A Homeschool Athlete

"I think I'd like to play football in pads," my oldest son declared.

"OK." We'd already researched this option. Knowing football was one of his interests, we had thought he may someday say something about playing it with a team. After all, he'd played flag football with Upward for years until he aged out of the system. Now, he volunteers each Saturday morning to help referee the games.

Unfortunately, in our area, the only way a homeschool student can play football in pads during the high school years was for him to enroll in a particular school for a few major classes (core classes).  Then, he would be eligible to try out for the team.

We laid out this option. {Truth be told, my husband and I weren't overly enthusiastic about it, but it was something we would consider if this was one of his life's passions he hoped to pursue.  We tried our best to present it in an unbiased tone.}

We waited for days not knowing what he would choose: continuing to take all his classes at home and with our co-op, or ask to alter his homeschool life and classes to play a sport.

In the end, our son chose to not pursue playing football in pads. Our lack of overt enthusiasm didn't sway his opinion one way or the other. Believe it, or not, he didn't want his academic pace to be altered and controlled by someone else. This he decided was more important to him than the possibility of playing football in pads for 1/3 of the school year.

Interestingly enough, in the end, he asked to run cross country during the fall. After exploring several options, we decided upon a program within a local private school. Through this program, he doesn't need to take any classes there. We did need to apply for the program and interview with the head master.

The choice is not without pros and cons. Being a homeschooler who is part of a school team is a unique situation.

The Pros:
  • He can practice, train, and run with a team
  • He learns team dynamics
  • It's a Christian environment
  • His coach is an experienced runner
  • He has meant some nice boys

The Con:
  • No matter how welcoming the team, he's still a bit of an outsider who is not really part of the school

This leads me to the odd thing I noticed:
He sticks out.

It isn't just because he doesn't go to the school. He sticks out because he doesn't conform to the group. He carries himself differently. He doesn't wait to be asked to help, he just helps when he sees a need. He doesn't concern himself with the approval of his peer group. In fact, he has limited concern about his peers' opinions. While he is quite sociable with the other team members, and they seem to genuinely like him, he doesn't depend on them for his identity, and it shows.

We've never intentionally set out to teach this, but he has become someone who is independent in thought, attitude, and actions. Which means, my son sticks out, and I couldn't be more pleased.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...