The following is a post from contributing writer Mary Prather.
Does exercise (aka gym class or physical education) ever seem to come in last in your homeschool?
At varying points in our homeschool experience, it has (I am sad to say).
I’ve discovered that it’s not so much about giving them a physical education, as it is about ME being a good role model for them, exercising with them, and encouraging them to try a variety of things to better their health, not to meet some kind of requirement.
We have done these simple things during our day to stay moving, and inevitably those days where we are moving everyone is happiest.
It was Plato who said:
Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.
- Take a Walk! Yes, this is simple, but I’ve found that walking with my middle grades child leads to some of the best talks we have. While we are walking we are sharing about our day, frustrations, and more. I’m also challenging her to run sprints between certain mailboxes, see if we can walk farther than we did yesterday, and in general teach her about staying fit and healthy. Don’t underestimate the power of a good walk.
- Ride Bikes. Last year I made it a priority to get two good bikes for my kids. They were both hand me downs, but with a little work at the bike shop they were in great condition. The kids love biking and sometimes I will even send them off together on a bike ride through our neighborhood (they are big enough for that now) in the middle of the day. (Oh, I wonder what the neighbors think!)
- Get a Basketball Hoop. This was one of our best investments ever . You can play games like Horse and Around the World to make it more fun. I frequently tell my 8 year old son to “go outside and shoot baskets” if he is fidgety or antsy. Many times, I join him. Sometimes I see his sister sneak out to play with him. There are always neighbor kids in our driveway, too, which is always a good thing.
- Go on Nature Hikes. Kill two birds with one stone; a great hike can also be nature study. Talk and learn while you walk. Last year we did an entire study on trees and incorporated many nature walks into our unit. We homeschool so our kids don’t have to look at the same four walls each day.
- Join the YMCA. This was a wonderful investment we made early on. A membership gets us discounted classes and activities, as well as access to a full gym, tennis courts, and an indoor pool. Our YMCA has a referral program to cut down on dues, too. Many branches offer scholarships to families in need. The YMCA is often deserted in the middle of a day – a perfect time to take your homeschoolers!
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