Once the decision to homeschool became clear, other decisions presented themselves. One question that needed answered was the question of physical education.
Many homeschool families I spoke to when I was getting started chose to skip this aspect of learning not desireing the "superstar" or the "athlete" mentality often associated with sports. I have to agree that many families take sports to unrealistic or unhealthy levels, but not all of them do. With this in mind, we set out to find a way to make physical education a fun and encouraging part of our home education.
Despite the negative associations many conservatives have with sports, physical education has many benefits that need consideration. Providing an energy outlet while teaching coordination, cooperation and teamwork, physical education give our kids a positive outlet for natural desires of activity. Looking further at "P.E." we see that while it has value and purpose, it does not need to be an expensive endeavor. It doesn't even need to be a conventional "sport".
Many home school groups and co-ops offer organized sport groups for little cost, if any. Local recreation centers and YMCA's not only offer sports programs, but swimming, gymnastics/cheer and dance or martial arts activities. While these are excellent, they may not fit all families or all children. These opportunities fit our family for a short time, but were not a long term/all time solution to our P.E. classes.
Physical edcuation does not have to be an organzied sport, it can be as simple as riding a bike, jumping on the trampoline..a nature walk or yoga. Sometimes our physical education revolved around one of our children's physical therapy needs- or one's interest in horse riding. In our home we decided to try to expose our kids to various areas of interest and cull the ones that didn't spark a desire, but nurture (within reason) ones that grew.
For our family, physical education has taken many forms over the years..but it has always managed to accomplish our goal: to raise healthy, active children to grown into healthy, active adults. Our beginnings were simple and inexpensive, and they changed over the years as we all grew. I am grateful for the fun and memories we made in our "P.E." classes- wouldn't change it at all.
How does your family answer the question of physical education?
* Our current PE schedule:
-the senior: equestrian (training/riding)/self-defense
-the sophmore: equestrian (therapy based)/self-defense
-the 8th grader: mixed martial arts