Exercise in the Homeschool

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!

Photo by Cindy Shebley

What kind of exercise should we do?

  • walk briskly, pushing small children in a stroller
  • roller skate
  • ride bicycles or tricycles
  • jump rope
  • jog

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.



  1. Melissa says

    I completely agree with you! We often take hikes at the nature center, go to the park to run and play or just go for a walk. Because the weather is unpredictable where we live, I also have a collection of exercise DVDs for the kids. We use ABC yoga, crazy dance, ballet and kids kick box on days we can’t get outside. The girls also love doing my yoga DVD with me. It gets them moving and everyone sleeps better at night.

  2. says

    As a homeschool dad I agree that this area can be overlooked to easily. Fortunately we life in an area that gets lots of sunshine year round and the weather never gets too cold.

    We like to play tag as a family out in the year, of course you need a big enough yard to do this. But we get all 5 of us running around. Its a great workout.

    For rainy days the girls like gymnastics, so summer-salts and cartwheels come into play. Our youngest, a boy, likes summer-salts as well.

    They also like running around and dancing to lively music.

    I totally agree the parent should take part in this also, it’s a great refresher mentally to get some exercise.

    Thanks for the tips.

  3. says

    As the “homeschooling swim mom X 3″ I can’t resist putting in a positive word for USA swimming for homeschoolers. While my oldest daughter lives, eats, and breathes swimming – my other two children swim competitively as well without making as huge of a time commitment as my daughter. USA swimming can really be whatever you and your children want it to be. While my daughter practices 6 times a week, my youngest only practices 3 times a week. While my daughter competes in out-of-state meets, my youngest only does one local meet a month or even less. Swimming is incredible exercise and a swim team allows the opportunity to meet children of all different ages. Some of my daughter’s best friends have been made through swim team.

    If your children (or you) aren’t ready to make a year-round commitment to USA swimming, many areas offer recreational leagues in both the winter and the summer which are much more low-key, but still good exercise.

    For our family, USA swimming has been a wonderful fit and a great way for our kids to exercise regularly doing something they enjoy.


  4. says

    Thanks so much for sharing these and for the call to make sure we take care of our bodies! Great article. – Ryan from Alpha Omega Publications


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