Monday, November 03, 2008

Physical Education Ideas for Home Schooled Children

One of the arguments against home schooling is that the children will not get enough exercise.

Since home schooled children can get through their lessons a great deal more quickly than if they were trying to deal with the distraction of 20 or so other kids at school, their afternoons are often free and they can go outside and run around to their heart's content.

But what happens if you live in a high-rise or your yard is too small to allow for much running? Or what if your student prefers computers, erector sets and other indoor activities? What if their only exercise is their thumbs moving the video game controller?

Or what if you are so worried about socialization that you have them in a choir, and taking music lessons, scouts, AWANA, debate team, or whatever, so that they don't have time to exercise? There may also be some financial issues - sports for kids are not a cheap proposition. Equipment and classes are very expensive.

Try the President's Fitness Challenge. When my kids were small I was introduced to this great program by our homeschool umbrella group at that time, The Sycamore Tree. The President's Challenge gives you tools to help you monitor your progress, a personal activity log, and a way to reward those who achieve certain milestones.

If you cannot find something your child can do out of this approved list of activities, then I just don't know what to say. For the walker, there is a way to tally your daily steps with a pedometer. There is even a nod to your video gamer with the inclusion of Wii Sports.

Aerobics Archery Badminton Baseball Basketball Baton Twirling Bicycling Billiards Bowling Boxing/Kickboxing Calisthenics Canoeing Cardio Machines Cardio Tennis Cheerleading Children's Games Circuit Training Cricket Croquet Cross Country Skiing Curling Dancing Darts Diving Downhill Skiing Fencing Field Hockey Figure Skating Fishing Foot Bag Frisbee Gardening/Lawn Mowing Golf Gymnastics Handball Hang Gliding Hiking/Backpacking Hockey Home Repair Horseback Riding Horseshoe Pitching Household Tasks Hunting Inline Skating Jai Alai Juggling Kayaking Lacrosse Lawn Bowling Lifting/Hauling Marching Martial Arts Motor Cross Mountain Biking Mountain Climbing Nintendo Wii (Sports) Nordic Walking Orienteering Paddleball Pedometer Pilates Polo Racquetball Rock Climbing Roller Skating Rope Jumping Rowing Rowing Machine Rugby Running Sailing Scuba Diving Shuffleboard Skateboarding Skating Ski Jumping Skimobiling Sky Diving Sledding Snorkeling Snowboarding Snowmobiling Snowshoeing Snow Shoveling Soccer Softball Squash Stationary Bike Stretching Surfing Swimming Table Tennis Tai Chi Tennis Track & Field Trampoline Trap & Skeet Unicycling Volleyball Walking Wallyball Water Aerobics Water Jogging Water Polo Water Skiing Weight Training Whitewater Rafting Wind Surfing Wrestling Yoga

There is something here for everyone. High impact/low impact, team sports, personal best challenges, sports for the highly skilled, stretching and manual labor.

The goals are simple - 60 minutes of activity, five days a week, for children under 18. Adults can do 30 minutes a day. The challenge takes place over a six week period, so you can do it several times during the school year.

You could do this as a group and keep each other accountable. There is a way for a group admin to keep track of all the members of the group.

There are some parents that are trying to get laws passed that will force public schools to accept homeschooled students on their sports teams. In other states, the schools see that as a way to lure homeschooled students into accepting services in exchange for control over their homeschool programs.

The President's Challenge offers a free alternative, and one that does not obligate you to the school district.


  1. Anonymous8:17 AM

    Hang gliding? Sky diving? Whitewater rafting? For 3X/week exercise?????

  2. That is pretty funny! I think what they are getting at is that these kinds of activities could qualify, for instance, if you were on vacation and doing exotic things. That "exercise" isn't just aerobics or running or the other garden variety things that people think of. I took that list directly from the President's Challenge site - maybe you want to ask them why they included those!