like it more when she’s older 🙂 I’m so glad to hear that…my hope was that maybe even just one family who didn’t know about it would read and be blessed by sports someday 🙂

      -Jessie
      http://www.sneakersandstethoscopes.com

  • Rose Powell

    My children are not homeschooled, but I can attest to how much school athletics have contributed to her overall growth as a productive and confident young woman.

    • http://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      Sports definitely can contribute to self-confidence. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing!

    • Jessie

      That’s such a good point…sports really can help with confidence 🙂

      Jessie
      http://www.sneakersandstethoscopes.com

  • Debbie Prater

    Very nice blog! I loved sports growing up and my son played football and loved it. I would encourage anyone to pursue it. It has kept me healthy and active over the years. I only walk and garden now, but still, I know others who aren’t and they are not healthy.

    • http://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      Yep, sports definitely can keep you healthy. Which is so important now a days with all the fast food and video games 😉

    • Jessie

      Hey, walking and gardening is a great way to stay active. Gardening is hard work!

      Jessie
      http://www.sneakersandstethoscopes.com

  • Sweet Silly Sara

    Sports is a great outlet for kids. They learn so much from playing and having fun! This was a great post!

    • http://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      They sure are fun and great learning experiences! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    • Jessie

      Thank you so much Sara!

      Jessie
      http://www.sneakersandstethoscopes.com

  • http://www.theforeverjoyfulhomeschool.com Leslie DeJarnette

    Thanks for sharing about your homeschool experience. Great post! I agree that sports have helped my children tremendously. Some states sadly do not allow homeschoolers to play public school sports (including my state). However, it’s well worth it for parents in those states to find other great athletic opportunities for their kids.

  • Wendy Knehans

    Yay! I love this post! My homeschooled daughter runs varsity cross country and track at our public school, and my husband even coaches football. I have seen her excel while still remaining true to her beliefs and herself, it has been a true blessing to be a part of and we can’t wait for the season to start!
    Thank you SO much for sharing this!!!

  • http://keepingupwiththevines.com The Future Mrs. Vines

    I did not have the opportunity to home-school, but it’s very interesting to know that home-schooled children can try out for public school teams! That’s great! I’ll share it with my friends.

  • Jamie

    Great post! Thanks for sharing at the Merry Monday Link Party!

  • Shauna Lynn

    I always wondered how sports and homeschooling worked. Awesome!