Why You Need P.E. in Your Homeschool
I had the privilege to attend a Christian school through 5th grade. I loved every minute of it and I think my attendance there played a large part in shaping who I am today.
I especially enjoyed the opportunities for active play with my friends, and I had plans to play on the basketball team as soon as I got into junior high. I even won the award for “Most Athletic” one year. Just thinking about myself now as “Most Athletic” now seems laughable.
You see, after my 5th grade year my family moved away from that school and I was introduced into the home school experience. Although there were many reasons I enjoyed homeschooling, there were a number of things I missed about going to Christian school as well. One of the things I missed most was the opportunity for sports and recreation with my peers. My opportunities for playing sports were stripped away and I very quickly lost the skills that I had. When I did have the occasional opportunity to play basketball, I declined because I was so embarrassed about my lack of coordination.
When I began homeschooling my own children, I determined that I wanted them to have the opportunity to develop their athletic skills and not become an “awkward homeschooler.”
So the first reason I would say your home school should have P.E. as one of the included subjects is simply to give your child self-confidence. I believe self-confidence needs to be taught within the bounds of Scripture. In other words, our children need to be taught not to be prideful in their abilities, but to recognize that their abilities have been given to them by God and to develop them to their fullest potential. A lack of confidence can actually show pride just as much as being overly confident.
Having the skills to participate with others in sports will give your child the confidence he needs in other areas of life. But if your child is not able to play sports without looking like a nerd, he will assume that he is a nerd. Feeling awkward in athletics will make it easier for your child to act awkward in other social situations, thus giving more credibility to the ever-popular “socialization” argument against homeschooling.
Another reason I have P.E. in my homeschool is simply good old-fashioned exercise. We all know that exercise is crucial to a healthy body. As a mother, I want to keep my children healthy, so I want to make sure they get plenty of exercise and fresh air. I have outside time scheduled into every day and the kids are going to go outside whether they want to or not. But even when they go out, sometimes they decide they are going to sit around under the trees. That’s all fine and dandy, and I have no problem with it, but they are going to get some real exercise too! They’re going to get up and run! It’s required, kids!
While my kids are younger, P.E. is helping to develop their gross motor skills. Having clumsy kids around the house can be frustrating both to the parents and the children. And while I can and should be patient with them when there are accidents, I want to do what I can to help develop their coordination too.
Finally, P.E. helps develop self-discipline. If you can’t hit the ball the first time, or the second, or the third, you keep practicing until you can hit it! If you’re supposed to run three laps, and you get tired after two, you run the third one anyway! P.E. helps children learn to discipline themselves not to stop when the going gets tough. What a crucial character trait they will need for the rest of their lives! I don’t want it to be under-developed when I send my children out on their own.
I was blessed to receive the Horizons P.E. curriculum for K-2nd grade from Alpha Omega Publications.
I am very impressed with how thorough of a curriculum this is (it is a very thick book!) Who would have thought that there would be so much to say about P.E. for Kindergartners through 2nd graders? But after using this book I realized how little I knew about how to help my children’s bodies develop to their maximum potential.
Although the size of the book intimidated me at first, I was pleased to find simple day-by-day lesson plans in the back. I have 3 year’s worth of lesson plans completely done for me in an easy-to-follow format – I love that!
I also appreciate that the curriculum comes from a Christian perspective, giving ideas on how to solidify the character traits in my children that I mentioned above.
From a physical standpoint, the curriculum focuses on building strength, endurance, flexibility, and sports knowledge and it includes evaluation checklists to ensure my children are meeting psychomotor, intellectual, and decisional learning goals.
Although I have to adapt some of the lessons for use in homeschool (not enough children to do some of the activities), it would be a perfect choice for using in a homeschool co-op setting.
You can view the curriculum here to learn more.