Baseball Player Sparks National Conversation on Homeschooling

A Major League Baseball player’s unexpected retirement has sparked a national conversation about homeschooling and balancing time between work and family.

Adam LaRoche, a 12-year Major League veteran, walked away from a $13 million contract with the Chicago White Sox this spring over a dispute about how much time his 14-year-old son was spending in the team’s clubhouse.

“Thank u Lord for the game of baseball and for giving me way more than I ever deserved! #FamilyFirst,” LaRoche wrote on Twitter following the announcement of his decision to retire at the age of 36.

Last season, the Chicago Tribune featured LaRoche’s relationship with his son Drake and how the White Sox had embraced the father-son duo. The article included how they handled Drake’s schooling.

“The children go to their local school in Kansas when they’re at home, but the family has an arrangement with the school to take weeks’ worth of homework with them when they’re on the road,” wrote reporter Colleen Kane.

Previously in his career when he played for the Washington Nationals, LaRoche told the Washington Post that the school was fine with the agreement as long as Drake passed his standardized tests.

“We’re not big on school,” LaRoche told reporter Adam Kilgore in 2013. “I told my wife, ‘He’s going to learn a lot more useful information in the clubhouse than he will in the classroom, as far as life lessons.’”

While opinions have varied greatly on how much time a teenager should spend in a work environment like a baseball team’s clubhouse, homeschool advocate Michael McHugh emphasized that learning cannot be confined to a classroom.

“This young boy has had that chance to get out in the real world and see what it’s like and see how his dad handles himself,” McHugh told Kerry Lester for the Daily Herald. “He learns all the good and the bad and the ups and downs of life and living, and those are things you can’t learn in a book.”

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