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Physical Education and Athletics

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, March 24, 2006

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 7 No 12 March 24, 2006
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2006 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

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Notes from the Editor
-- Phys Ed and Athletics
Helpful Tips
-- Picking Up the Toys
Question of the Week
-- Your Questions
-- Your Answers
Editor's Picks
-- Civil Air Patrol
-- Subscriber Information
-- Sponsorship Information

Notes from Heather

Phys Ed, Athletics, and Noncompetitive Fitness Programs

The last few weeks we've been talking about competitive team
sports opportunities, primarily during the high school years. But
what about the children that have little or no drive or desire for team
sports or competition, but want to stay physically fit and enjoy a
variety of physical activity for recreation? And what "counts" as a
physical education credit anyway?

From what I understand, "phys ed" is meant to be a credit for not
only the action of physical activity, but education in physical
activity. Learning the rules to play a game (like baseball or
basketball) or learning the movements and strategies in a martial art
would qualify for PE credit, provided enough time is spent on the
activity through the course of a school year.

What is the big deal about physical education? How did it become
a standard requirement for graduation? I'm thinking that it is probably
important to "Corporate America" that our children learn to function in
teams; that they are comfortable with teamwork. In addition to that,
the idea is probably to encourage kids to be more physically active.
Think about it... good with teamwork, not lazy. That is a pretty good
preparation for the workforce! Ha. For more on education's ties to
industry, see http://www.johntaylorgatto.com

Aside from my assumptions about why/how PE probably entered
the curriculum -- (perhaps it even sprung from the "recess" break
need for children to get fresh air and have some fun in the middle of
the day?) -- physical fitness and developing the mind/body connec-
tion (synergy, if you will) just makes good sense. Anyone would
agree that the child who craves regular time in physical activity is
healthier and has less overall stress than the one who'd be happy
playing video games all day. (Do you have one like that, too??)

So, what are some ideas for physical fitness from elementary age
through the high school years?

I'm exploring just a few possibilities here, but I'd love to hear what
YOUR children are doing or what you do as a family, too!

1. Arts related physical activity... like dance!

I have a son (my 13 year old) who is passionate about ballet! Con-
sequently, he practices 4 days a week and is the most fit of all my
boys. My oldest (15) noted the other day that he had read an article
about a study by the University of Illinois (I may not have the right
source cited here... but this is what I remember secondhand!) that
the one athletic activity that is more physically/mentally demanding
ing than others is... you guessed it... ballet!

If a dance class is too pricey for your budget and you want to try it
just for fun at home, there are a variety of inexpensive DVDs you can
purchase or borrow from the library. I just got this great DVD from
American Ballet Theatre called "The Video Dictionary of Classical
Ballet" -- over 4 hours with more than 800 variations. (Amazon.com
had the best price on this -- from a used seller but brand new!) If you
combine a DVD like this with a good beginner's warm-up video, you
are on your way.

If you DO decide to go with a ballet school, do your homework first.
Dance schools vary *widely* in their reputations... talk to other moms
before you choose and call your local arts councils for recommenda-
tions for the best studios. Higher price doesn't mean better! If your
child seems serious about dance, take your time to choose the right
school. Some schools offer recitals, which can be pricey. There are
schools out there that offer in-studio presentations to parents in lieu
of outlandish recitals. Some also stress competitive "meets" over
creating art for art's sake. Same with gymnastics!! The difference in
philosophies could cost you hundreds of dollars -- and lots of stress
-- so do your research. Don't be taken in by a fancy looking studio!

2. Physical fitness and self-defense.

There are so many varieties of martial arts available -- it pays to do
your research here, too! Consider the instructors and what their
priorities are. If you of a Christian worldview, you may want to seek
a Christian instructor that you feel comfortable with... one who will
eliminate or downplay Eastern religious influences in the discipline
you choose. But don't be quick to disqualify all martial arts! Some,
like Brazilian Jujitsu, are not so deeply rooted in "religious"
elements. (I'm not speaking as an expert here -- just as a mom who has
considered some of these things!)

3. Personal physical training... weightlifting, swimming, running.

Opportunities abound for personal, individual fitness! Find a friend
with weight machines in their home and organize a kids' workout time...
or arrange a pool time at the local YMCA. Do you have tennis courts
available after school hours at a local public school? Make use of
those for wonderful family memories! Love running? Think about plan-
ning a fun cross country run for homeschoolers! A local dad told me
that would be the easiest "event" to bring together for a field day. No
real equipment needed!

Here is an article about hosting a Christian homeschooling field day
with less emphasis on competition and more on good, clean fun.


Oh... if it is an option to you, don't forget a summer of horseback
riding lessons! :-)

4. Community service that includes fitness training

Opportunities for training in physical activities can include scouting,
working at a summer camp, helping build a house, teaching aerobic
exercise to young children... and these can count for leadership
training, too!

Speaking of leadership, ever heard of Civil Air Patrol? It is an excel-
lent opportunity for physical training and much, much more. (See my
"pick of the week" near the end of this issue for details!)

5. Phys Ed class online??!!? Can it be done?

Now -- here is an interesting concept! Read about Minneapolis
schools offering gym class on the internet:



Please send me your ideas for "PE" I'd love to hear what YOUR
family is doing. :-)

Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



[Here's your chance! Send YOUR ideas along to

"Hi! We have a half wall between two rooms at our house (any location
would work) on which I have 2 colored bins. One bin for each of my
boys 3 and 11. As the day goes by any of the small annoying toys that
they leave laying around get dumped in these bins. When the bins are
full (which may take one day or 10), they need to take them to their
room and put the toys away. This saves the time of constantly having
to put things in their room and it saves me the time nagging them to
put their toys away! When my daughter is old enough she will get a bin
too!" -- Sara in Wisconsin

Send YOUR ideas to: HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Last Issue's Question

"Does anyone feel that they have benefited from homeschooling a
child with Tourret's? How can I encourage a homeschooling mother
whose 6 year old was just diagnosed? Anything helpful that can be
done at home? Thank you!" -- Sharron in Missouri

Our Readers' Responses

"Hi... my son was also diagnosed when he was 6. He did well in public
school until the 2nd grade. Then the vocal tics started. He began
making animal sounds (roaring like a lion) uncontrollably in the class-
room and his attention span just dissipated. He was distracting not
only himself but other students as well. The school that he attended
just could not come up with an effective plan to accommodate his parti-
cular needs, not to mention the incessant teasing that he suffered from
the other children... At the end of his 2nd grade year I had a heart to
heart with his teacher about homeschooling. She encouraged me
(amazingly enough!!) and told me that she thought he would excel in
the home environment. She was right!!! As a matter of fact, his tics
improved once the stressors of the classroom were removed. He is 11
now and rarely has tics. He is intelligent and very well liked by other
children and adults. The wonderful thing about homeschooling him is
that when he is having a harder day, we can schedule a lighter load.
We can work around his behaviors. I will always remember his teacher
and will always be grateful for her wonderful encouragement." -- Lara D.


"A lot of people who have children with special needs (and a lot of the
professionals like doctors, social workers, and teachers) do not think
that parents are equipped to teach their special needs children at home.

Even though they raised them until they were five or six without the
school system. Even though they know way more than the schools
about what their child's abilities and disabilities are.

I know of many special needs children who have flourished in home-
school. Don't be afraid to try!" -- Pam

Answer our NEW Question

"In about 4 months my son will be old enough for Drivers Ed . He has
been home schooling since the second grade. Can you give me some
tips on how to go to the public school and get him into their program?
I was going to try and home school him with Drivers Ed or even pay for
lessons myself then someone brought it to my attention that my tax
dollars pay for that in public school, so why not go through public
school? This is true and would save me lots of money... I'm just not
sure how to handle this. Thanks for any advice." -- Worried Mom


Do you have some advice for this mom? Please write in!
Send your responses to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net


Do you have a burning question that you can't ask just anyone?
Send it to HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if our readers can help you out.


Civil Air Patrol is an awesome and affordable program for kids
as young as 11 years old. My oldest son got his First Aid and CPA
certification, studied aerospace science, trained for search-and-rescue
missions, learned how to survive in the wilderness for up to 72 hours
with just the pack on his back, and had excellent leadership and
physical fitness training. He even got to pilot a plane!

This division (formerly auxiliary) of the US Air Force was formed just
before the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and has units all over the
country offering excellent opportunities for youth and adults to gain
valuable experience that will last a lifetime.

To locate a unit near you, just put in your zip code here:


To find out more about Civil Air Patrol, follow the links on this page:


Another homeschool mom recommended CAP to me a few years
ago and I was very grateful... so I am passing this "pick" onto you!

Interactive Email Group

In an effort to help our readers become more of an interactive
community, we have set up an email loop at YahooGroups called

Please sign-up for the group and take our poll, even if you want
to go "no mail" for the loop. This will help me to understand what
ages your children are, how you school, etc. (The information will
be kept anonymous and private, of course.)

Here is the link to sign-up and take the poll:



There are opportunities for you to be a sponsor of this
newsletter. If you are interested, drop an e-mail to
marketing@stretcher.com with "Homeschoolers-Notebook"
as the subject. We'll send you some information on how to
become a part of this ministry!


All contributed articles are printed with the author's prior
consent. It is assumed that any questions, tips or replies to
questions may be reprinted. All letters become the property of
the "Homeschooler's Notebook". [Occasionally your contribution
may have to be edited for space.]

Again, I welcome you to the group! Feel free to send any
contributions to HN-articles@familyclassroom.net or

Our main website is:

We also sponsor an incredible site with over 1,500 pages of helps!

And more resources and links can be found at Lynn Hogan's site:


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Next - Phys Ed - Our Readers Respond
Previous - Competitive High School Sports; Support for Home-Teaching Dads

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