Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The choices we make for our children: sports...

When your child goes to school and you live in one place, he usually does sports at school and can pick one or two things outside of school, like music or more sports, like ski for instance. When you travel and homeschool/unschool, the possibilities are endless and sometimes you have to stop and think about how every decison you make has an impact on your children's future (or not...). 

For instance, if we choose to keep traveling in warmer climates, it is unlikely our girls will get very proficient at skiing at a younger age... but they might become pretty good surfers! If we are not in one place for a full season, they cannot try a team sport, like soccer for instance (they haven't asked so far...). Not that any of this is a big deal, but we have decided to give this some thought...

If we'd live in the Yukon, the girls could be part of a great orienteering team (a sport JF adores and that the girls like too!).

We also noticed that it is easier to have active children in a setting that is constantly changing because we are always in exploration mode. It is more tempting (even for us!) to go hike a new trail, try a new bike ride, etc. than go for a walk behind our house at home (even if we have beautiful trails right in our back yard: it's the same trail every day). However, we also noticed that it is motivating to get moving when friends are there!
A concept that is really fun that seems to be growing in the States are the Fitness trails. It's pretty much a short hike with exercise stations along the way. In Skidaway Island State Park, GA, there was one designed for families. You had to do ten pushups as if you were a turtle with a big shell on your back!
Then hop on one foot like one of the local birds, run like a deer in the forest and touch 10 trees and run back and touch 10 more.
Jump like a frog, of course!
And jumping jack like bats (there were more...)!
Sherbrooke has a great rock climbing gym where we could go, but rock climbing and mountain biking are sports we can easily do on the road.
So, what am I saying here? I am saying that of course our girls are the ones who decide what activities they want to pursue. Our job as unschooling parents is to give them as many opportunities as possible to try different things and see what they like. And this is easier said than done when you are mostly nomadic.

Should we choose to stay put and not travel in case they ask to play soccer? Well, no. I don't think so. But we are putting a lot of thought into our next moves because we realize that our girls are growing and that the decisions we make today are influencing who they are becoming more and more. And sports are just one aspect of it, of course.


Francesca said...

in this country, sports aren't overall as important as they are to North Americans. when I grew up, a bicycle and a pair of skates to ride around the block with neighbors were our "sports". nowadays, cities aren't as safe, parents are busier, and sports and activities in general as time filling occupations for kids are sprouting.
in our case, we're a sport family only because my boys chose their sport, and are going passionately and intensively after it. most of our friends think us as weird, and "can't you just give them a ball and tell them to kick it in the garden?" is their thinking when they see how their sport activities are keeping us busy. but it's not the sport per se, it's the passion and the dedication they show that make us happy to do what we do for their tennis.

Catherine said...

This is very interesting, Francesca! I think that when children pursue a sport with genuine passion that has not been instilled by the desire of the parents to see him succeed in it, we really have to encourage them as best as we can. And yes, it takes a lot of work and compromise and dedication on the parents part, but it is so wondeful for the children.

What I see more and more however here in America, are children that are in sports because it is another area where you have to perform and excel... Those kids are stretch thin and most of them are not passionnante about it.