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Planning a homeschool physical education course can seem overwhelming, but it really doesn't have to be. Here are some ideas for simple ways you can help your children stay in shape with very little extra planning or effort on your part.
Paid Lessons - Many homeschool families choose to hire out their homeschool Physical Education classes. Some pay for private lessons and some take advantage of classes through their homeschool group or co-op. One of my children started ballet lessons when she was 6 and she loved it so much that she continued on through high school and did very well. Was it a sacrifice for our family? You bet it was! But we knew she loved it and that to force her to quit would have been like cutting off her arm. Our other girls took ballet lessons too, but neither of the other 2 stuck with it more than a couple of years.
We have taken advantage of swim lessons at the local recreation center that one of the moms in our homeschool group arranged. We could have paid $30 per hour for private lessons but instead we paid $3 per hour for small group lessons. My children thoroughly enjoyed being able to take swim lessons. We have an above ground pool at home, but we can only use it in the summer and I think it's important for children to get some formal instruction too.
Free/Community Activities - Many cities and villages offer various sports activities for children through junior high age. Even though we live in a very small town, our children still have T-ball, softball, and baseball leagues available to them in the summer. Not very far away we can take advantage of soccer leagues that run in the Fall and Spring. Soccer is a great game to play to help learn all kinds of skills. Students can stay in shape by running, they learn eye/foot coordination, and how to get along with other team members. Who knows, you might even be able to get some college scholarship money some day from a star soccer player in your home.
DVDs - There are many exercise videos that can be used for a homeschool physical education program.
Calisthentics at Home - If you have a very low homeschool budget, you can just do simple exercises with your children each day or every other day. You can do jumping jacks, push ups, the plank, sit ups, deep knee bends, running in place or running outside, and many other calisthentics. If you don't want to come up with your own program, you can get books that can help. Just 20 minutes several times a week of calisthenics can help all of you stay in shape and feel great.
Equipment you can use at home - Some of our favorite PE equipment includes a mini trampoline and an exercise ball. If you get a mini trampoline, make sure you get a good quality one. The cheaper ones will not give you the support and beneficial exercise that a more expensive quality piece will give you. Even just 10 minutes a day can give both student and parent a great health benefit.
One year my son spent about 80% of his day sitting and rolling around on an exercise ball. He played with it when he watched TV and I found that he focused better and stayed on task better when he sat on the exercise ball to do his school work.
You can use a DVD along with an exercise ball or you can just do exercises on your own. We have sometimes used it for a circuit training routine. We would have the trampoline, exercise ball and some hand weights set out. Then we would each use one of the items for a few minutes. After the time was up we would switch places. This made exercise more fun and gave us a more well rounded workout.
Club Memberships - We have found it very difficult to find free community activities for high school students in our area. The high school sports programs are so demanding that they don't need any community activities to supplement. This is a disadvantage for homeschoolers who have been using the community activities for homeschool physical education. Sometimes you have to switch to a paid fitness club membership if your student wants good physical activity. This then has to be figured into the homeschool budget, but it is worth it to help your children be in shape and be active physically.
Hopefully these homeschool physical education ideas will put you at ease that there are ways to help your children stay fit without having to purchase a curriculum or spend a great deal of time planning. Start looking around you for ideas in your area that you can use to help your children be physically active.
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