Physical education sometimes gets lost in the busy homeschooler’s day, however, exercising our bodies is important. Recommendations vary, but most people generally agree that our children need more exercise. As homeschoolers, we tend to make sure that our children’s math, reading, science, and history programs are well chosen, and we thoughtfully plan our daily lessons. Most of us even incorporate fine arts activities such as music or art study without too much difficulty. But physical education seems to stump most homeschool mothers.
I think that many of us think back to our own P.E classes that we attended in a traditional school setting. Our memories may include organized games that required large numbers of students and special equipment. I want to suggest that you can introduce daily exercise into your homeschool with virtually no trouble at all.
How do I begin?
- Schedule exercise time into your daily routine. Pick a time of day that is convenient for you. Right after lunch or sometime in the late afternoon are both good times.
- Put shoes on your children (athletic type shoes are best) and yourself, and go outside.
- Set the timer for 30 minutes, and get moving!
What kind of exercise should we do?
- walk briskly, pushing small children in a stroller
- roller skate
- ride bicycles or tricycles
- jump rope
Where can I exercise? Utilize your surroundings.
- If you live in a subdivision, walk, ride bikes, or skate around the streets of your neighborhood.
- If you live in a rural area or on a busy, dangerous road, exercise in your driveway if possible.
- Visit a nearby park with a walking track.
- Visit a nearby subdivision. I do this sometimes. We park in an out-of-the-way area, and run in a safe subdivision.
What exactly should I be doing during this exercise time?
Keep it simple. If you have younger children, put them inside a stroller and walk briskly for 30 minutes. Your older children can either walk with you, or ride bikes or skate alongside of you. It’s really that simple. You could even invite another family to join you during this exercise time, but then you have the added stress of coordinating the time and the place. It really is easy to get into the routine of exercising regularly. Just put on your shoes and go outside! After you and your children have been regularly walking for a few weeks, you may want to incorporate small intervals of jogging. Most children naturally love to run! Running is excellent exercise for both children and adults. Encourage them to run (not sprint) for short periods of time during their 30 minute walk.
How often should we exercise?
I would begin with 3 times a week for 30 minutes each day. After a couple of weeks of successfully doing this, I would add an additional day of exercise. Exercising for five days each week would be ideal, but I would begin with a smaller, doable goal.
What can we do when it is raining or too cold to be outside?
Turn on some music, and get those children to moving! You can walk, march, and jog in place. If you have room, you can jump rope or do jumping jacks. Just try to move for 30 minutes. You can also use exercise videos, or a treadmill or stationary bicycle if you have those.
In order for the homeschool P.E. class to be successful, I believe the mother needs to exercise too! Join your children in their exercise, and you will be setting a healthy example for them to follow.
Roan is an active homeschooling mother of 5 children. Roan, her husband, and her four oldest children all run on a regular basis. You can read about their running, their homeschool, and their family life over at Roan’s personal blog, Joyful Always.