I want to talk a little more about my decision to fundraise for the Tampa Bay HEAT.
My decision is based on something bigger than the gratitude I feel for this organization. I am fundraising for the HEAT’s dream of a full service school building because I see a tremendous need for it.
As I have encountered various homeschool groups in the last two years, I have noticed a pattern. Each group tends to have a particular focus: academics, informal fellowship, or sports. Of course, these goals overlap, but most groups give priority to one category over the others.
Without question, the hardest need to satisfy when homeschooling is participation in team sports. “Tebow” laws are great but not a complete answer to the question of how we provide team sports to the homeschooling community at large.
Groups like the HEAT provide these needed team sports. They have popped up all over the country. Here are just a few examples: Richmond VA, Knoxville TN, Lakeshore WI, Albuquerque NM, and West Michigan.
I don’t know how every group finds space for practice and home games. I don’t know which ones have an easy time finding the space, and which ones have a hard time of it.
Except the HEAT. I know they have a hard time. A huge chunk of their efforts and money goes to finding and renting practice space, and then finding and scheduling games against local private schools. Their need for a gymnasium and sports field is as obvious a wart on a prom queen’s nose.
I’ve also seen how an effort like the HEAT draws so many other incidental programs: academic classes, special interest clubs, field trips and social gatherings.
I couldn’t help but imagine how easy and wonderful it would be if they could do all these things under one roof. A homeschool building.
When I mentioned this to the HEAT’s founder, Teresa Manganello . . . well. It turns out I was preaching to the choir.
It also turns out that at least one homeschool community has already turned this vision into reality: The Homeschool Building. The facility in Wyoming, Michigan, is a great example of how a thriving homeschool community can come together under one roof. Their school facility provides for the needs of the homeschooling community without assuming responsibility for the academic curricula.
A homeschool basketball association near Wyoming, Michigan, explains the importance of a physical school facility:
“As home schoolers, we are truly blessed to live in one of the best places in the world to educate our children as we see fit. One huge factor in that assessment is our access to the Home School Building. Through the years, the HSB [Home School Building] has hosted tutoring classes, soccer practices, volleyball games marching band, orchestras and, of course, basketball games and practices. It is difficult to imagine how different the WMHSAA basketball league would be without the HSB for meetings, practices and games.”
Did you catch that? Folks have a hard time imagining how their homeschool sports league could have blossomed without the support of a homeschool-run school building.
It’s funny; we homeschoolers escaped brick-and-mortar schools in the best interests of our children. Now, it turns out that brick-and-mortar buildings may be the best bet for homeschooling’s future.
P.S. Please consider donating a purely symbolic amount to the Tampa Bay HEAT building fund, here: http://www.youcaring.com/nonprofits/tampa-bay-heat-mustard-seed-dream-fund/64690 So far my pledge to match up to $500 total of donations from my readers has elicited only one small donation. Help me out here, guys, could you? Just put in the comments that you donated as a No One Of Any Import reader, and I’ll match it up to a $500 total.
UPDATE 1: SDH is such a doll; he donated $500 just to make sure I had to donate my $500. Wait a minute. Maybe he’s not such a doll after all . . . /wink/
UPDATE 2: THANK YOU Professor Glenn Reynolds for the Instalanche! I’m all done matching funds but really. Folks like Bob, SDH, Wraith, and Herb Cumbie have no idea how much they have encouraged a group of folks who really need it.
UPDATE 3: I’ve been over at the Mustard Dream Fund, seeing how generous Instapundit readers are. I am humbled and honored, and also a little bit worried. You see, on 28 June my long-time reader SDH donated the entire $500 I had vowed to match. I matched this sum on 01 July.
As of 10:59pm Eastern time today, 13 July, there are now $185.00 in additional donations that have mentioned my blog & promise to match. Because I left the info on the prior matched $500 buried in the comments section, I am worried that I have misled some very kind folks. Therefore, I am going to match this additional $185.00.
All done matching now, though. It’s tempting to keep on going. But I’ll get myself into trouble.
Once again, thank you all so much. Every donation, no matter the amount, feels like a fortune. I’m starting to understand the word “blessing” more than I ever have.