A few years ago, my family attended a Not Back To School Sports Day. It was a memorable day and, after a small nudge from an online comment on a home ed Facebook group, we decided we should host one of our own.
At the older children’s meet the previous week, the young people had worked together to compile an impressive list of fun and inclusive races for the sports day. The event itself began with a circle for people to tell each other their names and for some stretches and warm up exercises, led mostly by children.
Then the races began. The first was the Home Ed Triathlon, a cooperative take on the usual format. Teams of three took part, with each member of the teams taking on a different element of the race in relay. The swimmers had to don goggles, life jackets and swimming hats before ‘swimming’ across the tarpaulin pool where they tagged their team member who zoomed along on a balance bike to the final team member who ran back to the start line carrying a cup of water.
This proved to be a popular race and was repeated with different combinations of children around a dozen times. Next came the track events, which were also repeated several times – the egg and spoon race,
the sack race using coffee sacks kindly donated by one of the families attending, the wheelbarrow race and the three-legged race.
Another team event followed – the cooperative water challenge. There were two teams each with a bucket of water at one end of the course and an empty bucket opposite. Each team had a number of holey vessels and lengths of guttering to transport their water from the full to the empty bucket. Much hilarity ensued along with deliberate spilling of water to cool the red-faced competitors.
Half time oranges felt essential by this point and adults drank tea and coffee, which had been provided by a particularly organised parent.
There were over 50 people at the sports day, many of whom were entirely new to home education and/or Glasgow so the break in proceedings allowed time for people to get to know each other, exchange stories and catch up with old friends.
Refreshed and eager for one last activity, children patiently queued to have their turn on the obstacle course.
Once everyone had tired of the sports, races and games on offer, we started the big clear up operation. Even the little ones helped to gather up all the equipment.
Tired but happy, people began to say goodbye and leave the park. Some went into the city centre, some went home and others drifted off to a nearby play park for a different kind of play.
All in all, we all felt the day had been a great success. My personal highlight had been how the children had entered into the races with such a wonderful sense of lightness and generosity. They were great sportspeople, every one of them.
On returning home, one of the children wrote a newspaper article about their day. Here it is, our first review for our first Not Back To School Sports Day.