Friday, May 29, 2015

Homeschool Highlight - Summer Baseball Our Way

   Last week we started up yet again what has become a Summer tradition for us. This is our 6th year of organizing baseball get-togethers for the homeschool community in this area.

 It all started the year that Aaron was 5 and Jonathan 7 and they were interested in baseball. So Ken thought we should sign them up to play. That was what most people did - wasn't it?  So we signed them up. The schedule ended up being so that I needed to take them 4 mornings a week for 6 or so weeks. It took a large chunk of my morning (as I was not inclined to just drop them off - I had seen one poor boy get dropped off and then it started raining hard and they cancelled and he didn't know what to do - that was not going to happen to my boys.) and it was cold pretty much the whole time - we do live in Northern MN after all and it was fairly early mornings in June and July. Also it was gardening time - this was taking valuable gardening time. The other thing - it was during the day so Ken was at work. He did take off time some to take Jonathan to some games but mostly it was me going out with all the kids.

   I know that all sounds pretty complaining of me - and it is. I could have totally made it work if I felt it was really important, but I didn't. So I decided there must be a better way - at least a better way for my family - obviously the normal method works for many people. So I thought about it and thought why not have a once a week (more manageable for us) baseball time that would be done in the evening so those dads that are really interested can come. We could invite others from our homeschool community and the parents could be the coaches/pitchers. We would have it all summer so there would still be a lot of opportunities for playing but it wouldn't be so overwhelming.
A picture of kids in the dug-out a few years back.
We tried it and it worked! We reserved a field at our local high school (that is free) and invited others to come every Thursday evening unless it is raining (though we have been known to play in a little rain).  Kids from 5 and up (originally we stopped at 13 and teenagers could play in another field if desired but now we allow the older kids too but do often split it up according to age) can play. We divide into teams each time and don't require that people come every week - but many do for the most part. We get together a little before 6:30 and allow the kids some batting practice and then usually get a game or so going around 6:45 pm. We usually play until after 8 pm. At that point we have a snack time - everybody brings something to share.

  We have once in a while had a very small crowd and the kids really get to bat a lot, but generally we have good sized gatherings and have enough kids to split into two different age groups on two different fields. The most we have had was around 60 kids. This year so far we are running between 30 and 40 kids playing (and lots of little ones running around outside) - as the summer goes on it will probably get bigger. For the smaller kids we use a soft baseball so that nobody gets hurt (at least not to badly).

  Besides the fun that the kids have playing baseball it has also been a very fun way to build friendships in our homeschool community. Many people (probably especially the moms) seem to like that aspect of it most. It has been a big blessing in our life and others have told us it has been for them as well. I am so grateful that we were able to figure out something that would work for us.

  That is one of the things that homeschooling can help you to realize - just because it seems like everybody is doing something doesn't mean it is right for you too. It is important to truly consider what is best for your family. Don't be afraid to step outside the norm and do what works best for you - you might find that others will really appreciate your leadership in that way.


Nola said...

I love that you did this, its a great idea. I can't imagine having a homeschooling community that is that big though! Wow! Homeschooling is not as popular where we live. We have a few other families that want to do things regularly and there are a few others that homeschool but keep to themselves. I have never understood the running around to different activities thing either. People don't seem to understand why we don't have our children in activities. We prefer to do things as a family like biking and snowshoeing and hiking and we prefer to find other people that want to join us if we can (that is hard to find as everyone is doing organized activities) or at least meet up with others at the park when they have time. I wish we lived in your area, you seem to really have some great opportunities.

Abbi said...

We are very blessed to live in an area where homeschooling is common and there are a lot of us. In our town (of 13,000) our homeschool co-op has around 40 kids, another one has 80 and there are other small ones plus many families that are not involved in any co-op. As far as opportunities we have had to step out and create the opportunities for getting together in various instances. Not everybody is willing to take the initiative but they appreciate it when you do.

I so much prefer activities that the whole family can be a part of or at least the mom and all the kids while Dad is at work (depending on what it is). I don't care for doing much in the way of splitting up.

We would be glad to have you live around here! :-)

Nola said...

Wow, that is a lot. Our city has 40,000 people and there are about 20 homeschool families but only 8 of us are really part of the group. But that is better than nothing. Even here people are not very willing to take the initiative and plan things, so I plan the vast majority of the things that our group does and people are happy to come out. We usually get 2-5 other families out per event.


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