Friday, September 18, 2009

Taking Out the Trash is NOT a Triathlon Event

I really don’t want to jinx myself by writing anything too positive, but this has been one of the best months of homeschooling we’ve had in six years of home education. One of the reasons is the success of the homeschooling running club that I started with Twisted Sister. Knowing Twisted the way I do, I don’t quite understand why she is a “Twisted Sister.” I’ve never heard her singing We’re Not Gonna Take It, although I have seen her running through her back yard early in the morning chasing her chickens while dressed like Dee Snider. Knowing Twisted the way I do, I understand why she runs the Eat, Fart, and Bark. She homeschools three boys. Need I say more?

While driving to her house for a play date last July, it occurred to me that we needed to start a running club to provide a quality physical education component to our homeschool as well as give the kids time to interact with other homeschoolers. I should mention here and now that the play date was for the children. When I mentioned my idea to Twisted, she told me that she had wanted to do something like this for years but could not find anyone to help her. Within three days we had the “club” formed, with a schedule of practices, 5K races, liability release forms, and a website.  Twisted doesn’t waste time when she wants to get something completed.

It isn’t a club, really. There is nothing exclusive about it except that it is designed for homeschoolers. Since we meet three mornings each week for 90 minutes of exercise, it’s difficult for our public and private school brethren to attend. We stretch, run for 45-50 minutes, and then play running games. The running is limited to those kids between the ages of 12 and 18. The running games involve all the kids, so we have children between the ages of 5 and 18 running pell-mell through the park during British Bulldog, clothespin tag, etc. Non-running parents watch the younger non-running children on the playground while the running parents watch the backs of the runners as they disappear over the horizon. Twisted was a competitive athlete and is a degreed P.E. type person, so like brick-and-mortar school gym classes we have a knowledgeable trainer. Unlike brick-and-mortar school gym classes, we never have children attend class unprepared to run because they forgot to dress for gym class. No one leaves their running shoes at home.

The other reason why we are experiencing success at the beginning of the school year is because of my two main charges, the General and the Major. The General is exceedingly pleasant due in part to the slower work pace that we started with this year and his gratitude at being home again. I don’t know how long that gratitude will last, but I will enjoy the resulting peace and cooperation. The Major is a pure pleasure to teach. He is happy, eager, smart, and funny. Once we get past the obligatory “Can I play video games? Can I watch TV? I think I need to check on the chickens. Did I just hear someone at the front door? Can we do this tomorrow? My brain is full. I don’t have room for more knowledge. I don’t want to do school work!” Gatling gun gripe session, he’s a delight. And since he recently lost a front tooth, the gap in his smile combined with all those freckles makes him just a cute little guy.

My kids love the running club. Major Havoc and Captain Chaos enjoy 90 minutes of play, three days each week. They are with children their own age. Some of the play is structured. Most of it is not. General Mayhem’s initial reluctance to run was replaced by eagerness after the club started. His endurance is building, although I do believe that he is correct in his assertions that he is built for short distance running and not longer races. Now I must convince him that walking the garbage cans to the curb once a week is not a triathlon event!

7 comments:

Kellie said...

Thanks for solving the mystery....I didn't know Twisted and Eat, Fart and Bark were one in the same!

And it was just last year that A got her pointe shoes....but she's had just the regular ballet shoes for the past nine years. You have to get a new pair of pointe every year...or sooner...anyway.

Eat, Fart and Bark said...

THanks Arby for the nice comments. And no you don't get out of the suicide runs or hills just because you were driving to Chicago AGAIN. No buttering up the coach.
This has been a great month of homeschooling for the boys as well to include the Commander.

The_Kid said...

Arby, your blog is a pleasure to read. Normalcy in a sea of nonsense. I don't know if that's by design but regardless you've done a great job of it.

Kathleen said...

So glad to hear your year is going so well! I think you're on to something...running those kids in the morning so they aren't so wiggly all day! Hmmm...

CrossView said...

Ok, I have serious envy here. Could you all move this way? We ARE the homeschoolers in our area. We need a coach and some gym mates. Aside from my envy, I am glad for you all. SOunds great!

Michelle said...

How's about moving to WA and starting a running club here? There's some serious mountains you could tackle!!

SOunds like a great year!! I wish we had some activities like that with our little group!

Blessings,
michelle

Linda said...

Oh, how you inspire me. To write I mean... you don't think I'm actually going to start running, do you? ha!
no, seriously, maybe I could start my family on a WALKING club.. yeah, that's it. start slow.....