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October 1, 2014 Edition 

What about sports?               

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Mercy Every Minute   

The Wuehler Family

My kids are saddened and appalled by the stories I have told them about my past involving sports. I vividly remember NOT being picked for sports teams in my early public school years so many times that I stopped asking to play. And, required sports at school meant required showers at school which were horrifying and embarrassing to say the least. But as I grew older, I began to enjoy some aspects of P.E. like track and volleyball. So in high school, I signed up for the volleyball team. We had a coach we learned to trust and learn from, and we learned how quickly you can make everyone cheer or let everyone down based on your individual performance.  

 

There is a lot for a child to learn through organized sports. I am still talking about those two years of volleyball today with my children. I am able to use it as an example of how our family can work better as a team. We work hard together, practicing daily basic skills until they are second nature. We benefit from each other's strengths and work on our own weaknesses. We work together as a team so that no one person has too much to do. When one member falls short, the whole family team suffers. When one of us has a victory, we all rejoice. We build each other up with our words and actions as we cheer each other on, especially in the hard times.  

 

Brian Ray of NHERI.org talks about a study that revealed our homeschooled kids are not much healthier or active than their peers in public school, "If public school students are more obese and less physically active than they should be (in general) and there is little difference between their nutrition and physical activity and that of homeschool children, then homeschool parents ought to pay close attention and consider what they should be changing around their families, with their children and with themselves."  

 

We probably want to think about getting our children more active and less like couch potatoes, since obesity and laziness are sadly common terms for most children today. An organized sport would be a good choice. Homeschooled children would benefit from sports in these and other ways. Here are some resources and benefits of participating in and studying sports:

 

Sports are electives that can be put on your child's transcripts.

 

History, news, and bibliographies of sports and sports figures are in abundance at your local libraries.

 

Find out about "Tebow Bills" and access to public school sports.

 

Adding in sports prepares children for college starting in the middle school years.

 

We can even capture sports through art.

 

Whatever decision is made about sports for our families, we need to decide to be the example in how we "run" this race that God has set before us. I need to get off the couch, get off Facebook, get off the computer, and get going in the direction God has for my family team today. I want to receive the prize of hearing my Father say, "Well done!" Don't you? Let's run together.

 

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control,lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

 

~Deborah

 dwuehler@theoldschoolhouse.com

 

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Raising Real Men    
 
Most kids can't resist the temptation to walk on top of a low wall. It's just challenging trying to keep your balance. We think about that whenever someone mentions sports.

We all love sports--watching them. Some of us are super-athletic; others are just not athletic at all. We give everyone a chance to play, though, because you just don't know until you try. If we hadn't done that, we'd have never known one of our boys was a really gifted athlete.   

 

Here's what we've done to keep sports in balance:

 

Wait until the right time. We waited until around 9 to 11 years old to start with most of our children, and we wish we'd done it with the rest. With younger children, it's often parent-driven and kids tend to burn out early--often before they really develop the skills to enjoy the sport. Instead, we encourage lots of informal active play. Read more about waiting here.  

 

Look for healthy environments. A child who's not mature enough to stand on his own in a hostile crowd probably isn't ready for your typical locker room. That's why we love Christian, church, and homeschool teams.

 

Keep family first. We tried out community league sports, but the boys were divided up into three leagues, playing on different fields at the same time. We not only didn't have meals together, we weren't anywhere together. It was too stressful for us, that's for sure. That's why we love the Homeschool Football League. All levels of play practice at the same time on adjacent fields. Games are usually held on Saturdays one after another. Families pitch tents and have an all day picnic with friends. So much fun! Learn more here.

 

Keep it doable. We just can't handle multiple sports and seasons in a year. Maybe your family can, or maybe you need to make some hard decisions. Thankfully, by the time one of ours becomes that gung-ho, he is usually driving or has big brothers that drive. That keeps the whole family from paying the price.

 

Do it. Encourage some kind of sports or activity. It's one of the few areas homeschoolers tend to lag behind in--physical fitness. We've really enjoyed most of the team sports we've played, but there are other things that might be easier for your family. Try tennis, cycling, racquetball, running, weight-lifting, and more until you find something that works. Two of our guys got motivated when their uncle bought them fitbits®. The competition in activity levels did it. Find something.  

 

The Payoff? Well, with all the testosterone we have in our house, football season is a relief! They come home all tired from tackling other people's kids! <grin>

 

Speaking of testosterone, the preteen years can be hard. Sometimes they climb on an emotional rollercoaster and invite you to join them there. Or, school starts taking forever. Here's hope - and help. Join us for Boot Camp 9-12: Getting Geared up for the Teen Years, our popular LIVE webinar series for parents of nine- to twelve-year-old boys. See you there!

 

Your friends,

Hal & Melanie

 
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The Familyman 
 
FYI: I am a red-blooded American male ... who doesn't care for sports. Growing up, I played them all; I just wasn't very competitive and couldn't wrap myself around the idea that people took it seriously. Seemed like a game to me, but to others, it was far more.

 

Maybe it's one of the reasons my kids don't do much with sports. Not that I'm against them or think less of others who like them, it's just that it doesn't seem all that important to me if my kids play them. Besides, they get plenty of playing on their own and every Tuesday night a group of my kids play pretty competitive volleyball with about 30 other young adults.

 

That said, I sure don't mind NOT having to cart kids to games and practices during the week or weekends. The two years that we played Upward Basketball about did me in, and it was only eight weeks long!!!

 

Some non-sports families feel the pressure from family members. They hear comments like: "You need to have your kids play sports. That's how they learn teamwork. It's fun ... great memories. You're going to ruin them if you don't let them ..."

 

My answer? Whatever. Just do what works best for your family and your children. If you like sports and want them to be involved--do it. And if you don't, don't. Not every kid has to be involved in everything. My kids get to travel all over the country, but that doesn't mean your kids should or are less than mine. You might have horses, but that doesn't mean I need to get them. Others grow gardens, play instruments, build boats, or breed whales, but that doesn't mean everyone should.

 

That said, go play some kickball, basketball, or nuke'em* as a family tonight. 

 

Be real,

Todd

 

*The game is like volleyball except instead of hitting the ball, you throw the ball to the other side. Whoever misses the ball is OUT (and moves off the court). BUT if someone on your team then catches the ball one-handed, they're back in.

 

The game is over when the last team member is out. The great thing about this game is that everyone can play.

 

I'm about ready to head out on my fall speaking loop. If you're in the neighborhood, stop in and say "hey."

 

In October I'll be in Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. Check my schedule to see if I'll be speaking near you.   
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