I had played tennis once before meeting my husband, who was an avid player, but I really liked the game. Once I had my first child, I took lessons through our adult continuing education program and loved it. I quit when I was six months pregnant with my second child and didn’t take lessons again until my youngest baby was two.
When I got into tennis, I didn’t realize what a blessing it was going to be. There are six reasons I think tennis is a perfect homeschool family hobby that I highly commend to you.
#1 It accommodates all ages
We have been able to involve our kids in the sport from the time they could walk. The youngest kids love to be the ball boy or girl and chase them all over the court.
My husband and I take turns hitting the ball with the older and younger kids and then play doubles with them. We now have enough players that we have to rotate them in.
Even though my son is a college student now, he still loves to play with the family.
When I first started playing in a league, many of the women I was playing with (and who were beating me!) were in their mid-80’s. Tennis is a hobby and sport that we and our children can play our whole lives, God willing.
#2 It’s inexpensive
My husband’s and my personal lessons were very inexpensive through the community college. While indoor court time can be pricey, we play for free outside any time weather permits. We live in Missouri where the weather often allows us to play at least a couple of times even in the dead of winter.
We have also been able to save money in the sport by:
- taking advantage of low-priced lessons through our community center
- enrolling the kids in group lessons (both homeschool classes and general)
- taking advantage of free court time for practice during the day given to families of kids in group lessons
- splitting private lessons as a family outdoors
- asking skilled friends to give lessons
- buying tennis racquet models from previous years
With respect to equipment, you can also save money by buying used racquets from a club or a friend.
#3 It’s portable
Tennis is a hobby you can play almost anywhere. We have played together on most of our vacations. We just bring our racquets and some balls and we’re all set. It helps to break up the time spent at the lake or the beach. Our friends from Spain play and we enjoyed the sport when we vacationed together last year.
Tennis has also been something we’ve traveled to enjoy together. We took in a professional tournament last summer and it was a blast.
#4 It’s fun exercise
Tennis is a great way to get aerobic exercise without even realizing it. You’ll especially notice the workout if you play singles or just hit the ball back and forth rapidly. But anything is better for the family than sitting.
#5 It’s competitive
Most of my kids love to compete and tennis gives them the opportunity. Last summer my four older boys were on two teams together. The practices were at the same time, so my oldest son was able to drive them. He also drove our next oldest son to their matches, leaving us with just one match we had to drive to.
Not every sport is easily accessible to homeschoolers, but for us, tennis has been. My kids haven’t entered junior tournaments as individuals, but the option is open to homeschoolers through junior USTA.
#6 It’s a way to connect with extended family
We have had so much fun playing with my husband’s family on family trips and whenever my husband’s sister comes into town.
The kids’ cousins who aren’t tennis players will also join in the fun. Doubles accommodates the most ability levels. We have a lot of great tennis memories.
Does your homeschool family play tennis? Let’s talk about it on Homeschool Sanity on Facebook.
I hope you’ll consider the wonderful family hobby of tennis! But if it’s not for you, check out the other iHomeschool Network bloggers’ family hobbies.
Psychologists say that it takes 21 days to establish a habit. I’m a psychologist and I say that’s bunk. If I hadn’t committed to this publicly, hadn’t had such fabulous weather, and hadn’t been enjoying myself, I would quit right now. But it’s been a great week. We’ve moved our tennis lesson outside each week which makes one day a no-brainer.
While the kids keep trying to guilt me into playing outdoor games every day, I am figuring out how to do other things outside. I’m measuring my kids for health insurance forms here.
Even though I started off thinking that I would be in every picture, I am not going to be legalistic about that. I played giant bubbles with Elaina again. You can get this set at Wal-mart and kids of every age love it.
Another benefit of being outside is that I get to play with my other kid more often. Daisy seems just as excited about outside time as the kids. Although, I have to be honest, and say that the kids aren’t always excited. They LOVE video games. However, I have been pleasantly surprised by seeing the kids get outside more on their own–even when they have friends over.
Swinging with the kids brings back fond childhood memories, but it also threatens to bring up my last meal. My husband and I have both noticed motion problems with age.
I missed several days of outside time this week due to attending a debate tournament with my oldest, but the last day of the week was the best. We loaded up the bikes and went for a family ride at the park. At 6:00 p.m., the 90F temps had cooled and it was ideal riding weather. I hope we do a lot more biking together this year. I have no idea why my daughter looks so put upon in this photo. She seemed plenty perky the rest of the time.
Linking up to Loving our Children Tuesdays. Enjoy!
Do you go for family bike rides? If not, could you, should you, would you? 🙂
I'm on a USTA tennis league and have been for the past 2.5 years. There are many aspects of playing that I enjoy, but the one that has been a particular blessing lately is the opportunity to work on my thinking.
You wouldn't think that I would be nervous on the tennis court, being a speaker who's comfortable with any size crowd. But when I first started the league, my anxiety was crippling. The second I thought about losing the point or double faulting, that's exactly what happened.
I've been reading a variety of books on the mental game of tennis, but this one really convinced me that no matter how far behind I am, I can still win. The author gives many examples of pros who just gave up and lost matches that were theirs for the taking and other examples of players who seemed to come back and win against impossible odds. The key to winning? Believing that you can.
A couple of weeks ago, my partner and I handily won the first set of a match, then fell apart in the second, and finally lost the tie break. Yesterday, we seemed to be repeating that disappointing pattern. We won the first set without much trouble, then soon found ourselves down 5-2! If you know anything about tennis, you know that the other team just needed one more game to win the set.
I could see the discouragement and frustration in my partner and I could feel it developing in me. Then I told her, "We're going to pull a David Freese and win this set." She smiled. When either of us made an error from that point forward, I made a point of saying, "That's okay. We can still win." Many times we were in a David Freese, World Series kind of way by being one point away from losing the set (though not the match). I felt the pressure, but refused to give in. Neither did my partner. We came back to win the set and match 7-5.
The truth of Allen Fox's words became very clear to me on the tennis court, but they've become clear to me in life, too. Maybe you're against impossible odds like:
- You're getting older and you still haven't met "the one."
- You've filled out dozens of job applications and you're still unemployed
- You have a hundred pounds or more to lose
- You've been trying to conceive for months to no avail
- Your house is such a mess that it seems it would take a team months to clean it out
- You've been unhappily married for years and nothing you've tried has worked
- You have an addiction you just can't beat
- You're tens of thousands of dollars in debt
- Your loved one is elderly and still hasn't received Christ
While it's true that the right attitude doesn't guarantee victory, I believe it's also true that no matter how far behind you are, you can still win. I could give you examples of people I know personally who've experienced an unexpected victory in these situations. The key? Believe that you can.
Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)