Springing into Success

Homeschooling provides many opportunities for students and families to pursue passions of interest. Sometimes however, there are obstacles that we need to overcome. Michelle and Tressa (Mom) share their story about pursuing gymnastics in the school system and how they were able to compete despite choosing home education.

Questions for Michelle:

1. How many years have you been training?

I have been training off and on since I was 3 years old, for a total of about 12 years.

2. What parts of being a high level gymnast do you like best?

I really enjoy the opportunity to compete with other girls at my level and I also like seeing my teammates every week. I have also had really great coaches over the years.

3. What event do you enjoy the most and why?

I have always loved the bars, even when I was very young and could only really hang on [to] them. I like them because they almost feel like flying and they require mostly upper body strength which I have.

4. What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome?

One of the biggest challenges as a homeschooler was to figure out how I could compete in High School Gymnastics when I am not registered with a school in my district. Thankfully HCOS is registered with BC School Sport, so I was able to complete and represent my school.

5. What encouraging advice would you like to share with other student athletes?

I would encourage other student athletes to continue with their sport, despite the challenges they may face as homeschoolers. It took us 2 years to find a way for me to compete (just because we didn’t know the proper channels and neither did the gym). If you really want it and are persistent you can make it happen. 🙂

Questions for Tressa:

1. How do you feel home learning has helped Michelle in her pursuits?

Home learning has really helped Michelle to develop a strong work ethic. She has learnt to make the most of her training time and work hard to achieve her goals. It has also allowed her to spend her days quietly doing her work, rather than exhausting her being at school. This allows her to have maximum focus while she is at gymnastics.

2. What attracted you to home learning?

As a teacher, I saw firsthand the struggles in our education system and while I am all for inclusion, teachers were being left with no support to try to figure out how to meet each student’s unique needs. With these observations, I felt I would be able to offer my 4 kids a more personal education.

3. If you had one piece of advice for home learning families, with or without athletes, what would it be?

I love homeschooling and if I were given a chance to do it again I would. However, that is not to say it isn’t without its challenges, the tears and frustration from both them and me or that they just don’t want to learn Math…ever. That said, the bonds with my children are way stronger than they would be had I put them in a brick and mortar school. We have learnt to work through the difficulties, learnt to compromise and they (I have 4 children) are as thick as thieves. I would recommend that you find a support group. For me it was CHEAR (Christian Home Educators Association of Richmond), we met weekly and they reminded me that I wasn’t alone and others were having the same struggles.

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