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Monday, February 27, 2012

Evolutions In Homeschooling

Sometimes giving thanks awakens us to blessings we can take for granted…
and homeschooling can be one of them...
  I have now homeschooled for some 24 years...
and over all these years there has been so much growth and opportunities afforded.

This evolution has taken us from choosing from a few curriculums…
 to now almost being overwhelmed with all the choices…
but one of the biggest changes I have seen is in the area of sports.

When my older sons played, the programs were just getting to a good competitive level…
but we were thankful to have a place for our boys play. 
Because for us…it wasn’t just about playing but learning …
learning all we believe sports can teach. 
Yes, sports can teach a lot of negative things…
but with the right perspective… sports can be beneficial in the maturing process.

My 26 year old son (he helps coach his brother’s homeschool team) says what sports should be better than I could….
It’s long but I promise it is worth taking the time to read…
especially those with young children.

             …”Many Christian sports organizations often say they want to be more than just the sport they play, they want it to be about developing boys to men, about spiritually equipping young men, and about building character. While I think this sentiment is sometimes overplayed with people in leadership (tending to spout off 'coach talk' and not really investing in their words), I whole-heartedly agree with this philosophy. I believe there are so many parallels when it comes to basketball and our walk with Christ but here is one in particular I've come to appreciate.

            Parallel: As we build our relationship with Christ and walk in His love for us, He draws us out of our self-centered, egocentric focus here on earth and calls us to something much greater than ourselves, to accomplish so much more than anything we could be capable of on our own.

            In a similar way, the game of basketball draws individual players out of their egocentric focus and calls them to something much greater than themselves= the team. When players commit to a cause that is not just for personal edification and success, but rather, invests in the team and the cause greater than his own, this is when a team truly succeeds. No longer is the focus on personal success, it is on the achievements of the team as a whole....right where it should be. A team can accomplish something so much great than anything an individual could if left to himself.

            Another statement that I hear often is that "sports builds character". While many people believe in this idea, I want to take it one step further (with inspiration from the great John Wooden).  I believe 'sports reveals character', and 'Christ builds/changes character'. The reason sports reveals character is because of the intense pressure it can place on a young man during a time when he cannot always control his environment. At these moments, a player will always revert back to his character or foundational principles. If a young man has not allowed God to lay his foundation, the reactions shown on a court usually will be one of self-centeredness or human nature. Now that's not to say someone who has a weak moment on the court does not have a foundation centered on Christ. I have had my own fair share of moments. But when those times arise, it 'reveals' something within my heart that God does not yet have control over in my life. Reflect and ask God what is rooted in me that caused me to act or react in such a way. Is it insecurities? Pride? Anger? Need for control? When we ask these questions about our 'revealed character' to the Father, he will show us the areas in our hearts that we have yet to yield unto Him. And He is faithful to 'build character' in us when that conviction has come. Therefore, Christ 'builds character' when young men allow God to mold them into His image during times off the court, and sports 'reveals that character' or foundation that has been laid.”

Sports can help prepare for marriage…jobs…following Christ…

God is faithful to give wisdom to help your kids work through the ups and downs that comes when playing sports…

sports can give very practical ways to work out life lessons...
not quitting when it’s hard or not longer fun...i.e. losing…(marriage)
when someone else gets the starting job…still contributing to the team…(the work place)
teaches perseverance….respect for authority…( Christian walk)...
the life lessons are endless…

Sports in the homeschooling arena have come a long way…
this week was our regional basketball tournament…
in a couple of weeks we will be going to the national basketball tournament….
thousands of homeschooled kids getting an opportunity to play basketball…
 the opportunity to allow this thing called sports help grow them up in Christ.

Teaches us not yell even when no foul is called:)

Celebrating winning the championship:) 
Ellie sending out a cheer for her aunt and uncle:)

~a husband who actively listens to my heart
~just being together
~watching woman who press into Jesus through difficult marriages
~great deals couponing
~just sitting in God’s presence
~learning to trust His still, small  voice
~God’s kindness
~God’s perfect timing
~job offers for son getting ready to graduate PT school
~mystery letters in the mail
~fellowship in the stands with sweet woman
~free coffee
~spring weather in February
~the newlyweds spending the afternoon with us.
~scattergories…oh my brain doesn’t work so fast anymore…
~new contacts…now I can see small print
~clean sheets
~back feeling better
~seeing the Holy Spirit do His work.
Join me as I link-up with Ann Jen and Shanda.


  1. Oh, indeed, I agree, participating in sports has helped my children learn many lessons which will carry over into other areas of life. {ouch - really, no foul called?!}
    Many beautiful blessings you have shared this week...I, too am grateful for spring weather in February - we even cooked on the grill :-)

  2. Dorie...i have learned...it usually equals out...missed calls on both side...grilling out...might have to follow your lead:) enjoy the sweet weather~

  3. 24 years..oh I pray I can look back on homeschool in the same way. Thanks for sharing the quote from your son. We have great challenges in the sports area with our oldest who is an extreme perfectionist. Enjoyed reading your list. Blessings to you!

  4. Christina...oh my one son has a tendency toward perfectionism too...we have had lots of talks...lots of prayers...but I am seeing good fruit...letting go of control...games are a good challenge to those who want to have a controlled environment...keep pressing...it well worth it...blessings to you...

  5. thank you for your thanksgiving (:

    i love to see how He works in the lives of our children. what a wonderful word of encouragement. i'm going to read it to my children {:

    -t- from over at Ann's

  6. What a strong crew you have there
    only a little time and little ellie will be shooting hoops with the rest of them!

  7. two t's in a row:) t. it blesses me to hear you want to share with your kids...thanks for stopping by...blessings~

    T...maybe...she will be shooting in a tutu I am sure....blessings~

  8. Great list, thanks for sharing! :)

    I was homeschooled, and played some sports, but with the nearest high school teams since we lived in a very rural area and didn't have the opportunity for home school or Christian teams. That sounds pretty awesome though! Very thoughtful words from your son.

  9. it is amazing how much this has opened up...we play homeschools...christian schools and public schools during the year and at the end teams from all over the come for a week of basketball...thanks for stopping by...blessings

  10. You've been homeschooling a long time. I'm about to graduate my baby this May. It's going to be strange to not be homeschooling come this fall!

  11. Wow, you've been at it a long time! I homeschooled for 14 years and our boys played in all the sports. It was a great time:) And I remember many lessons being taught through them.
    I so enjoyed the spring weather today, spending almost all day outside. Loved it! :)

  12. Debbie...thanks for stopping by...

    Lisa...yes a looong time...my first three are out..married or in grad. school..than we have our last 2...one graduating this year...than 2 more years...I pray for endurance until the end...blessings~

    Kristin...if they played on the homeschool team...our paths could have crossed...great day to be outside...enjoy!

  13. I admire you for homeschooling.

  14. These are great analogies and points on sports and faith. Points I had not thought of before and am grateful to consider. Thank you.

  15. Denise...oh only by God's Grace and help could I do it...it is a blessing though at times very challenging.

    Theresa...thank you..I feel like there is so much more to be said...maybe another post...blessings~

  16. We've got an outstanding football coach in our community who says he is more interested in building men, than players.

    And he lives out this words. Just the other day, I walked by his office when I was headed in to the school-house for parent-teacher conferences. I could hear Christian music playing behind the closed door. (And we're in a public school...)

  17. Jennifer...what a blessing...i have seen the good and the bad...homeschool...christian school public school...some men woman who get the true purpose of sports and those who bring nothing to help young people mature into maturity...so glad you have one of those treasured men in your kids life...blessings~

  18. An interesting post. I've not been homeschooled, nor did I homeschool anyone but I've seen some largely good results from it.

    I really like this quote of yours "As we build our relationship with Christ and walk in His love for us, He draws us out of our self-centered, egocentric focus here on earth and calls us to something much greater than ourselves, to accomplish so much more than anything we could be capable of on our own."

    I have seen too much self-centeredness in people who identify as Christian so I think this quote is very accurate but only when Christians allow God to change their hearts and if they make some time for introspection.

    Blessings. xx

  19. I've been amazed at how we can incorporate scriptures into our sports. When my daughter started playing softball and ran into a hard time, we learned Phil 4:!3 together. To this day, she still pulls it out of her heart when she needs strength and encouragement.

  20. joyful...I think we miss everyday occasions that God wants to use to transform our hearts...sports...mothering....cleaning...etc...thanks for stopping by...blessings~

    Jen...just what I was talking about...sports can help us later in life...sweet...blessings to you Jen...

  21. Mystery letters in the mail sounds very interesting! Glad to hear your back is feeling better. A bad back can really bring a person down! Great photos! :)

  22. Jennifer...so thankful my back is doing better...sooo thankful...and the letters...yes...don't know who they are from...they are encouraging and full of scripture...a cause just to ponder:)...thanks for stopping by...

  23. a wonderful post... a coach living for Christ can guide a team into amazing character growth that stays a lifetime.
    I had three such coaches for Volleyball right up to the Canadian National team... my heart swells to think of the life lessons we learned and the friendships we forged...

  24. Yes team can be such a wonderful experience...so glad you have good memories...blessings to you....

  25. I love this post... I am homeschooling mama of four.

    We are blessed to be part of a wonderful private school covering with the opportunity for sports. However, we had to make a decision to NOT have our girls play volleyball under one particular coach for many reasons.

    They chose cross country, and their coaches coached with heart to mentor and bring God glory... so different than the vb coach. Although they love volleyball, we had to set a standard. Playing sports is so much more than just playing the game... for us who are raising the next generation of Christ lovers and world changers...

    Thank you for your wisdom I glean here... blessings to you.

  26. my girl has mentioned before that she would like to do basketball, and as you know, we are homeschooling--this year we have not been able to do the smallest activity, due to lack of vehicle and funds. but im hoping that the following year will be very different. she has lost interest in basketball, but this makes me want to encourage her to do it--she has the legs for it, it think--she is amazingly fast--she almost outruns me! thanks so much for writing this! love to you, dear friend!

  27. Nacole...I know there is a homeschool basketball program in St. louis Mo. Here we have track...cross country...you girl might like doing that as well... The national tournament is in Springfield MO...not too far from you...heading there in a couple of weeks:)