I haven’t posted much about my personal experience with homeschooling this year, for pretty simple reasons. First is the busy-ness. Next, when things are going well I feel as though I am bragging. When things are going poorly, well I just feel like a whiner. Either way, bringing up the issue often feels like I’m putting traditional Brick-and-Mortar peoples on the defensive.
Anyhow, as I often say in my really real life, no news is good news. Which means that the school year has gone well. Which means that sometimes I want to pull my hair out, often it’s a day-in day-out drill, and sometimes I feel the blessings of great miracles. Those great miracles are mostly everyday things to most people, but to me–miracles.
Three-year-apart brothers who act like best friends (most of the time). . . a second grader reading at third grade level . . . a fifth grader who takes charge of his own Latin studies (because I am no help) . . . children who are excited on group-class days . . . camaraderie with like-minded parents . . . and freedom.
The freedom is easy to describe. Anyone who has worked for a large “Dilbert” type corporation can be likened to the typical parent with school-aged children–a cog in the machine. Homeschooling is like running your own business. You don’t get to clock out, but the decisions are all your own. No zero-tolerance policies. No TPS reports.
Speaking of miracles, there is the Tampa Bay HEAT. All year I’ve been grateful for the various homeschool a la carte schools, fellowship groups, and co-ops. The HEAT, though, has stood out. The obvious reason is the opportunity for team athletics, but I didn’t truly understand the group’s impact until last night’s Sports Dinner.
After all, homeschooled kids get a chance for team athletics in Florida–the state from which the phrase “Tebow law” originated. All homeschoolers have to do is try out for their local public school’s team.
Let’s face facts, though. An impassioned superstar will benefit from a Tebow law. He gets to compete on a first-rate team, and his talent will likely guarantee the team’s acceptance of an outsider.
What about the average, or even the below-average athlete? As the mom of a decidedly untalented, albeit enthusiastic, athlete, I’m not too interested in a Tebow law. Older Son probably wouldn’t have made the team, whether homeschooled or not.
But Teresa Manganello had a vision. Her vision was of homeschooled children playing sports with other homeschooled children, thus incorporating a key component of healthy family life:
HEAT is three years old now, and recently acquired full membership of the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) for their high school level program. I’m betting their accreditation will soon include middle and elementary school levels. The HEAT keeps growing. I’m proud to say that my son was a member of their inaugural elementary boys basketball team.
The team boasted seven players–a team formed simply because there were enough warm bodies. Barely enough to give players a rest during games, of which of course they won exactly none, but what do we homeschool moms call that? Character building we chorused, smiling.
And my son, who the public schools are more likely to put on “the spectrum” than on an athletic team, was awarded Most Improved Player.
Guess who is ready to go for Most Valuable Player next year?