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    John Clark

Homeschool Analogies: Got Any?

slam dunk

Someone mentioned to my wife lately that she doesn’t usually read my fatherhood/homeschooling columns because I use too many sports analogies. For instance, over the years, I have written that baseball is like “raspberry sorbet for the mind;” I have said that life is about “how many shots you take, rather than how many baskets you make;” and I recently wrote that being a good father was like being a “hockey goalie,” and so forth.

My initial reaction to this comment was that it was like complaining that you have “too much good pitching in your bullpen.” Meaning that this type of “problem” is more blessing than curse.

But, “upon further review,” my critic may have a point. After all, it is important to be an inclusive kind of person and appeal to a wide range of cultural sensibilities. Perhaps I should take a “time-out” from sports, and start making more literary references, like the following:

“Our typical homeschooling day lately is a lot like a Jane Austen book. Not much happens.”

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“The difference between a Tolstoy novel and getting my 14-year-old son to do his Algebra is that the novel has both War AND Peace.”

I could even paraphrase Shakespearean verse, like the following:

All the world’s a homeschool,
And all the boys and girls merely students.
They have their spelling and their history;
And one Dad in his time plays many parts.

I could also use musical analogies to achieve the same purpose, with comments like these.

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“Learning to parent is a lot like learning to play the violin—when you make mistakes, it makes people cringe.”

“Teenagers give exactly the same level of attention to us parents, as we give to the elevator music at the Cracker Barrel. Not much.”

“Diagramming sentences is like playing piano scales. Even when you do it perfectly, nobody cares.”

To continue the cultural motif, I could make culinary analogies, like the following.

“Homeschooling is like baking. At the end of the day, your kitchen is a mess.”

“Raising children is like making a soufflé—you don’t know how it will turn out until it’s done.”

“Eating dinner at home together in a family of nine children is a lot like eating at a great steakhouse. Except for the silverware. And the plates. And the steak.”

Hey, I’ve got some pretty good analogies here. This could work.

This idea of changing up the analogies could be a real home run for me.

Or at least a slam dunk.

(Enjoy John Clark’s writing?  John’s latest book Who’s Got You? Observations of a Catholic Homeschooling Father is available from Seton Educational Media or for Kindle or Nook.)

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About John Clark

John Clark
John Clark is a graduate of Christendom College and holds a degree in Political Science and Economics. He has written scores of articles about homeschooling and is a popular speaker at family and homeschooling conferences. He has nine children with his wife, Lisa. See his Bio › Check out his book ›
  • Geraldine Duddleston Young

    “Diagramming sentences is like playing piano scales. Even when you do it perfectly, nobody cares.” My daughter says I am the diagramming master (I’m not) because I have liked diagramming sentences since I was a young girl. I also like having my girls diagram sentences – which they do not like to do. So, I guess I am like a piano teacher, in that I do care when it is done perfectly!

  • Joy

    “Homeschooling is like housework. It seems never-ending, but there is always rest at the end of the day.”

  • Heather

    We don’t know about sports in our family. Sports are perfectly fine for many, but just not something we understand. Try some farm analogies, and we’ll totally get it. “Why did the chicken cross the road? To diagram sentences, of course!”

  • ostrander

    I enjoy your stories, no matter what analogies you use, but I suspect part of your charm and importance is that you are writing for the fathers. The majority of articles focus on the mothers, yours are for the fathers.

  • Glenna Ladner

    Do not stop using sports motifs.

  • Everest

    “Diagramming sentences is like playing piano scales. Even when you do it perfectly, nobody cares.”

    That, sir, is hilarious.