DIY Support Groups
If you have searched our support group database and haven't found one in your area, you might consider starting one for home education students located near you. Below you will find a great starting point on how to create your own homeschool support group.
DIY Homeschool Support Group
Beginning a homeschool sports program may not be as difficult as you think. Here are a few steps to start your own.
Choose the sport you want to sponsor. You’ll probably want to begin with just one sport and one or two teams. After this one is established, you can expand your programs and offer other sports. The most popular homeschool sports are basketball, volleyball, soccer, baseball, and softball. There are also programs with flag football, track, golf, tennis, bowling, and swimming.
1. Find a place to play. You can try church gyms, Christian schools, or community centers. You may have to schedule practices at odd times when gyms aren’t being heavily used, but interested players and parents are usually glad just to have a chance to play. You can probably use city parks during school hours for soccer, softball, baseball, etc....
2. Find your players and coaches. Survey your homeschool support group to see which parents have experience in playing or coaching sports, and recruit their help. If you have one or two parents with experience, they can lead meetings and train the other parents to help coach. Parents with less experience can coach the younger teams; those who have more knowledge of the game can coach the older teams. If you don't have anyone knowledgeable in the sport, ask some local coaches to mentor your parents. YouTube also has many good videos of different sports drills and practice skills. Coaching tips / drills, field positions, field sizes, team sizes, & parent volunteer job descriptions are available on many websites.
Put announcements on your group's website or social media pages, homeschool newsletters, church bulletins, etc. You’ll probably need a minimum of six players for basketball so you can at least play three on three. Volleyball and baseball probably need a few more players.
3. Minimize Expenses. Ask each family to help out by serving as Coaches, Assistant Coaches, Team Moms, etc... When parents sign their kids up, they also need to sign up themselves to help in some capacity. You may need to collect a registration fee from each player to cover any expenses, such as equipment, practice jerseys, gym rental, and awards. To keep fees as small as possible, you can just have your families get color-coded T-shirts to identify your teams during games, rather than expensive outfits. Save the money for safety items, such as shin guards or helmets. You might also have a "shoe swap" so families can pass on shoes that their kids have outgrown. Ask your families to look for equipment at garage sales or thrift stores.
When you practice, spend at least some of the time working on skills of the sport. Some students may have a lot of experience in the sport, but everyone needs to go over the basics. Websites can be a great help, such as http://www.syskos.com/coach.htm
4. Form Teams; after kids sign up, organize them into age groups, & see how many teams you will be able to form. Decide if you will have co-ed teams. At the first practices, assess kids' abilities, and form balanced teams, as much as possible. Choose team colors, and help kids choose their team names.
5. Devotions & Memory Verses; these can be included in your sports program if desired; many good resources for students are on the internet. When kids are taking their water breaks, it is a good time to go over devotions and verses; team moms can take this responsibility, while the coaches are getting ready for the next part of the practices. When you give awards at the end of the season, you can reward the kids who learned their memory verses.
6. Support Your Volunteers. Have policies in place to handle disrespectful kids, injuries, bad weather; plan for potential problem situations. Be flexible to others' ideas, and customize your program to fit your group.
7. Protect Your Group. Have each family sign a waiver that protects you and your group from being sued as a result of injuries during practices / games.
8. Consider Interscholastic play. At some point you may want to jump up to interscholastic play. Go watch other games of other homeschool teams or local Christian schools to see if you can be competitive with them. (Use our database to find other homeschool teams!) Then schedule a game. You might lose badly in your first few games, but don’t get discouraged. Both you and your players will be learning and maybe sometime you can help educate some other new teams!
Form a new homeschool team? It will take some time and some effort, but you can do it! So what are you waiting for? Get in the game!