Home-school leader: LaRoche's son gaining invaluable lessons outside of class

  • Former Chicago White Sox Adam LaRoche, left, and his son Drake walking to the team clubhouse before a spring training workout in Arizona. Told to cut down his son's time in the clubhouse, LaRoche took a different path, announcing last month that he planned to retire and walk away from a $13 million salary.

    Former Chicago White Sox Adam LaRoche, left, and his son Drake walking to the team clubhouse before a spring training workout in Arizona. Told to cut down his son's time in the clubhouse, LaRoche took a different path, announcing last month that he planned to retire and walk away from a $13 million salary. Associated Press File Photo

  • Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's dog Pumpkin, right, died last week. At left is Stella.

    Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's dog Pumpkin, right, died last week. At left is Stella. Associated Press File Photo

  • Arlington Heights Memorial Library is extending its weekend hours as part of a pilot project.

    Arlington Heights Memorial Library is extending its weekend hours as part of a pilot project. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted4/4/2016 5:40 AM

Former White Sox designated hitter Adam LaRoche's decision to walk away from a $13 million contract instead of limiting the time his home-schooled 14-year-old son spends around the team has sparked a national conversation.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's wondered how it's possible to provide enough schooling to a student who's also balancing a 162-game professional baseball season, which formally kicks off today. So, I approached Christian Liberty Academy's Michael McHugh -- a national leader in the home-school movement -- for his perspective.

 

McHugh, a Palatine resident, has overseen the Arlington Heights school's roughly 4,000-student home-school program for more than 30 years. He and wife Karla also home-schooled their seven children.

"We had the desire to have our children see us as more than physical providers," he says.

Channeling Edison

LaRoche has said he believes there are life lessons to be gleaned outside the classroom. McHugh agrees. While he doesn't know the details of Drake LaRoche's schedule, McHugh says he's confident proper schooling could take place in "a couple of good, solid sustained hours" on game days paired with more rigorous teaching on nongame days.

"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 said. "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."

'You can see the game'

Among those looking forward to a new White Sox season is former Gov. Pat Quinn, who's held nosebleed upper deck seats at U.S. Cellular Field for 16 years. "You can see the game from here," he famously noted in a 2014 campaign ad in his unsuccessful re-election bid against Winnetka Republican Bruce Rauner.

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Goodbye, Pumpkin

Gov. Rauner said goodbye last week to his beloved hunting dog Pumpkin, a yellow lab who had been a member of the family for 17 years. Pumpkin and her counterpart, Stella, quickly acclimated to life in the governor's mansion after Rauner's inauguration in January 2015. Rauner has been known to place frozen dead birds throughout the mansion grounds for his dogs to practice retrieving, I learned during my time in Springfield.

Extended hours

The Arlington Heights Memorial Library is extending its hours as part of a pilot project, I noticed this week in a rush to return a book. The library will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Librarians tell me the changes -- which began two weeks ago -- came following a survey sent to patrons. Hours will be extended through December, when the board will gauge how popular the change was and whether to make it permanent.

Fan of politics or not, you have to laugh at this snap sent in by state Rep. Tom Morrison of Palatine of the Dakota K Auto Repair sign at Wilke and Northwest Highway in Arlington Heights. The sign reads "Politicians and diapers should be changed for the same reason." "Ha, this resonates on a couple of levels," texted Morrison, a three-term lawmaker and father of three.
Fan of politics or not, you have to laugh at this snap sent in by state Rep. Tom Morrison of Palatine of the Dakota K Auto Repair sign at Wilke and Northwest Highway in Arlington Heights. The sign reads "Politicians and diapers should be changed for the same reason." "Ha, this resonates on a couple of levels," texted Morrison, a three-term lawmaker and father of three. - Courtesy of Tom Morrison
Today's snap

Fan of politics or not, you have to laugh at this snap sent in by state Rep. Tom Morrison of Palatine of the Dakota K Auto Repair sign at Wilke and Northwest Highway in Arlington Heights. The sign reads "Politicians and diapers should be changed for the same reason." "Ha, this resonates on a couple of levels," texted Morrison, a three-term lawmaker and father of three.

Tommy's comeback

I wrote a few weeks ago about Tommy Zbikowski, a standout Buffalo Grove High School football player who went on to play at Notre Dame and in the NFL, but later changed career paths. He became a Chicago firefighter last year after spending some time in rehab to deal with binge drinking. He's kept up an intense boxing training regimen on the side. His dad, Ed Zbikowksi of Arlington Heights, tells me Tommy will square off in a boxing match at the Belvedere in Elk Grove Village at 7 p.m. on April 22, with the proceeds going to benefit the family of fallen Chicago firefighter Dan Capuano. Tickets can be purchased at hitzboxing.com and range from $50 to $110.

• Got a comment or tip? Email Kerry at klester@dailyherald.com or reach her at (847) 427-4603.

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