Physical activity (ex: P.E.) is an area many homeschoolers fail to include in their daily schedule. Math, science and literature often take precedence over spending 15 minutes taking a walk or a few minutes stretching after sitting for a long school day. Physical activity is just as important as the mental activity your child performs each day while in school. Because of that, physical education should be included in your child’s daily routine. There are a number of ways for you to easily include physical activity in your child’s school day.
The average homeschool student participates in one or more sports with athletic seasons running throughout a calendar year. The opportunity for homeschool students to play on teams with their public and private school peers has grown. There have also been a number of homeschool athletic organizations that have been created just for homeschoolers for competitive play and college scholarship opportunities. On the other side, there are students who are not as physically active or at all.
An interest in sports is not required of every child, but participation in some form of physical activity is essential for all children. A sedentary lifestyle (a.k.a. sitting disease) has several detrimental effects on the human body that include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine website, “Inactivity tends to increase with age.” Much of what your child learns in his early years regarding exercise has the potential to carry with him throughout his adult life. Imagine how much better the health of your child will be in their 20s, 30s, and beyond if they understand now the importance of physical activity.
If you have a child who would rather turn pages in a book than lift a baseball bat, that is okay, but you need to get them doing something physical and keep them regularly active. Some simple exercise ideas are the following:
• Let your child pick three songs (about 10 minutes total) they love. Then play them back-to-back and dance to them.
• Take 15-20 minute walks every day. Add a scavenger hunt to the experience to give your child something to do when walking becomes “too boring” or repetitive.
• When you arrive home after running errands, etc., walk the length of your block before going into your home. If your block is extremely long (ex: major thoroughfare), choose a starting and stopping point.
• Take a walk in the morning before sitting down at the breakfast table, or in the evening, at the dinner table.
• Walk the mall or some other weekly destination (ex: campus where your child is tutored, co-op building, etc.).
Create a home gym with a mat and weights. If you are able to afford it, purchase a new or used stationary bicycle. While working out, your child can listen to a book on tape or watch one of their favorite television programs. One episode of their favorite show will provide at least 20 minutes of steady exercise time. Also purchasing bikes for riding in the great outdoors is another option and one that will benefit everyone in the family.
Physical education is as important to your child’s development as academics. An exercised body gives strength to an exercised mind. These steps may be the pathway to your child becoming more physically active and healthier.
How does your family include physical activity into your school day?
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