Homeschooling Physical Education

Is homeschooling physical education important? How can I teach it? What activities can we do? These are some questions I’ll try to help you answer.

Philosophy of physical education

We need to start here, because the type of homeschooling physical education we do, depends on our philosophy of homeschooling phys ed.

children golfing

God’s Word should be the foundation for all of our philosophy. Let’s open these sacred pages...

“Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next” (Philippians 4:8, NLT, italics mine).

God’s Word teaches us that spiritual exercise is by far the most important, but physical exercise also has some value.

What is the value of physical exercise? Active people tend to be healthy people, and we can use our health to glorify God. Is this important? It certainly is to our family!

How do we teach our children to have an active lifestyle? How will homeschooling physical education help us teach this? We have a very simple formula:

If our children have fun being active, they will be active.

Homeschooling Physical Education may not be as hard as you thought! The goal is simply to teach them to enjoy being active. When you see them becoming active on their own, you know you are succeeding.

little girl golfing

It’s important to teach this at a young age. If our children don’t learn to enjoy being active while they are young, it’s unlikely that they will ever learn it. This is one reason that we limit the use of computer and video games, and don't use TV.

Dad, have you been looking for a way to get more involved in your homeschool? Homeschooling Physical Education can be a great subject for dad to teach. Hey, you can get serious about having fun with your kids! :)

Plan this into your schedule so you don’t neglect it. Pull out that smartphone and make a recurring appointment - “Phys Ed!” You keep your appointments at work, right? Keep them at home, too.

I love being active, so this is a fun subject for me to teach. I don’t stress out about it, or concern myself with a very formal “Physical Education”. I focus on having fun together.

A Safe Place

One possible reason why many children are out of shape, is that it can be difficult to find safe places for them to play. It’s our responsibility as a parent to find safe places where our children can play and enjoy being active.

For us this is easy because we live in the country. If you live in the city you may need to work harder to find these safe places. Consider the YMCA, parks, McDonald’s play-places, or whatever you have available to you.

Some Phys Ed Activities We Enjoy

Maybe this will stimulate your thinking, and help you think of activities that will work for you.

  • Pitch and catch. For a younger child I may use a softer ball that won’t hurt them if they get hit by it. A tennis ball or t-ball work great for this. For an older child we may use a baseball. Occasionally we will set up bases and play a ballgame. We have lots of tun even though there are only two people on a team.
  • Push my young daughters on the swing.
boy golfing
  • Golf in our yard. We just pick out something for a target (a tree, an object in the yard, etc), and aim for it. When we get there, we pick out another target and aim for it. They love it! We have occasionally gone to a local (and very cheap) golf course that provided lots of enjoyable activity for only a few dollars.
  • Throw a frisbee.
  • Rollerblade or bike at the park.
  • Tennis. A nearby town has tennis courts where we can play for free. We just need our tennis racquets and balls, and we are equipped to have hours of fun activity. Our children are young, so we don’t usually keep score or concern ourselves with rules. We just have a great time hitting the ball back and forth over the net.
  • Ripstik. A ripstik is somewhat of a combination of skateboard, and snowboard. It is lots of fun, and teaches great balance. I provided some great entertainment for my son while I was learning to ride!
  • Go for walks as a family. We live along a country dirt road that has very little traffic. Sometimes some of the children will bike, my wife and I will walk, and we push the younger ones in a stroller.
  • Basketball. We found a used basketball goal, and put it up in our yard. We don’t have any pavement or concrete, so we just play in the grass.
  • Swimming. In the summertime we set up a swimming pool. This is an especially great activity for us, because our summers usually get very warm. Temperatures of 105 degrees Fahrenheit are not unusual. I love coming home from work on a hot day, and jumping in the pool with the children.
  • Skiing and snowboarding are favorite winter sports, but not one that we do very often. Sadly, they are rather expensive. :(
  • Ice skating. This is another favorite winter sport. There is a small, shallow pond close to our house. Last winter the conditions were just right, and our boys had many happy hours skating on the pond. After that is the perfect time for hot chocolate!This illustrates the goal of Homeschooling Physical Education: I taught them to ice skate, and now they have developed such a love for it that sometimes they go without me! They learned how to ice skate very young, and already have a life-long love of it. They are learning to enjoy being active.

Tips To Remember

Character development is much more important than competition. Teach things like good sportsmanship/how to be a good loser.

boys snowboarding

If a child finds it difficult to accept losing, stop and talk about it together.

One healthy type of competition can be to have your children compete against themselves. If it’s a timed activity, they can keep track of their own time and try to beat it.

If it’s a softball game they could keep track of their runs in a game, and see if they can get more runs the next game. The focus becomes doing their best, rather than beating someone else.

Summary

In the end, this isn’t really about homeschooling physical education. This is about us parents spending time with our children. It’s about building relationships that enable us to teach our children the ways of God.

When this happens, our children are getting both kinds of exercise that are mentioned in the verse above - physical exercise and spiritual exercise.

Now THAT is what I call good homeschooling physical education!

Glad to be dad,

LaVerne

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