Physical Education

Jumping on the trampoline on a perfect spring evening.

I was able to attend an Olympiad with my daughter.  It was a reenactment of ancient Greek Olympic games.  I got to be a city-queen.  
 This is [C] wrestling at the Olympiad.  It was beautiful to learn the philosophy behind it.  Not that different from Argentine tango.  

He could almost fly

Swimming at South Twin Lake, a favorite by now

 If they're going to make fires anyway, we may as well teach them how. 

Physical Education:
Our Curriculum

Since active play is omnipresent in our home, it would feel anticlimactic to have a curriculum for it.  Moving and learning are constant companions.  A public school teacher would probably be very anxious watching me teach, since my kids are upside down half the time, even during book work.  We play catch while we read ("every time you get to a period, you can throw a bean bag ..."), stand on our heads while we work out arithmetic, and climb rocks while we discuss minerals.

I also frequently take advantage of our available daytime hours to visit public spots that might be crowded after school and on weekends.  I love it when classes are offered during school hours, because it means we can participate in extracurricular activities and still be home for family dinner.

Here is how P.E. fits into our schedule:

It's real life.

It's finding balance.

Active play is even better outside, with a good stick and story fresh in your imagination.

They're kids.  They don't need to be told to lift weights, they do it all on their own. 

I had to include this "caught red-handed" photo because it's a realistic view of the antics my kids are capable of during unstructured play.  Clearly, the older sibling is calling the shots.  That's a monkey backpack (you know, the kind intended for child safety?) suspended from our chin-up bar.  Has the trampoline been placed there to break his fall?  Was the stool an afterthought to increase his potential energy? 

Their gymnastics classes give them some time apart.  

It also gives them practice following directions and being respectful in a group setting.

This was taken at a homeschool skating party over a year ago.

They're so cute and wobbly.

At gymnastics again, six months later.  I don't yet know if this is a passion for them, or if they just have a blast doing it.  We'll see.  

Nature hikes and recreation are built into our routine.  They don't even know what P.E. is.  

We roadschooled (with workbooks and audiobooks and museum stops ...the whole shebang) from Tennessee to Colorado to Canada and back last year.  Being mobile is a major perk to "home"schooling.

[A.] in Canada.  Hiking was an emphatic part of my family life growing up, and I hope my kids still love it when they're old like me.

Swimming lessons taught me a lot about parenting and teaching courage.  

We're the ones at the park or the gardens getting completely soaked.  There's always a change of clothes in the van.  If you are also at the park letting your kids get neck-deep in mud, chances are, I've asked you if you homeschool and already want to be friends.   

The Botanic Gardens was a favorite spot in Memphis.  This cool exhibit begins upstream where misters and speakers stimulate a rainstorm.

Recess may very well look like this.  

We are sentient beings.  Feeling leaves crunch in our hair and listening to insects and absorbing sunlight into our skin may matter more than we can comprehend.   

Learning to walk.

We played frisbee for hours that day.  With a plastic dinner plate.  

A typical winter walk in Memphis.

Hmm. Weighing the pros and cons of putting your feet in the pond.  That's why he takes his shoes off now. 

Pep talk.

Just hanging out at home, developing our vestibular systems.

Occasionally good, hard work plays a part in our physical education.  This was the second truckload of dirt the kids and I shoveled into the garden bed we raised.  I was so sore.  Of course, that might be because after every wheelbarrow dump, the kids wanted to take turns riding in the wheelbarrow while begging me to run faster.

More gymnastics photos.

Uncle Riley's not bad either.

Cousins make great rolling companions.  (At Thanksgiving Point, in Utah)

This one was taken in Bend, Oregon, where there are so many beautiful places to swim and run and climb.

Stopping to study toads at a nearby lake.  

We've made some great friends in Bend who like to get just as dirty as we do.

They all claimed that they buried the shoes, and that's why they can't find them.

Nature walk: looking for evidence of porcupines along the river.

In the forest. 

Family bike ride.  

My youngest had some balance issues to overcome relating to health problems he had as an infant.  Playing outside a lot has been wonderful for him. 

With his awesome physical therapist two years ago.

Going to doctor's appointments is not easy as a homeschool family.  At least these appointments had toys.

[A.] playing on his first real soccer team.  He had a great time.  I put him with his age group, the kindergartners, rather than his grade.

When we are stuck inside, we do this a lot.  I wonder if we should try fencing classes?

Roadschooling in Monterey.  We're the ones at the beach in November getting completely soaked. 

The sledding hill up the road.  That was enough exercise for one day.

Having one child encourage gross motor play with [G.] while I am working with another helps us get our work done.  It turns out music stands are useful for all kinds of things.

Being a parent is even more important than being a teacher, and watching their bodies grow is almost as rewarding as watching their minds grow.

This one is old enough to carry her own water now.  I'm grateful to have my load lightened.  

Park day.

We built a fort kit out of PVC pipes for Christmas.  This was the day he discovered you can make blow guns out of the pipes and the pom pom balls we use for sensory play.  Our house was a war zone.  Dodging bullets is great exercise ...

 ... as is igloo building.  Contrary to popular belief, we do take snow days:)

Right now, my young children are self-motivated and recreationally-driven when it comes to physical education.  I can imagine circumstances where more structure might be needed, but for now, this is an easy subject to make happen.  

I'm the one that struggles to exercise.  Another mom (and a good one) once told me that if she has to choose between helping her children exercise, and exercising herself, she always chooses the kids.  That is not something to be ashamed of, and it won't last forever.  I'm jealous of my kids sometimes.  This summer I went for a long walk by myself and actually stretched my legs.  I went at my own pace for the first time in 8 years.  It felt amazing.  But for now, walking at their pace is pretty amazing too.


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