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Blog: Let Homeschoolers Learn in Your Club

I spent last weekend at the USTA's Tennis on Campus Fall Invitational, which was an amazing experience, with great play and neat kids. But it was actually an overheard conversation that really got my wheels turning, thinking about a potential business opportunity for any club interested in trying something new.

Two students from different colleges were sitting behind me. One happened to mention that she had learned tennis from her mom, a tennis player, as part of her homeschooling experience. "She used to take me to her health club and teach me to hit balls," the girl told her friend. "She counted that as my P.E. time."

With all the emphasis these days on getting kids fit, maybe there's a market for health clubs to offer short blocks of programming that would allow homeschooling parents the opportunity to drop off their kids so they can participate in supervised sports or active games for whatever period of time might be required by their state board of ed. If your facility is not already doing this, it would be a way to fill less-busy hours during weekdays, and a way to keep kids active. It would also be a way to bring in some extra money, and to raise the club's profile among individuals who aren't currently members.

I know many clubs have all the pieces in place. Our club has a very nice, very private fenced-in playground, and great indoor facilities that can be used when the weather is inhospitable to outdoor exercise. Many clubs already offer childcare for parents who are exercising, and summer camps for kids while school is out. Programming for homeschooling families would be a great way of capitalizing on all those things. Programs could be tailored to specific age groups. Obviously, some activities and equipment should be off-limits to smaller kids, but there are certainly a lot of options for active play that wouldn't look like a routine, and therefore, wouldn't bore a child.

Homeschooling parents generally have close-knit communities, and are always interested in sharing information on resources available to them. A campaign of well-placed e-mails, phone calls, posters and advertising could pay dividends for a club that markets its facilities to the next generation, or at least to their parents.

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