Making the Most of Homeschool PE
As a homeschool mom of 2 young kids, one of my favorite parts of homeschooling is the flexibility and opportunity to go beyond traditional physical education (PE). Homeschooling allows for active time beyond the limitation of once-a-week PE class and 20-minute recess. This means I can be active while the kids are getting in their activity time. This keeps me sane, healthy, and models continued activity as an adult.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that elementary and middle school students get at least 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. This includes both cardiovascular and bone-building exercises (strength training). The AAP also recommends that teenagers engage in 60 minutes of physical activity most days, with three days for building muscle and bone strength. The AAP recognizes that parents have an active role in modeling an active lifestyle. The CDC recommends that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic and 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity. Being active together as a family models healthy behavior for a lifetime.
One of our favorite homeschool PE ideas is getting outside on the playground together, so everyone can get involved. While one kid is swinging, the other is running the monkey bars, and mom can get in on the action by using the slide to do incline push-ups. Doing a homeschool recess that we can all be active in means the rest of the day is dedicated to homeschooling or whatever else we need. As a family, we enjoy the daily activity together during the homeschool physical education period. And when you don’t have time to pack everyone up to the park, you can bring the park to your backyard with a fitness playset - recess and a workout all in your backyard!
Equipment for Multi-Purpose Backyard Play & PE
SwingSesh goes beyond the traditional backyard playset - it’s a swing set for all ages because it integrates functional fitness equipment suitable for the whole family. It’s the best playset for homeschoolers because it provides the equipment to integrate more advanced physical education for older kids with fun recess play for younger kids. A major benefit of these fitness playsets is the modular build of the SwingSesh allows for manipulation and adjustment of the playground as children's needs grow and develop. Swap out the swing for your favorite infant swing for the youngest in the family. With a monkey bar rung height of 7 ½ feet, even adults can get on the action. Older kids, or adults, may enjoy the addition of a 15-foot climbing rope or gymnastics rings. The fitness playset can be upgraded to have a squat rack posts with 1-inch allowing for J-cups or spotter arms to be attached, meaning that weightlifting for older kids or adults can be added to the recess. It is a lifetime investment in PE for every member of the family.
Another benefit of the modular build of the fitness playsets is that it can be easily disassembled and reassembled. This is convenient for military families, like ourselves, who move frequently or want to modify the playset over time.
- Monkey Bars. More than just monkeying around, monkey bars are an excellent exercise for kids and adults. The repetitive movement of gripping and moving across the monkey bars develops muscle throughout the arm and hand. It also builds on hand-eye coordination, utilized throughout various sports and everyday life. Timed runs across the monkey bars elevate the heart rate providing cardiovascular exercise, like a sprint on the monkey bars – and one your kids might beat you on.
Dead Hang. Go beyond monkeying around and add in a dead hang. This develops and tests grip strength. SwingSesh fitness playsets have pull-up bars at either 8-foot or 6-foot heights. A pull-up bar can be added at any height for kids.
Lunges. Children are masters of flexibility. They sit Indian style without thinking. Build on and maintain this flexibility with simple lunges. Elevate the lunges by putting one leg up on the platform and lunging toward the elevated leg. Rotate to the elevated leg in the back and lunge toward the forward leg on the ground.
- Swings. This is a family swing set! Everyone can get on the swings to pump their heart rate while pumping their legs. Or use the swings for a row. Stand behind the swing and pull the swing to your chest, with your feet firmly planted, lean back, and then pull up toward the swing. This exercise works the arms, back, and core. Make sure to squeeze the abdomen to avoid injury to your back.
- Sit Ups. Lay on the platform and stick your feet under the bottom step to secure your legs. Or if sit-ups are too generic, or you have a gymnast in the family that needs to further develop their abdominal muscles, try hanging sit-ups! Hang from a ladder pull-up bar or end monkey bar and curl up toward your feet. Make sure to have a spotter for hanging sit-ups.
- Weightlifting. Add weights, even 2- or 5-pound weights for small children new to weightlifting, to exercises like lunges to add a toning element. Balance and core development help with skills utilized in ballet, karate, or soccer.
- Operation Fit Kids - free website with PE and nutrition lesson plans for grades 3-8, an excellent resource for homeschoolers to add a different element of learning.
- Savage Patch Kids App helps parents coach their kids in developing the proper form for various weight training exercises. The application has videos for different age groups showing how to perform the exercise safely. Exercising is essential, but learning to perform them properly is vital for muscle development, body awareness, and confidence.
- Go Noodle is a free website with videos for indoor recess. This is a winner when it's pouring or snowing outside for multiple days, and you must get the energy out. The website also shares different workouts, including form checks for various exercises, which is excellent for those new to activities.
Doing homeschool recess together as a family is fun and a great way to add physical activity to the daily schedule for every family member and builds a foundation for children to remain active beyond school and as an adult. The impact of physical activity impacts overall health in addition to focusing on subjects in school. Check out these fitness playsets, designed for the whole family to play and grow together!