Some homeschooling parents fret about how to obtain a physical education credit for their kids. For us, the goal has always been to live an active lifestyle. I do not think that you have to be enrolled in a formal P.E. class to fulfill the goal of being healthy, fit, and active. We also want them to love being outdoors.
I have seen so many adults who grew up playing sports and were in great shape until they left school where they couldn’t compete any longer. I have no problem with competitive sports (and we have participated at times), but my ultimate goal is to create a desire in my kids to be active, because it is good for their mind, soul, and body. We do not have highly competitive kids when it comes to sports. They love to play basketball, but they just want to enjoy it. They hate the tenseness that is often associated with team sports, especially among the parents. So, we have let them explore just about every sport/physical activity that they have been curious about. I have spent my fair share of time chauffeuring the kids from taekwondo, tennis, archery, basketball, swimming lessons, horseback riding, paintball, ballet/tap, soccer, cheerleading,and gymnastics (that made me really tired just typing that). They enjoyed each of these things, and I love that they are adventurous and want to experience many different things. No, they will not be star basketball players, because they do not desire to devote all their time and energy into one thing. But, I love that they find enjoyment in playing as a team and as an individual, learning new skills, and keeping physically fit. I know that one of the top reasons parents place their children back into public schools for high school is the sports aspect. There are homeschooling teams, but the cost and travel time and expenses is more demanding on families. For my son who loves basketball, he weighed the pros and cons and decided that the freedom to homeschool was too important to him to give it up for a sport that only lasts a few months.
Here are some practical ways that we have added physical education into our homeschooling days:
Using this bingo style chart, we challenge them occasionally to complete 150 minutes of exercise in one week. They can pick which things they want to accomplish and date them upon completion. This is a go-to in the dead of winter when we can not trek outside very often. And, we normally reward them in some small way for successfully completing the challenge.
When they were younger, I would set up fun obstacle courses in the back yard using the swing set, mini trampoline, hula hoops, and even trees. I would time how long it took to complete the loop and then challenge them to beat their best times. They loved it! Other times, I would simply spend time chasing them, playing tag, kicking a ball back and forth, or riding bikes around the block. The bonus is that I kept active too.
As a family we take nature walks and hike often when the weather is above 60 degrees. We also enjoy playing tennis together, even though we chase the ball more than hit it!
We currently have gym memberships, and the kids utilize the pool frequently.
My daughter came to me recently and asked if she could create a schedule for running practice during the week. We signed up for a 5K that she has been wanting to participate in, and she wants to be ready! Our family loves to help support local charities and have done some walks/runs to show our support.
In our community, we have a local university that offers P.E. classes to homeschooled students twice a week. They are doing this to provide their education teachers with hands-on methods of teaching. They teach the basics of each sport, offer physical fitness testing, and also offer unique experiences like fishing trips and archery units. It was a great experience as they met new friends, learned some basic rules for sports, and it only cost $10 per semester.
Another opportunity for organized P.E. was through the local YMCA. They offered a weekly homeschool session, but it was a little pricey. It really mimicked what they would have received at school in gym class, but my kids did not enjoy it, so we only did one semester of this class. I think it was a viable option for many parents, because it was a drop-off program and allowed the parents to take a couple hours off!
Feel free to share the ways your family stays active and fulfills your physical education requirements!