Today was the first day of our spring session of homeschool P.E. My friend, Arby, (some of you know him) and I decided to reach out to the homeschoolers in the area with something our kids enjoy and something we do quite well together - play kid's games and coach. Last fall was tennis and flag football, this spring is kickball, handball (like kickball but smaller, softer ball hit with the fist, t-ball and softball. We might even throw in some good ole' dodge ball.
We had an amazing turnout of kids and parents. Numbers had to be close to thirty in all. The age range of players went from 4 - 16. The kids ran around the four baseball fields at the park when asked to, they lined up against the fence and picked teams, learned names, took turns at positions, and the only complaining I heard was when me, myself and I interferred with a play so that one of the little kids couldn't be thrown out. I stepped in the way of a throw while being infield coach. The throwee didn't like the interception and only said so once. So what, the little one got to first base, a big smile stretched from ear to ear. Taking an upclose hit from a soccer ball was worth it. They rotated into field twice in the hour time limit. Everyone kicked, ran the bases, and learned the basics of the game. Wednesday, we will split the group into younger and older groups so the bigger kids can throw their friends out by hitting them with the ball.
You want to see socialization amongst kids? Go find a homeschool group to watch. The older kids help the younger kids run to the bases, there wasn't any yelling for dropping a ball, or flubbing a throw. No one was picked on for getting an out. Older kids would hand the ball off to younger ones so they had a chance to throw it. This is what homeschooling is all about, kids of different ages and adults all learning how to cooperate together and have fun. I don't remember ever seeing this kind of cooperation on a school playground when the age range was only 1 to 2 years difference. Yes, I've been a teacher; kindergarten through high school and division 3 college.