I have a question. We are a "sheltering family". My husband, dd8, ds4 and I spend most all of our time together. We just LOVE being together as a family. We have homeschooled since the beginning and love it. THat being said, we have had to change alot of things we did outside of our home. For example, we don't spend a whole lot of time with my in laws because of the influences in their home. This is the case with alot of our family members. We also family worship. We don't segregate our children at church. Just a little background... Now, my question is do you allow your children to participate in organized sports in you area? My son is about to turn 5 and has begun tee ball. His dad and him are HUGE sports fans and my husband played baseball through college. So, naturally he wants our son to play. Right now it is just cute and fun but I know eventually he will be exposed to alot of negative influences. My husband and I have talked alot about it and he is confident that things will be fine. He plans to actually be my son's coach throughout. We actually have a competitive homeschool baseball league but not until high school. I am just worried. My daughter is in dance but she takes day classes with other homeschoolers. The friends she has made over 2 years are wonderful, encouraging, uplifting girls. Also, she is a leader and has no problem turning away from innappropriateness. My son is definitely a follower. While I know he is young still, his coach and my husband are very impressed with his natural abililty. And his coach actually plans moving up to 5/6 year olds next spring and wants my son to move up with him. This of course, excites my husband that he may follow in his footsteps. I'm just a natural worrier. Long story but....do you allow your kids to participate in organized sports? Please share your experience.
Organized Sports?(13 posts) (10 voices)
Our kids are not naturally "into" sports, although all three of them are athletic. My 2 oldest are in karate, which is not like your average baseball/t-ball/soccer sport..it's very individualized. My oldest has been in for about 4-5 years and plans to persue it to the fullest. He has never been interested in "organized" sports until now and he is 12.5. He participated in Upwards Basketball recently and loved it and wished he'd have part. sooner (they only go to 6th grade in our area), but after all our encouragement to try organized sports he was still not feeling it:)
My 8yo is into horseback riding/karate and both are individualized...he claims he wants to do soccer, but hasn't committed to it, yet. My 5yo is very athletic but will not commit to a sport either, makes me crazy. My boys are running/jumping/climbing everywhere but have shied away from organized sports, which we would gladly let them participate in, but to no avail. They do go to a local gymnastics center 1 x a week, ride their bikes, swim, etc., but still just prefer karate and the other activities they have enjoyed. My oldest is now seeing where he's kind of missed out on learning about sports in general because of his shyness and is wanting to stretch himself in this area. Of course we would be there every step and encourage the same attitude he has now and guide him to good companions, etc., but would love to see him/them enjoy sports just for the fun of it. My oldest son's real passion is karate and I'm proud of the acheivements he's made so far. He is a responsible, helpful student in class and is praised for it from his Sensei.
Anyway, don't know if that answered you question, but if not, yes, we would let our kids be involved in organized sports if they wanted to be. I'd like it to be where they just even tried it out for one season to see how they liked it, have a new experience, even if it wasn't something they wanted to do for the long haul. But, that could be just me wanting to relive the childhood I didn't have, too:) HTH
There is a discussion we had about 6 months ago. Here is the link http://simplycharlottemason.com/scmforum/topic/competitive-team-sports
We have chosen against organized sports. It has been an interesting road for us. We did start out with our oldest three in sports for a time, but found that it came to the point where we felt the negatives were outweighing the positives.
As you mentioned, negative influences are huge. And we cannot "shelter" forever, but we did not feel it was right to immerse either. Of course this varies from community to community.
Another thing we thought about - who do we want our children's mentors/adult influences to be? It was difficult for us to find any in the sports community that were worthy.
We are a large family also, so our dynamic is a bit different. It would be very difficult for us to participate in organized, age segregated sports without running in different directions constantly. This was simply not an option.
Lastly, and I think most importantly, the sports world is just not where we (our family) are destined to do the Lord's work. We love to visit the seniors in the surrounding areas, help out at the church, be involved in serving the downtrodden where we can. There just wasn't enough time for us to do both.
The funny thing is that my husband and I both grew up heavily involved in sports. He was a league hockey player, and I had major opportunities in the equestrian world that God would simply not let me pursue.
Although the majority of our homeschooling friends are like-minded, we also know several godly families that have chosen to include organized sports as a part of their lifestyle, and it works fine for them.
My prayers are with you as you discern God's path for your family!
I am similur to Gaeleen, we do not do orgainized sports. We did start out with them when my 1st 2 were 5 & 6yrs. But we have 7 children now and if they each just played 1 sport that's a lot of running. Also, family dinner is a BIG thing for us. Also, our thoughts were what if one doesn't want to play, then you are dragging him/her around to all the siblings things. That didn't seem far. What about cost, this obviously an issue with 7 children.
We have just decided at this point if we can't do it together we don't. Mind you we have enough people to form a team! LOL Good luck it's a tough one. We have many who don't agree and think we're nuts. But it's what works for your family. MIsty
This is a topic often discussed in our home. We have 4 kids-dd18, ds14, dd12, ds9. Our family is very similar to how you described your family about "sheltering". When the kids were little, we did AYSO soccer. When our oldest son was 9, he wanted to play Pony League baseball. My husband had no interest because he was forced to play all the way through high school from his dad. But, my husband decided to let him play and fortunately, that first year he was coached by 2 homeschool dads who we went to church with. We soon found out our son was gifted with being a very good pitcher and began quickly in playing in the "A" leaques and was chosen every year to play in the all-stars after regular season was over. My husband decided that he needed to be there so our son wasn't going to be influenced by the other kids. So, he coached him for a couple years and then realized it was getiing above his skill level to coach. That's where we had the decision to make. My son doesn't care what other kids think and is very secure and strong in his faith. He wrote Philipians 4:8 on the inside of his ball cap and kids asked him all the time what it meant. He even would ask adult coaches to stop using swear words in front of him (politely of course). This spring came, and I had him read a page about sports in the Maxwell's book "Keeping Our Children's Hearts" and asked him what he thought he should do about baseball. He made the decision not to play because of the bad things he was hearing and being exposed to. We wern't going to let him play anyways, but it was a great feeling to let him make that decision and hear him tell us that it wasn't "worth it" to him. Thank you God!
It is hard because I miss seeing him play, but my son is right, it isn't worth it when they are surrounded by ungodly influences.
Sorry this is so long, but I feel for you and pray that the Lord leads you to do the right thing for your family that is honoring and pleasing to Him.
We did not participate in organised sport, but one daughter swims and the other is doing dressage and equestrian studies but neither of those things have brought us into any conflicts with others and differing views. The daughter who swims does it purely for fitness, and the one who is into equestrian pursuits, does not compete at this stage, she is not well enough - and that is not her final aim - she wishes to do equine science and then train in Europe in classical dressage which she hopes one day to teach. I have seen some pretty poor behavior from both children and parents at the local soccer fields in our area and I would not want to be a part of that. Just my thoughts, but if in doubt - leave it out. Linda
It would depend on several things. When are the games? Right now any organzied sports in our area have games played during church time. That is an automatic no. We won't sacrifice our day with God to go and play sports. Also, what is the atmosphere of the team/games? I played on a Christian basketball team in highschool. I had a lot of fun. It wasn't something that was ever made the central part of life, but we did learn teamwork, having good sportsmanship, being a good looser, being a caring winner (caring to the other team, especially), and how to play to have fun wether we won or lost. Under those conditions, it could be a great experience, but if they were surrounded by bad language, playing to win no matter what, anger, etc. then we definately would not.
Hope that helped some. With your husband helping coach him, I think he could have a lot of influence on the atmosphere. Also, with parent involvement, that is helped also.
Hi Brittany -
My husband and I were both home educated, Pre-K through 12, and are now happily home educating our own children. I'm the second oldest of 9 kids, my husband is second oldest of 8. While this is the first I've heard the term "sheltering family", I believe both our families would have probably fit into that category. So, from the perspective of a couple young parents who grew up similarly to how you are raising your children...
My family was (and my younger siblings continue to be) involved in a smattering of different sports of the years. We lived in a big city with a big homeschool community, so there were a variety of homeschool sports opportunities available to us that not everyone has. We didn't get to do everything we wanted, but we were all athletically inclined and we all appreciated the outlets we did have. I guess you might say I'm from a family of leaders, as I can't think of any of my younger siblings that was easily swayed by whatever negative peer influences these opportunities created. Or perhaps it's just that a few hours here and there are not enough to undo the rest of everything else your parents are teaching you at home.
My husband was never allowed to do organized sports growing up. Music was what was important to his Mom, so that was the extra-carricular activity they did (like it or not). You can't use sports in church, or to serve God in any way his Mom could think of, so it simply didn't have enough value to even consider. He seriously regrets never getting to play football. He never had dreams of playing pro or anything, it just would have been a really great outlet, and it's an opportunity he will never have again. He has a younger brother that finally convinced his parents to let him play baseball a few years ago, and my husband's parents now kinda regret they didn't let him do it sooner. He's got some talent, but it's tough to go very far in baseball when you don't start playing until you're a few years from college.
Wouldn't it have been tragic if Eric Liddel had decided that he couldn't serve God by running, so it was a waste of time. No, there aren't a ton of great role model's in pro sports these days, probably never were in any day. But if God gives you a skill and/or a passion for something, He probably has a reason for it. I grew up with a guy who was called to the mission field, but he had some serious athetic ability. He ended up competing internationally and placed 3rd in the World Cup Kayak Championships. Through his involvement in racing he had a lot of amazing opportunities to share his faith that no missions trip could have created. He and his wife also had a passion for coffee, and now a coffee shop is the open window allowing them the visas they need to finally get on the mission field.
Not to dis motherly-intuition or anything, since I myself am a Mom and I know it can be super valuable, but...trust your husband on this one. Dad's often seem to have a more balanced understanding of what level of "worldy exposure" is healthy, and perhaps even necessary. This could be a beautiful opportunity to strengthen their father-son bond, while pulling out for fear of what might possibly happen could leave your son frustrated and resentful for life.
And, having grown up in a big family, I know all to well how shutteling kids all over and sitting through countless games is a time investment that has to be carefully considered, no question. But don't forget, home education is flexible. I did quite a lot of school work sitting on the sidelines at my siblings games.
Just in case you're wondering, our oldest is 4, loves baseball, and we fully intend to pursue team sports with him(and all our kids), to the best of our ability. Our personal experiences and observation of others has left us convinced that the benefits outweigh the risks, at least for our family. :)
God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a strong mind.
I appreciate how well you explained your upbringing and what you plan to do with your own children. I have to admit, without apology, that I agree with what you said, Motherly Intuition, Fatherly balance of things (especially with boys) and all. I believe that we all have to do what is right for our own families, as no one can live out our lives for us, but I also believe in a balanced perspective.
Blessings to all.
Britney, you are asking really good questions! And in my opinion, this is the most important step in making right decisions for your family, about sports, music, school choices, or whatever! We live in a culture where team sports and extra curricular activities are expected, are excessive, and start very young. As intentional Christian parents, we have to stop and ask, "just because this is culturally normal, does it serve to facilitate God's purpose for our family?"
And, the answer could be yes or no. There are a lot of variables. Certainly, in many cases team sports can be unhelpful in raising up Godly children. Or, simply impractical or a misuse of valuable time.
In our family of 4 kids so far, my oldest plays soccer and baseball. His dad loves these games, and coaches and administrates our leagues. It has become a "ministry" for him as he has contact with lots of kids and parents through sports. God has given him respect and favor in this role, and it's a great testimony he has, as a Godly man, father, and coach with integrity. Are there bad influences? You betcha. But he is there alongside our son, teaching him through it, and doing his best to represent Christ to so many lost families.
My eldest son also has a very competitive personality. I believe that team sports, for him, is very formative. It is his battle to fight. It could also become an idol, so again we are always trying to keep sport in their proper place, and check heart attitudes.
For our younger 3, we have not begun organized sports. We may or may not. It will remain to be seen if playing sports is beneficial and formative for them, as it is their brother. Just because one play, it is not automatic that the others will. Again, we have to ask these same questions for each child.
Wow, God has really spoken to me through some of your posts...especially yours brandyellen. Thank you for taking time to share your experience and take on this. I agree that I need to let my husband lead. This is so hard for me as I admit that I have in the past treated him as though I know how to raise our kids even better than him. Why I do that I don't know? Maybe it's a control thing. God is definitely working on me in that area. Thanks for the encouragement and especially for the reminder about God not giving us a spirit of fear. I have let fear have the upper hand some lately, even in other areas. I have got to step back and trust God! Thanks again ladies!
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