Saturday, January 5, 2013

Diving In {Home Schooled Varsity Swimmer #2: Joseph}

Joseph launches into the 4x100 relay at a dual meet at home.
Participating in varsity athletics with our local high school teams is a right of passage in our Catholic home school.  This year Joseph, a freshman, joined the swim and dive team which was captained by his older brother last year and state champions four years running swimming.  The coach, in his 30-something-th year of coaching at Sehome High School, is a fantastic leader and runs a tight ship.  From the very first varsity team meeting, Joseph noticed the difference in Coach Don's 'all for one/team' focus from the 'all for me' bent of the local club swim to which he's belonged for several years as part of our home school's daily PE requirement.
Tim and another volunteer stop the clock at the conclusion of Joseph's 500 free.
As big fans of our kids' public school sports teams, whether on the sidelines or in the stands, or in this case, as timers on deck, the natural flow of casual conversations with other parents sometimes shifts dramatically when the fact that our athlete attends school at home slips out.  Recently Tim found himself defending our decision to home school to his co-timer during a home swim meet.  The baffled mother, a long-time school district employee, expressed serious concerns for our son's well being as a home school student, sharing a few worst-case scenarios from her professional point of view.  She inquired with the usual (and usually well-meaning) line of questioning we face often as the primary educators of our kids:
"What about his socialization?"
"What about his hopes for college admissions?"
"How do you make sure he's keeping up with his grade?"
Flying into action
Answering these types of questions about home schooling in the past often involved a complicated series of answers, sometimes including statistics and some personal philosophical justifications.  This time, however, Tim simply answered, "We home schooled Joseph's older brother from first grade and he was admitted to Notre Dame with an academic scholarship." 

That simple statement pretty much summed up everything Tim had to say in that moment with regard to all the "what if's" being launched at him with friendly fire.  Point taken.
Joseph holds his own in the varsity races.
Ultimately, Zachary's academic success thus-far reflects his keen mind and his strong desire to further his education and to achieve certain goals for his intellectual, personal and spiritual growth.  Anyone who knows Zachary knows that he (like his dad) has been blessed with above average intelligence.  However, his academic path to the University of Notre Dame was paved right here at home, and we trust that Joseph's (and Peter's) preparation for higher education (and life in general) will also be best -custom made- in our humble little Catholic school at home.

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