Homeschool Physical Education - Some Great Ideas!
The Importance Of A Good Homeschool Physical Education Program
What do you envision when you hear the words physical fitness? Do you cringe as you recall miserable memories of physical education from when you where in school or do you have happy memories of playing on sports teams with your childhood friends?
Happily, as a homeschooling parent you have the opportunity to make fitness fun for your children. This will help them develop a healthy attitude towards active living that they will carry with them the rest of their life
It is easy to focus on the academic aspects of homeschooling and neglect the physical fitness side of things, but the benefits of an active lifestyle make it well worth the effort to make it a part of your homeschool day.
There are of course the obvious physical benefits associated with physical fitness, but it also has emotional, academic, and behavioral benefits.
- Physical activity has been shown to boost self esteem and decrease feelings of anxiety and depression, which can be especially important to your pre-teens and teens.
- Exercise also helps children learn to focus and provides them with a healthy outlet for their energy. When it is time to focus on their home school assignments your children will be more alert and able to sit still.
- One of the best benefits of sports it provides a natural way to build our children’s character. They learn to set goals, persevere, follow rules, and win and lose gracefully.
Where To Start With Homeschool Physical Education
So, where do you start? National Fitness Guidelines recommend 60 minutes o f physical activity every day. This should include a balance of aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and bone strengthening activities. Vigorous activity is recommended at least 3 days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes. You can explain to your children that vigorous activity is anything that makes them sound like the big bad wolf. They will “huff and puff” as they engage in vigorous activities and may find it difficult to talk.
3 Activities to Include In Your Homeschool Physical Education Program
Let’s look at each of the three types of recommended activities and some examples of how they could be incorporated into your home school curriculum. You will notice that some activities overlap a bit.
1. Aerobic: These are activities which work the large muscles and involve rhythmic movement. The majority of physical activity should be aerobic. It is recommended that this be a vigorous level of intensity a minimum of three days a week and moderate-to- vigorous the rest of the week.
Examples: swimming, running, jumping, hopping, bicycling, dancing
2. Muscle-strengthening: These are activities that work the muscles and increases their strength, power, or endurance. It is recommended that muscle-strengthening physical activity be incorporated into children’s fitness program at least three days a week.
Examples: weights, climbing, resistance, digging, circuit training, gymnastics
3. Bone-strengthening: Our bones become strengthened when we engage in activities that increase bone growth and strength. This often occurs when our bones impact the ground. This should also be the specific focus of physical activity three days a week.
Examples: running, badminton, yoga, dancing, walking, baseball, basketball, volleyball, racquetball, tennis, hopscotch and jumping rope, Martial Arts, cheerleading, figure skating
You are by no means limited by the list of activities above. There are a lot of nontraditional activities you can do as well. These are especially nice if you are homeschooling a wide range of ages and athletic abilities. Frisbee golf courses can be found in many cities and it is fairly easy to set up your own course as well. Walking and running are probably going to be your best bet if you have infants or young toddlers in the house. Put them in a hiking backpack carrier or purchase a jogging stroller if they are too little to participate. These can often be found used for a very reasonable price.
If you want to make the world a better place while you get fit consider signing your family up for a walk-a-thon or marathon a few months down the road to help raise money or awareness for a cause that is important to your family. Make sure to choose one far enough in advance that you have enough time to train. You can learn about nature and teach geography while you hide all of the trails in your area. Hiking trails are rated by difficulty so you can choose those that are just right for your youngest ‘student’.
Geocaching is another wonderful way to explore your area of the world. This is a treasure hunting game using a GPS. Most phones have this capability now. You simply plug in the grid coordinates and off you go. You take what you find and leave a small prize for the next person. The website www.geocaching.com tells you how to get started and lists thousands of sights around the world.
As you begin developing your homeschool physical education curriculum remember that your main goal is to promote a healthy attitude towards physical fitness. The activities you choose should be challenging and fun as well as age appropriate. Healthy living simply means an active lifestyle. There should never, ever be a focus on weight. Instead get outside and have fun as a family while you build some great memories together.