Kids need a time of activity for their health and for greater academic productivity. I know that, I think we all know that. Actually getting it on the schedule, and following through consistently, sometimes poses a challenge for homeschoolers.
During those seemingly rare days of great weather I find it easier to get together an outdoor activity with soccer drills or a basketball game. On those many, many days that we find ourselves trapped inside by dangerous windchills or heatstroke inducing humidity, the challenge looms large.
Some tips I have found work for us:
- Find a time that works in your schedule -- and write it in. For us, I have found that right after lunch our motivation wanes, our fidgeting increases, our focus wanders. So, it is actually a great time for PE. We get out some energy and can get back to productivity after a little heart pumping. Also, on days when I would rather crawl in bed or curl up on the couch for a nap, it gets my blood flowing again to keep the afternoon moving. It is definitely good for me, too. And, having it written down, my son eagerly reminds me that it is PE time.
- Plan for it. Each weekend during my planning for the upcoming week I determine what our PE will focus on. Sometimes we do a multiple week unit on a particular sport. Sometimes we work through the Presidential Challenge material, sometimes we learn about our bodies. There are, of course, lots of websites out there to help if you need ideas. PE Central, some PE lesson plans, here's a site with a whole list of links, and PE Universe (lots of great videos on there).
- Set goals. Keep a chart, track your minutes, record resting heart rate improvement, or blood pressure (check it at the grocery store), or join a program like Jump Rope for Heart.
- Invite some friends over. One of the challenges of homeschooling is the small student population in our daily PE class. Find a family or two and invite them over for a planned PE activity or meet at a park for a soccer game (when you aren't stuck inside). This provides greater opportunity for building teamwork and teaching good sportsmanship, still in a family setting.
- Join a class or a sports' team. Many park districts, gymnastics clubs, and other active organizations offer homeschool classes, or will if you ask. Our local gymnastics academy will offer a class with as little as three participants even if it is not on their regular schedule. It never hurts to ask.
- Set a routine. We start with warm ups, do some running, discuss the plan for the day, and then jump into it.
- Get physical! I put together a little routine using the various equipment we have purchased over the years. This could easily be adapted to whatever you have or don't have around your home.
We alternate our time between aerobic (heart pumping) and anaerobic (weight or muscle training) activities. I am not a fitness teacher, never had any real training in this, but I did really enjoy a PE class that I took in college that followed this method, and may be similar to some workout places you have visited (remember those?)
The first day we went over all the segments so everyone understood proper techniques and expectations. Here was our routine: squats, jogging trampoline, arm weights, exercise bike, body gym, jumping jacks, push ups, run around living room, sit ups, jump rope. We would do the activity for 45 seconds, and then have 15 seconds to switch to the next station. I tried to keep them mostly within eyesight of each other, so I could participate and still watch everyone. Even my three year old jumps in and does fairly well.
- Be flexible and creative. If you don't have weights use soup cans. If you don't have a big house, run outside. You can run in place. There are lots of ways to be active even without a lot of equipment or space.
- Have fun! I need to remind myself that to most typical kids PE is their favorite time of day. Now, of course homeschooling is so much fun that we could never top the rest of the day (smirk), but this should still be an enjoyable, memory building time.
Happy campers, ready to get back to work!
Head over to Shannon's blog for more WFMW.