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Phys Ed - Our Readers Respond

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, March 31, 2006

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 7 No 13 March 31, 2006
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2006 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!

Directions for subscribing and unsubscribing are below.



Notes from the Editor
-- P.E. Reader Responses
Helpful Tips
-- Teaching a Language
Question of the Week
-- Your Questions
-- Your Answers
Editor's Picks
-- CountryReports.org
-- Subscriber Information
-- Sponsorship Information

Notes from Heather

Homeschool Family Phys Ed

Many readers wrote in this past week to share their personal choices
for P.E. for their families, and I want to share these with you!

One reader commented particularly on the development of Phys Ed
as part of the standard curriculum. I found this very interesting!

"I was an education major in college, and had to take a "teaching P.E."
class as part of the graduation requirement (I hated the class, by the
way -- I had absolutely no interest whatsoever in EVER teaching P.E.
in an elementary school setting). Anyway, I cannot remember the
source that was cited, but the reason given for P.E. being added to
public school curriculum was "to teach and encourage making proper
use of leisure time." After all, having any leisure time at all is a
fairly recent phenomenon (early last century), so this would explain why
P.E. is a relatively recent addition to the curriculum as well."


And another reader brought up two more excellent programs I failed to

"Hi Heather,

Thank you for recommending CAP to your readers.

My children are involved with Young Marines (www.youngmarines.com),
which has given us structure, physical activity, leadership training,
colorguard and wonderful opportunities to meet veterans. (My daughter
has met survivors of the Battle of the Midway and Pearl Harbor.) Young
Marines is for children ages 8 to high school.

Another group that has done wonders for children is the Navy Sea
Cadets (www.seacadets.org) for youth 11-17 years.

Although these groups are headed up by inactive or retired military per-
sonnel, they are not recruiting tools.

Thanks for opening the door."

Diana Hyatt
Executive Officer
Lock City Young Marines


"I would like to add Boy Scouts to that list. My two teenage sons are
very involved in their troop. I have been amazed at the requirements
for many of their badges. To earn their hiking badge they had to
completed several 5, 10, and 20 mile hikes over various types of
terrain. This weekend they are continuing working on their bicycling
badge by completing a 25 mile bike ride (they have already completed
several 5, 10 and 15 mile rides!). There are a lot of physical
activities that accompany many of these badges, as well as being an
excellent educational supplement, character builder, and preparation
for becoming leaders in their future. And, if you can find a good
troop who's leader puts their spiritual growth a high priority as well,
who could ask for more?" -- Camille in OK


"Due to some health problems, I've recently begun walking with a friend
daily, and take my 14 year old son along for his "daily" PE. Other than
that, we have worked on a variety of Boy Scout athletic-type merit
badges: Cycling, Personal Fitness, Hiking; each of these combines the
physical activity with information about safety, first-aid, benefits,
etc. For Cub Scout aged boys, there are several opportunities for
learning games, sports, etc., also. Libraries and thrift stores are a
great source for videos for not only dance, but aerobics, kickboxing,
etc." -- Sherry A.


"Our children participate in "Davidic Dance" that one of the churches
here offers for free. They twirl flags, learn patterns for streamer and
tambourines. Its hard work and they are learning to praise God at the
same time! We have a family singing group and we often include some of
their dance routines into our performances at homeschool conferences,
weddings, store openings or whatever comes our way.

We also have "loud day". We put on our favorite rowdy music and get
out all the instruments and jump around making as much noise as we
possibly can. Trust me, for a forty year old mom, that's a lot of hard
work too!"


"I love this topic! My husband races in triathlons (and this past
summer raced in his first Ironman race). He has always been more
naturally interested in more independent sports. When he was younger
-- swim team (which is a team, but you really race against yourself),
ski team (same idea), then as a teen it was weightlifting. Next came
rock climbing (lots of kids might like that one!), then came running
in a marathon which quickly morphed into triathlons and then the
Ironman races. With all these under his belt it's no wonder we've
shied away from team sports. Our experiences with those were not great
anyway -- mostly because you're expected to be there for numerous
practices and games -- and that is with only one child! My oldest has
been in a triathlon and begs to do another one (the triathlon scene is
amazing for its attitudes -- other than the elite athletes who do it
for a living -- everyone else is there to do their best and when you
attend one it is SUCH a wonderful atmosphere. They have triathlons for
ages 5 and up (No joke! It is so cute!) We are looking at putting our
two oldest in a local kids' running group this spring/summer. They do
a lot of running games to make it fun and they have it for ages 5 and
up. Besides organized sports we also like to take the kids skating and
to family swims (getting family passes for these types of things can
make it very affordable). My oldest two and husband absolutely love
being in Karate together (we attend a Christian club). Add in a few
nice walks on some local trails and there you have it - phys ed!"
-- Brenda in Ontario, CA


"I am a lucky gal who works at a women-only fitness center. I get paid
to workout and chat with other ladies! It doesn't get much better! :-)

Anyway, I am always welcome to bring my 13 year old daughter with
me any time our schedules coincide. We have a variety of strength and
toning machines, as well as card activities. It's a very friendly,
noncompetitive opportunity for my daughter to get in some structured
activity once or twice a week, in addition to some light weight training
at home.

I don't know about other fitness centers, but our policy is that a
member can bring her daughter, niece, granddaughter, etc., provided the
young lady is 4' 10" tall in order to safely use equipment. It's worth
checking into, and having someone join you for your own workout makes it
much more enjoyable." -- Jonna in Indiana


"Hi Heather, I don't know why it took me this long to sign up for your
newsletter, but it's about time! Love it!

I just wanted to let you know.....when my children were younger we
would do these "CAN DO" workout videos. http://www.candokids.com/

Each tape (+, - , x, divide) has kids doing different exercises while
saying their math facts. Even my one year old at the time would tell
me, 'donkey kicks, donkey kicks' when he wanted to do the videos.

Thanks Heather for all you do for us homeschoolers and keep up the
great job you are doing with your wonderful family." -- Deanna R.

[Editor's note: Thanks, Deanna, for the encouraging words!]


"Hi Heather! I looked for a PE style program for my daughter and came
across a martial arts program that she & I could take together. Long
story made short, three years later I have my first degree black belt
and my daughter is a junior black belt. I'm now teaching a Christian
based karate class for homeschoolers and their parents. We're having so
much fun! The kids are just amazed to see their moms (no dads in
class yet) learn to defend themselves. I know it brought my daughter
and I closer to be able to do martial arts together and I'm seeing the
same result with other families in my class as they promote through
the belt ranks. Martial arts can be a great workout & a huge confidence
builder for those kids who don't enjoy team sports. And you don't have
to be a "super athlete" because there are so many styles of martial arts
- anyone can do it! Definitely do your research before joining a class.
Some classes are ran more like bootcamp and seem to tear down self-
esteem rather than build it. Also, in my class, I teach karate as self-
defense, not as a means of violence towards others. There are some
great programs around& also some great videos to learn the arts at
home." -- Dawn B.1st Degree Black Belt & Homeschooling Mom


"We are blessed to live in NH's White Mountains, within an hour of six
downhill ski areas. Several offer deep discounts for midweek school
groups. This winter, our homeschool group skied every Thursday for
nine weeks at a total cost of $30 per family. For three of us, it
worked out to $1 per person per day. This did not include equipment,
which could be rented for $40 for the season. It did include two
"volunteer clinics" (free ski lessons, so that we could do a better job
teaching our kids)! It was awesome!" -- Alice Corbett in New Hampshire


"Our family believes that if the Lord blesses us with strength, agility,
coordination, etc., we are to use those gifts to serve others, not to
gain glory for ourselves. In our family, while we do play an occasional
volleyball game (over the clothesline), go for a bike ride, jump rope,
skate, swim, etc., we try to focus our physical activity in productive
work, and especially search for opportunities to help others. We have
elderly widows in our community who frequently need help with house-
hold maintenance. We shovel snow, repair roofs, maintain lawns, paint
houses, tear out and build fences, take out dead trees, chop wood, do
gardening, and many other jobs that require physical effort. When those
ladies don't need us, there's always plenty of it to do at our house.
It's PE with a purpose." -- Mary Beth



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

"One of the best ways to teach a second language is by teaching
a 3rd language. We use sign language to connect the words together.
There are books, tapes, videos, and even friends that know the language
as we were learning." -- BonnieSue (from HomeschoolingBOYS.com)

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

Last Issue's 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

Our Readers' Responses

"It will depend on what state you live in what the laws are. In Illinois
all I needed to do was provide my daughter's birth certificate, a letter
stating that she is homeschooled and has passed at least 8 classes
in the past 2 years (I did not have to tell them what the classes were),
and a letter stating that I wanted her to be enrolled in driver's ed.
Just in case, I printed out a copy of the laws that pertained to
driver's ed and homeschooled students. But I didn't have any trouble at
all with my school system here." -- Tami in IL


"I'm not sure how it is in the rest of the country, but schools here
are charging students for driver's ed. Some schools are not even
offering driver's ed. Due to insurance costs, the cost of owning and
maintaining the cars, and budget cuts most schools cannot afford to
either offer this program or offer it for free. Even the people who
have kids in school are paying for this one.

A lot of driver's ed. schools have popped up in our area. Ask other
parents with children who've already gotten their license or are in the
process about who they've used, cost, and how well they think the
teachers did with their students.

We, personally, didn't let our son go for his license until after 17.
He's now a professional truck driver and has driven nearly 4 years
without an accident. It may have just been his calling, but I would like
to think that we stressed the gravity of driving safely and it made an
impression on him as well." -- Dorie


"I certainly understand the feeling that since our tax dollars pay for
services in the public schools we should be able to utilize them. It is
not my place to judge anyone who chooses to do so, so this answer is not
intended to be critical but just to offer my suggestion. In some states,
such as Missouri where we now live, the law mandates that the public
schools accommodate the needs of homeschoolers when logistically
possible. However, there are other states where this is not the case,
so whether homeschoolers can use public school drivers ed classes
will depend on the locality. My personal opinion is that even if such
an arrangement might be available, I would prefer to keep away from the
government education bureaucracy as much as I can. Therefore, as a
homeschooling parent I (and we do have a 15-year old) will simply count
my taxes for the drivers ed classes as loss (as I do with all public
school services) and either teach my children drivers ed myself (some
states, such as Ohio where we used to live, simply do not allow this
option) or pay for their driving school out of my own pocket, just as I
buy their own curriculum out of my own pocket." -- Wayne in MO


"You don't say where you are from, but here in our area school budgets
have been cut so much that drivers ed is no longer offered in school --
everyone pays extra for it. If your school still offers drivers ed in
the curriculum, then you will need to check district policy on allowing
homeschoolers to take classes. Many districts will allow high school
students to take 1 or 2 classes at the public school, provided there is
space in the class. Alternatively, many homeschoolers wait until their
child is 18, thereby eliminating the need for drivers ed. (In
Wisconsin, as well as at least some other states, a certified drivers
ed course is required before age 18.) My daughter recently passed her
drivers test. We paid privately for her drivers ed, although several
years ago we let her know she would be responsible for half the cost. We
wanted her to develop good financial habits so that she would be able to
afford gas, and eventually insurance and maintenance costs." -- Laurie


[Editor's note: Here in Michigan we are required (as well as the public
school families) to arrange for our children to take "pay for" driver's
ed segments from local driving schools. A mom recently organized some
homeschool driving classes at a group discount with a program that has
consistently had rave reviews from other homeschool families! So you
might want to work out something like that. Do your homework first! If
you do happen to live in a state where you are allowed to do driver's
training classes as a part of your homeschool program (Texas might be
like that), you might want to consider "Driver's Ed in a Box". I've
personally heard good things about it. http://www.driveredinabox.com/]

Answer our NEW Question

We didn't have any new questions sent in this week, so I am going to
pose a fun one of my own.

Since Spring is finally here, what plans does your family have for
nature fieldtrips, outdoor hiking, gardening, or other out-of-doors and
nature-related learning activities? Anyone raising chickens for the
very first time... or starting their very first garden? Anybody
starting a new building project? Let's hear about any outdoor fun you
have planned this year!

I'd love to hear from YOU! :-)


Send your emails to: heather@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.


My "pick of the week" for this issue is CountryReports.org

A year's subscription is only $10.00... so that is $10 for your entire
geography curriculum for the year! This site is a lot of fun and comes
highly recommended by Maggie Hogan, author/publisher of some great
geography books herself. (Her site is http://www.brightideaspress.com)

CountryReports.org provides historical, cultural and statistical
information on the countries of the world.

- Over 26,000 pages on over 260 countries
- Histories from Ancient to Modern times
- Country Statistics from 1990 - Present
- National Anthems and Lyrics
- Cultural Information
- Ethnic Recipes
- Learning Games
- Common Phrases Translated
- Compare and Contrast Data
- Photo Gallery
- Country Holiday Calendar
- Maps and Flags
- Thousands of Related Links
- No Advertisements

You can check out a "sample" country to see what they have to offer
for such a reasonable subscription price:


I don't have any affiliation with them, but it sure looks great!

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
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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
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