Sport activities play an important part in your child’s homeschool education. The reason? In order to participate in sports, certain things are required – all of them are within reach, and all of them contribute to the development of a healthier student:
Playing any sport requires focused attention. You can’t hit the ball if you’re not watching it. You’ll never return a volley if you’re gazing off in the distance. Remind your students to listen carefully while instructors or coaches are explaining the game, the rules and their expectations for team players.
Paying attention also means observing your teammates and anticipating their moves. Focused attention requires discipline, and discipline means self-control. If your student learns these important lessons while having fun, you’ve accomplished great things by participating in sports activities.
Can your child walk, run, squat, jump, and reach? If so, participating in sports activities won’t be a problem. While some children have a more natural athletic bent, others are still able to be involved, learn the sport and enjoy the action.
Even physically-challenged people play a variety of sports. Ever seen a wheelchair-basketball team? It’s a pretty amazing site that stirs admiration for every player. If your students are healthy and able to be active, help them discover a sport that suits their particular style. If they can move at all, they have the ability to participate.
The media is full of articles and interviews concerning the national trend toward obesity – in adults and children alike. Getting involved in sports activities is one way to avoid health problems. Being active burns extra calories, but it also does even more than that.
Aerobic activities promote good circulation, build and maintain muscle tissues, feed the entire body a dose of fresh oxygen and even serve to increase mental health. How’s that for several laps around the field or pool? Make it a point to practice and play as a family on the weekends. This not only builds stronger bodies, it also builds stronger relationships.
To have ambition means to be eager and determined to accomplish something. If your students get excited about sports, that’s a good thing. Being anxious to get to the field means your child is willing to participate in a body-building activity. You want to encourage that. Avoid tamping down that spirit of ambition by saying, “Remember, it doesn’t matter whether you win or not.”
That’s true, to some extent, but you’d be embarrassed if your daughter failed to put forth the effort needed to help her teammates. Having ambition means your children are anxious to give it their best shot – to go all out to excel in a chosen activity. We want that in math, in science and writing – we should also want it in sports.
Perhaps one of the most important requirements of an athlete is a good attitude. There are far too many talented pro-players that are arrogant and obnoxious. The best role models are people of integrity, humility and good sportsmanship. In other words, an all-around “team player.”
Attitude also counts when it comes to parents and siblings. Don’t pick apart a player’s performance on the way home. Don’t yell or boo at the opposing team, and don’t criticize the coach, even if you don’t agree with his tactics. The example we set, whether good or bad, has a profound impact on our children.
Sports activities and home schooling can – and do – go together. Whether your children are playing soccer with the neighbor kids, enrolled in a community sports program or interacting with a home school co-op group, allow them – yes, even encourage them – to participate in a sport they find interesting.
Remember the five A’s required for all sports activities: attention, ability, ambition, action and attitude. These not only help develop your child as an athlete, they also develop his character. And that’s exactly what being a good sport is really all about.