The 2010 Winter Olympics are being held in Vancouver, but that doesn’t mean that homeschool families in Minnesota can’t experience the fun of these winter sports. There are several local venues that offer opportunities for families to try a variety of sports that are part of the Olympics.
The first Winter Olympics were held in France in 1924 and included skiing, figure skating, and ice hockey. Families can try to capture a little bit of that Olympic spirit by skating during the open skate times at All Seasons Arena in Mankato. Many homeschool families attend the lunch time sessions Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Homeschool families are typically some of the only skaters there, allowing the kids (and parents) ample room to improve their skills while still getting to hang out with friends. Many find the cost of a season pass and the purchase of used skates at local thrift stores to be well worth the investments.
Families can also attend local ice hockey games, either at the junior level or the college level. Mankato State University, Mankato is home to the Mavericks and has teams playing many home games. The women play at All Seasons Arena and the men play at the Verizon Wireless Center.
While skiing has long been included in the Winter Olympics, snowboarding just came onto the scene in 1998 at the games in Japan. Homeschool families can try either or both at Mount Kato in Mankato. During the week the hills are not as busy and homeschooled kids can have more one-on-one time with coaches during lessons.
If hurling your body down a slope alongside your child is not your idea of fun, curling might be more your speed. The Mankato Curling Club offers youth lessons in a fun environment, for a minimal fee. Many area homeschool families participate in this program and the kids learn a new sport in a non-competitive fashion. As the club sweatshirts say, "Rock On!"
If all of these sports seem too organized for your family, find your way to Sibley Park in Mankato and pretend you are on the bobsled team. The sledding hill is notorious for fast runs, but sometimes slow climbs to the top. Bring your sled and your cocoa and enjoy the day.
When all of your adventures come to a close, don’t forget to have the kids make their own medals with glitter glue or aluminum foil adorned onto plastic sour cream container lids. Give awards for fewest wipe-outs on the ice or the fastest run down Sibley hill. Make the Olympics come alive in Mankato with your homeschool family.