At our house, if it’s wintertime, it’s basketball time around these parts. A few years ago, a local homeschooling family shared their vision for developing a local homeschool sports league for our kids to enjoy. Both parents had experience with coaching, organizing athletic events, and homeschool sports, so they moved forward. Our area now has homeschool sports teams for girls and boys soccer, basketball, and track and field.
In the beginning, we started with just a few 4-6 grade teams, but in the years since we have grown to include middle school teams and high school teams
Currently, our leadership consists of 3 families who are all involved to varying degrees with our programs. We spent our first 6 years independent of any leagues, thus having more control over our schedule. However, because it can be difficult to get enough games onto the schedule we now are part of a league of Christian schools.
There have been many joys in this and not a few challenges. We’ve struggled at times to find parents who are willing and able to coach, we’ve struggled to find teams willing to fit us into their schedule; we’ve struggled to keep our fees low and still have the funds necessary to build the program; we’ve struggled to find available home gyms and fields for practice and games, and we’ve struggled to win. Fought to win. Endured, persevered, encouraged, and struggled.
But the rewards have been great. Our kids have learned how to play together on a team, how to keep a commitment by showing up on time, being there for every practice and every game, and how to win and lose with integrity. They’ve had excellent role models in coaches and other parent volunteers, and because many are coming from different area co-ops and groups, their circle of friends has grown as well.
All of our kids have played basketball with the Mighty Oaks for several years now, and it’s been such a joy to see them develop skills and abilities and the sheer love of the game. Our youngest is starting his third year in the soccer program as well, and loving it.
We don’t like to acknowledge any shortcomings of homeschooling, but let’s be completely honest. If there’s one thing that homeschooling can lack, it’s giving kids the opportunity to work as a team toward a common goal. So for us, and others like us, participating in homeschool sports fits the missing piece of the puzzle.
It’s been a wonderful season, and I am so thankful to all the coaches (Chad included) and our friends who are the driving force behind the program. I am so thankful for the joyful attitudes of all the players, win or lose. And I’m a little thankful that we are done driving to every corner of the tri-state area. Although I will miss those car rides full of middle and high school boys, excitedly discussing every play and call and bucket all the way home. But not the smell of sweaty middle and high school boys. I definitely will not miss the smell.
Do your homeschooled kids play sports? Do you have a homeschool league, or do you participate in your local school district’s program?