For Parents Featured Homeschool

GYMNASTICS
Parents... Coaches... Judges... Gymnasts...
DON'T LURK... Join The Discussion!

Members See FEWER Ads!
Join for FREE!

Madden3

Proud Parent
Aug 24, 2013
843
50
My eldest son homeschooled from 5-8 grade. My younger son homeschooled from 2-6 grade. My sons were both competitive gymnasts when they were homeschooled. So while gymnastics was not why we started, I did immediately find that a major benefit was that the boys were no longer being rushed all over the place all day, we no longer had to stress about them getting enough sleep, and missing school for meets or travel was no longer any problem.

I do not in any way regret homeschooling. I loved homeschooling my boys. I wish my daughter would agree to be homeschooled but she likes going to school too much. Academically homeschooling was perfect for my sons. They excelled academically on a fraction of the study time spent in a typical school day, and so they had far more time not only for gymnastics but for other activities and interests and just down time.

Both of my sons eventually decided they wanted to attend “regular” school and that is why we stopped homeschooling in each case. Both moved seamlessly back to school both academically and socially.

As others have noted, be aware that while homeschooling can make life easier for the child, it is a lot of work for the parent. It is a lot of work in a myriad of ways.

Opportunities for socialization/friendships reduce as the kids get older, so being part of homeschool groups and/or Scouts or clubs of some kind is usually a good idea. But arranging this and doing the volunteering required? More work for the parent.

Finally, I would say, the choice to homeschool is like making any other school choice. The worst that can happen is it may not work out and your kid goes back to “school school.” Homeschooling might work well for one child and not the other, for certain grades and not others. In my experience it is best to approach homeschooling with a sense of adventure and ability to be flexible.
 
  • Like
Reactions: GymAir

JBS

ChalkBucket Founder
Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2005
7,634
Wisconsin
Great stuff here... would love to hear from more of you that do or have homeschooled your kids.
 
  • Like
Reactions: txgymfan

JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
459
Something that hasn't come up, and is a potentially sensitive topic, is the dichotomy between religious and nonreligious homeschooling.

A lot of people have talked about the importance of homeschooling groups and things like that. The VAST majority of the groups local to us are either centered around religion (in reality, just Christianity) or hyper naturalist (some might unfavorably call it "earth mama" or more typically "unschooling") beliefs.

Both groups have been friendly and accommodating to my daughter, but when you're the one kid in the group who's not going to Jesus camp, or whatever, it definitely makes you the odd person out. Combine that with all the things that come from doing nearly 20 hours of serious gym a week (incredible physical fitness, drive, poise, focus, often being busy, etc.) and it makes a kid stand out in a lot of these groups.

I'd say navigating that dynamic is probably the hardest, and largely unspoken, part of homeschooling for us. These gym kids are gym kids, and that makes them pretty unlike most kids.
 

JBS

ChalkBucket Founder
Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2005
7,634
Wisconsin
Knowing nothing about it... this "unschooling" concept seems very interesting to me. What are some of the major websites that explain this? Is there a club or group that you join to "unschool"... or do you just do your own thing?

For example... We are still remodeling our house... my kids have helped greatly. They learned and did something real... helped remodel our house. Would this be classified as "unschooling"?

Also... what if they don't like math... would they just be allowed to not learn that until a point in time when it was needed for something that they were interested in?

I guess what I'm saying is... I don't understand "unschooling"?
 
  • Like
Reactions: txgymfan

JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
459
Knowing nothing about it... this "unschooling" concept seems very interesting to me. What are some of the major websites that explain this? Is there a club or group that you join to "unschool"... or do you just do your own thing?

For example... We are still remodeling our house... my kids have helped greatly. They learned and did something real... helped remodel our house. Would this be classified as "unschooling"?

Also... what if they don't like math... would they just be allowed to not learn that until a point in time when it was needed for something that they were interested in?

I guess what I'm saying is... I don't understand "unschooling"?
We actually primarily do unschooling. As you have outlined, the point is to turn everyday activities into learning opportunities — this isn’t dissimilar to how I learned a lot of math via physics. There’s something that you’re trying to accomplish and you learn the math necessary to do so within the context of whatever you’re trying to do.

That works for my daughter because she’s smart, a self motivated learner, and likes to read. She’s learned a ton by reading all kinds of different STEM, history, and government Manga type comic books. She has also learned an incredible about of probability and economics from watching TedEd videos.

Besides unschooling, my wife also does a lot of game school. Most of my daughter’s spelling has come from various spelling type games. She’s really into bananagrams right now.

The issue, at least for me, is that MANY families that unschool also “unparent”, which is exactly as awful as it sounds. You end up with kids who never get held to any kind of standard, act like violent monsters all the time, AND don’t ever learn anything. Frankly, some of what these parents do should be classified as child abuse or neglect because those kids have a huge hole to dig out of in order to do anything inside society.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CoachPow and GymAir

Madden3

Proud Parent
Aug 24, 2013
843
50
Something that hasn't come up, and is a potentially sensitive topic, is the dichotomy between religious and nonreligious homeschooling.

A lot of people have talked about the importance of homeschooling groups and things like that. The VAST majority of the groups local to us are either centered around religion (in reality, just Christianity) or hyper naturalist (some might unfavorably call it "earth mama" or more typically "unschooling") beliefs.

Both groups have been friendly and accommodating to my daughter, but when you're the one kid in the group who's not going to Jesus camp, or whatever, it definitely makes you the odd person out. Combine that with all the things that come from doing nearly 20 hours of serious gym a week (incredible physical fitness, drive, poise, focus, often being busy, etc.) and it makes a kid stand out in a lot of these groups.

I'd say navigating that dynamic is probably the hardest, and largely unspoken, part of homeschooling for us. These gym kids are gym kids, and that makes them pretty unlike most kids.
Yes, while we did not have this specific problem, finding friend groups was way more of a concern than I thought it would be, particularly as the kids got older. I was going to write more about the issue of "socialization" but my post was too long already. It can be very hard to find a homeschool group that meets everyone's needs- and it is important to find a place everyone can be comfortable because the homeschooling parent also benefits from having homeschooling friends. On the other hand, the issue of not being able to socialize like the other kids is one gymnasts who are in regular school also have due to thier scedules. I found getting my kids (and me) homeschooling friends took lots of compromise and understanding that nothing is perfect, and sometimes you have to just start your own group. But it still may not be enough.
 

Madden3

Proud Parent
Aug 24, 2013
843
50
Knowing nothing about it... this "unschooling" concept seems very interesting to me. What are some of the major websites that explain this? Is there a club or group that you join to "unschool"... or do you just do your own thing?

For example... We are still remodeling our house... my kids have helped greatly. They learned and did something real... helped remodel our house. Would this be classified as "unschooling"?

Also... what if they don't like math... would they just be allowed to not learn that until a point in time when it was needed for something that they were interested in?

I guess what I'm saying is... I don't understand "unschooling"?
Your kids helping to remodel the house and learning during that process could be considered unschooling, although this would also be known as project based learning (and many people consider "unschooling" as learning via projects.) Also, presumably some math was involved (measuring, budgeting) so during the project, the kids would also learn math, but maybe this would be more like figuring out how to apply real world math to the problem as opposed to rote learning. But if you ask 20 different unschoolers what unschooling is you will probably get 20 different answers. I think it's easier to understand what unschooling is not- using a curriculum (or some other kind of set materials-for example, classical education uses source material rather textbooks) and the parent (or an online program) taking the kids through it step by step- more or less, like what typically happens in traditional school- that is probably not unschooling. In my experience, while there are some purists, most homeschoolers use an eclectic approach, with a mix of curriculum, projects, games, etc. which makes sense as this is the beauty of homeschooling: being able to figure out what works best for your particular kid and then doing that. Sorry I have been out of the homeschooling world too long to know what websites on unschooling are most helpful.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JBS

gymgal

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,688
there are many thoughts on how best to unschool but the underlying premise is that it is child led based on their interests. We had a few friends unschool many years ago and it seemed so easy but the parents said that in some ways it was a lot more work because you needed to capitalize on the time that they were interested in a topic and find ways to incorporate various topics of learning. For kids who keep an interest for weeks, this is fairly easy but some children switch interests so frequently that it is tough to keep up with them. By the time you gathered several resources for them to explore, they were on to the next topic. Of course, with the ease of the internet now, this is a bit less of an issue.

I was intrigued by unschooling when mine were younger and could see it working for the young years but I never really understood how to implement it for older children, with the intention of them attending college. I know it can be done. I just couldn't wrap my head around it at the time.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Catz and JBS

gymgal

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,688
Something that hasn't come up, and is a potentially sensitive topic, is the dichotomy between religious and nonreligious homeschooling.

A lot of people have talked about the importance of homeschooling groups and things like that. The VAST majority of the groups local to us are either centered around religion (in reality, just Christianity) or hyper naturalist (some might unfavorably call it "earth mama" or more typically "unschooling") beliefs.

Both groups have been friendly and accommodating to my daughter, but when you're the one kid in the group who's not going to Jesus camp, or whatever, it definitely makes you the odd person out. Combine that with all the things that come from doing nearly 20 hours of serious gym a week (incredible physical fitness, drive, poise, focus, often being busy, etc.) and it makes a kid stand out in a lot of these groups.

I'd say navigating that dynamic is probably the hardest, and largely unspoken, part of homeschooling for us. These gym kids are gym kids, and that makes them pretty unlike most kids.
Agreed. We came across this as well - and because we both worked and all three had their own sports, we had very limited "free" time for groups, outings, field trips etc. Of course, in hindsight, we should have let up on the time spent on lessons in favor of developing more homeschooling relationships and enjoying more fieldtrips/outings.
 

Lucia

Proud Parent
Fan
Jun 6, 2019
121
Interesting thread! We’ve homeschooled from the beginning (so not for gymnastics) but since we moved gyms an hour away, it definitely gives us margins in our time. Funny though, out of the three of my kids, I think my gymnast would thrive the most in public school…she is driven and likes to stay busy. On the other hand, I like to that we can balance that part of her personality a bit with homeschooling, for example, less focus on grades and testing. Of course I am continually evaluating her efforts, but since she’s young we discuss her work, I don’t hand her a grade. So I think the freedom to structure a wholistic learning environment is a healthy antidote to her natural perfectionism. She has said she wants more friends, but honestly I feel like she has a lot of friends and social circles outside or gym. I think she means regular and sustained opportunities for deep friendship…gym can conflict with seeing her closest local friends regularly, and we travel for gym so little opportunity for play dates with gym friends. Our small town does have a sweet homeschool community, and it’s a healthy mix or various approaches and beliefs, as well as traditionally-schooled kids who join in at times.

Both my husband and I work but alternate schedules (I work 2 days and some weekends and he works 3 days).

For me one of the biggest benefits has been tailoring our learning to the rhythm our life in a way that feels natural and sustainable. The biggest (but most beautiful) challenge has probably been inhabiting the role of both mom and teacher, and the normal chaos and sibling fights that come up when spending do much time together.

The bigger challenge for us now is how to balance our sons’ needs with the demand/hours of daughter’s gym schedule. We have both chosen to work less hours…this works for homeschooling but not much extra to pay someone to stay with boys or get them to their activities when I’m taking daughter to gym and husband is working. I agree that there is a loss of income with homeschooling, and gymnastics is time consuming and expensive!

No regrets, and I hope I’m open to other options should it become a better fit at some point. We really do love homeschooling though.
 

gymisforeveryone

Coach
Judge
Nov 16, 2012
902
This is an interesting thread! The whole consept of homeschooling is quite foreign to me, because I live in an European country where homeschooling is extremely marginal and only happens if a child has some very special needs or illnesses, or maybe sometimes when a child is severely bullied at school and there are no other schools available in the area. But I have never known a single person who has been homeschooled or who homeschools their children.

Our school days are so short that doing serious gymnastics is very possible for everyone. The point where it gets a bit tricky is 7th grade (start of middle school), where school hours go up a little bit. At that point school week is 29 hours long, so a lot longer days than in elementary school (5th and 6th grade are only 25 hours / week and lower grades even less, 20-24 hours a week).

When the school days get longer, scheduling practices becomes harder. Some gymnasts have longer commutes and if they have to take a bus to get to the gym after school they will find it difficult to have time to eat a meal before practice, because that is not possible on the bus. We have a microwave in the gym so they can heat up their meals in the gym, but this requires the school to have a fridgerator that they can use during the day. Fortunately most of the schools have that available.

School days usually end between 2pm and 3pm at latest but sometimes they have later start time and classes until 3.30pm or even 4pm because the schools may not have enought resources to have all of the students there at the same time all day. However, our gymnastics practices usually start at 3.30pm. Right now, everyone can get to practice on time. Younger kids could practice earlier because they get out of school at 2pm at the latest, but usually our training groups are diverce age wise so that is not usually possible.

Sometimes I feel like it would be great to be able to partially home school in the middle school if you are a serious athlete. You could take like half of the classes in person and complete the other half independently. This would give more time to rest and recover. Almost like it was during covid, when they did online school at home and also independet work. Athletes could have a program where they could watch a recorded biology class at home whenever they wanted. They would go to school to study math, chemistry, physics, languages, PE, music and arts but could take history, social studies, biology, geography and religion classes at home.

In high school you can choose to complete the 3 year program in 3.5 or 4 years if you are a serious athlete, which gives you much more downtime. Most of the athletes choose this option. They can also get credit for their club practices and drop some mandatory classes. It's an awesome program!
 
  • Like
Reactions: jennyj

gymgal

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,688
Our school days are so short that doing serious gymnastics is very possible for everyone. The point where it gets a bit tricky is 7th grade (start of middle school), where school hours go up a little bit. At that point school week is 29 hours long, so a lot longer days than in elementary school (5th and 6th grade are only 25 hours / week and lower grades even less, 20-24 hours a week).
Would love this! but most working families here would find it difficult to schedule around this. How do families where you are manage essentially half day schooling for the younger children? Do the schools offer before/after care?
 

jennyj

Proud Parent
May 20, 2017
32
Would love this! but most working families here would find it difficult to schedule around this. How do families where you are manage essentially half day schooling for the younger children? Do the schools offer before/after care?
I am guessing this is a northern european country and in there young kids usually just walk home from school by themselves or take a bus alone straight to the gym.
 

gymisforeveryone

Coach
Judge
Nov 16, 2012
902
Would love this! but most working families here would find it difficult to schedule around this. How do families where you are manage essentially half day schooling for the younger children? Do the schools offer before/after care?
First graders (7 year olds) are usually offered before and after school care, but not all families need this. If one parent is at home with a younger sibling or works shorter hours for example the kids just walk home after school. Some walk to grandparents house if they are already retired. Second graders or older usually just walk home after school and spend the afternoon at home alone, but some second graders also attend the after school care. After second grade after school care is not offered if the child doesn't have special needs.
 

Aussie_coach

Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Parent
Gymnast
Club Owner / Manager
Jan 4, 2008
4,022
First graders (7 year olds) are usually offered before and after school care, but not all families need this. If one parent is at home with a younger sibling or works shorter hours for example the kids just walk home after school. Some walk to grandparents house if they are already retired. Second graders or older usually just walk home after school and spend the afternoon at home alone, but some second graders also attend the after school care. After second grade after school care is not offered if the child doesn't have special needs.
Wow! Such a different culture. In Australia you can be arrested for leaving your 7 year old home alone.

Kids go to before and after school care until high school, they don’t walk to school or bus to school by themselves until high schools. Parents drive them or walk with them.
 

gymisforeveryone

Coach
Judge
Nov 16, 2012
902
Wow! Such a different culture. In Australia you can be arrested for leaving your 7 year old home alone.

Kids go to before and after school care until high school, they don’t walk to school or bus to school by themselves until high schools. Parents drive them or walk with them.
It sounds very different indeed! When does the high school start in Australia? Ours starts the year when you turn 16. I would find it very weird if 14 or 15 year old would need after school care! I think middle schoolers are so mature here in general. In here, some kids move out to live independently when they start high school (or trade school) if there are no schools nearby.

I forgot to mention that parents of 1st and 2nd graders are all allowed to work shorter hours, usually 6 hours a day. They are paid a monthly compensation by national social security agency to be able to afford that. Not all parents take advantage of this though, if they think that their kid can manage the hours before and after school alone.

All 3rd garders (9 year olds) spend the mornings and afternoons at home alone if their parents work (or with siblings). Parents usually call their kids in the morning to make sure that they have woken up and then again when it's time to leave the house to walk or bike to school. After school kids usually call or text their parents when they get home. They have a key in their backbag. Parents may leave after school snacks prepared in the fridge. The kids play and do homework when they wait their parents to get home. Usually this makes 3-4 hours alone time total, so not unbearable. Some kids leave to sports or music practice before their parents get home. For example in my group there is a carpool going on and in the group of 10 gymnasts there are 2 different carpool groups, one has 5 kids in it and the other has 4. One kid rides a bike to practice. So usually the parents who work more flexible hours or get out early take the kids to practice and the other parents pick them up. It works wonders.
 
Feb 16, 2022
10
44
I grew up in a country similar in style to what gymisforeveryone describes, and I am perpetually shocked by the stress around scholl pick-up and childcare that my friends where I live now experience. Different cultures...
 

Aussie_coach

Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Parent
Gymnast
Club Owner / Manager
Jan 4, 2008
4,022
It sounds very different indeed! When does the high school start in Australia? Ours starts the year when you turn 16. I would find it very weird if 14 or 15 year old would need after school care! I think middle schoolers are so mature here in general. In here, some kids move out to live independently when they start high school (or trade school) if there are no schools nearby.

I forgot to mention that parents of 1st and 2nd graders are all allowed to work shorter hours, usually 6 hours a day. They are paid a monthly compensation by national social security agency to be able to afford that. Not all parents take advantage of this though, if they think that their kid can manage the hours before and after school alone.

All 3rd garders (9 year olds) spend the mornings and afternoons at home alone if their parents work (or with siblings). Parents usually call their kids in the morning to make sure that they have woken up and then again when it's time to leave the house to walk or bike to school. After school kids usually call or text their parents when they get home. They have a key in their backbag. Parents may leave after school snacks prepared in the fridge. The kids play and do homework when they wait their parents to get home. Usually this makes 3-4 hours alone time total, so not unbearable. Some kids leave to sports or music practice before their parents get home. For example in my group there is a carpool going on and in the group of 10 gymnasts there are 2 different carpool groups, one has 5 kids in it and the other has 4. One kid rides a bike to practice. So usually the parents who work more flexible hours or get out early take the kids to practice and the other parents pick them up. It works wonders.
High School starts in Grade 7, so they start between 11 1/2- 12 1/2. So before and after school care is expected until age 11-12.

I just can’t imagine kids having the sort of independence you describe. It’s hard to wrap my head around!
 

Pineapple_Lump

Coach
Judge
Jan 31, 2008
1,187
Then you have Japan....


I loved the 'Old enough' series on netflix. Interesting what many very young children can do when guided and encouraged (with secret supervision).
 

Jenny

Coach
Proud Parent
Sep 17, 2012
3,441
High School starts in Grade 7, so they start between 11 1/2- 12 1/2. So before and after school care is expected until age 11-12.

I just can’t imagine kids having the sort of independence you describe. It’s hard to wrap my head around!
I work in a school in England and we have lots of kids walk home alone from Year 5 aged 10. After school care is available but the older kids often go just home expecially if they have older siblings who will be home from High school by then as they tend to finish a little earlier. We are in an urban area so the kids can walk everywhere. I am all for independence in children.
 
  • Like
Reactions: txgymfan