P.E., or physical education, is a subject that seems to throw some people who just can’t imagine how it could be taught at home. There are so many possible ways to approach teaching P.E. though. Here are a few we’ve used over the years.
- Classes/Teams–We’ve been involved in some that were geared to anyone in the community. Martial arts studios, dance studios, community center teams, and more that are open to anyone in the community are options, but we’ve also gotten together with other homeschool parents and set up our own. We know a dad who grew up playing soccer who’s taught soccer to our kids for free for years. We’ve had dads who played tennis or golf teach their own homeschooled child along with some friends the sport the dad loves. Not that only dads love physical activities; we’ve had moms teach what they love, too–martial arts, swim team, general physical fitness, etc. We’ve even had parents who taught a sport, such as kickball, that they knew nothing about but that they were willing to research so their child could play it with friends. Being part of a homeschool support group can make finding or setting up such classes easier. Today, some communities even have companies that offer classes specifically for homeschoolers.
- Individual activities–Swimming, biking, running, hiking, skateboarding, and other activities that a child can do alone can be counted as P.E. After all, they involve getting out and exercising; don’t they? Even informal activities such as playing in the back yard, playing on the playground structures at a park, weeding the yard, etc. can count as P.E. If you want to ratchet it up a bit, include instruction on the activity. For example, we used 4-H curriculum on bicycle safety that taught the kids the rules of the road, how to maintain their bikes, the importance of helmets, etc. to add to the education aspect of riding their bikes. Instruction at a local pool to improve their swimming was part of their P.E. at one point.
- Safety/health–Safety and/or health can be part of P.E. We’ve used 4-H curriculum on first aid as well as books on health, and hands-on classes about CPR and babysitting certification as part of their P.E. We’ve gone to talks by water safety experts, toured hospitals, a chiropractor’s office, watched demonstrations on massage therapy, had a doctor instruct the kids in taking vital signs, and more for this.
- Upping the game–Sometimes P.E. class doesn’t involve actually getting up and doing things. We’ve enhanced some activities by reading about the history of a sport, studying the rules, and watching games on television or in person and discussing the rules we saw violated or the strategies involved.
- Off the beaten path activities–We’ve even done a few things for P.E. that seem less conventional. We’ve taken training in archery and are starting an archery club through 4-H. My son is involved in Young Marines which does a lot of running and exercises each week, plus marches in parades, goes camping, and does other physical activities that we count as P.E. (The public schools around here will even count marching band as meeting their P.E. requirement as well as counting as a music class, so some activities might count twice.) We’ve used the Wii game to play golf, bowl, and dance.
P.E. really shouldn’t be hard for homeschoolers to figure out though I’ve known a few people to worry about it. There are so many options for P.E. and I remember that in my public high school, our P.E. grade was based on dressing in a P.E. uniform, participating, and showering–so if you have to count hours for high school credits or something, don’t forget that prepping for the activity and cleaning up afterwards can be counted towards the needed hours.