Exercise. We know this is important for our health and well-being. We also know that, according to the CA Department of Education and with good reason, physical education is to be part of every student’s day, including part of every home school (operating as an independent, home-based Private School in California.) Meeting that requirement can take many forms, but are you making time for physical exercise each day for your kids, let alone for yourself, into your busy schedule?
Researching fitness, I’ve come to find out that just working out a gym a few times a week for an hour does not necessarily make one fit. When we sit all day, everyday, we are losing out on the physical and mental benefits that come from hard work that our ancestors knew so well. To make sure you are moving throughout the day, at the top of every hour, take five minutes to do something physical.
I have a chime on my watch that alerts me to the top of the hour. That is my cue to get myself and the kids up and do something physical whether it’s gardening, cleaning, dancing, or walking. Sometimes my five minutes turns to fifteen when we are doing a chore, but that just means we’re moving our bodies and getting work done at the same time. This kind of movement throughout the day will reap huge benefits to you both physically and mentally, even affecting how your kids process information. Their brains will be much healthier for it, and it’s such an easy thing to incorporate.
Exercise can be centered around activities that the children already enjoy like bike riding, skateboarding, basketball, soccer, trampoline jumping, or swimming. Just be sure to do something every day for at least a half hour. Some parents feel that because their child is enrolled in AYSO Soccer that they’re covered. However, just practicing twice a week and a game on Saturday does not really meet the everyday need of the child for fitness health.
Here’s how we meet the requirement for P.E. in our own home school: my kids get to choose one sport outside the home. One son chose karate which meets twice a week. The other son chose fencing which is also twice a week with the option of attending more. In addition, one day of the week they have a YMCA P.E. class which is a great option if your local YMCA has such a class because they get to learn a variety of sports skills while developing character. The other two days of the school week they will have unstructured P.E. which is another way of saying, they go out for walks and ride their bike and run around in the yard, the block, the culdesac.
Living in Santa Barbara, it is no difficult feat to log P.E. time riding those bikes to the beach via our many bike paths. There is also a large gathering of home educators in our area who meet on Tuesdays at rotating parks throughout this beautiful city. With all the climbing, running, pickup games of football, soccer, Ultimate Frisbee, tag and four-square that I witness, I would definitely count that as P.E. for the day! We are very fortunate to live here with all of these opportunities and year-round good weather. Look at the unique opportunities of your city and remember P.E. doesn’t have to be boring or something different than the activities you already participate in every day.
If you are looking for a way to increase strength, I’d like to propose One Hundred Push-Ups which is a free 6-week strength training program to eventually be able to do 100 consecutive push-ups in proper form. It only takes 30 minutes a week! There is an initial test to see where you’ll begin in the training program. If you can only do one push-up right now, you’ll be starting small, and that’s okay! This would be a great way to meet the P.E. requirement on days you don’t have a sport to focus on.
Why push-ups? Considering that they are great for not only your chest, but also do an extraordinary job of defining your abs, triceps, shoulders and torso, push-ups seem the perfect overall strengthening exercise. They’re free and you can take them anywhere you go! Comment below if you’re going to begin the 6-week training at One Hundred Push-Ups or if you’d like to share how your home school is meeting that P.E. requirement.