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