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PE isn’t a Real Subject… is it?

As homeschooling parents, one of the often overlooked subjects is Physical Education.

But is PE a “real” subject?

Of course it is! It’s also very important for a child’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Learning to stay active as a child will also help a child remain active as an adult.

There are many studies which show regular physical activity helps reduce stress levels and provides for a better night’s sleep. Don’t believe me? Check out these links: Kids Health and Exercise for Children and 10 Benefits of Physical Activity

Physical activity for children doesn’t have to be typical sports like baseball, football, basketball, volleyball, and soccer. There are also activities like:

  • swimming
  • tennis
  • martial arts
  • gymnastics
  • dance
  • fencing
  • horseback riding
  • golf
  • ice skating
  • roller skating
  • laser tag
  • bowling
In addition to being great exercise, martial arts helps with self discipline, respect, and confidence.

In addition to being great exercise, martial arts helps with self discipline, respect, and confidence.

Keep in mind many sports are seasonal, while others are year-round. No matter which activity you and your child choose, make sure they stay active even in the off-season.

In our family we are quite partial to martial arts. I just can’t say enough great things about how much karate has helped our children. Sure they’ve learned self-defense and have greater flexibility and muscle strength, but the most important lessons they’ve learned are discipline, respect, focus, and confidence. My very wiggly, “can’t sit still longer than two minutes” 6 year old became a focused and calm 7 year old after just a few months. I highly recommend martial arts for ALL children, (it’s not just for boys). The benefits are for life!

Can’t afford to pay for special classes for your children?

family fun run

Our daughter, age 5, walking with my husband in a kids fun run downtown.

No worries! Try some of these ideas:

  • Schedule 20 minutes twice a week for your family to walk around the neighborhood.
  • Go for a family bike ride.
  • See who can do the most push-ups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks.
  • Have a hula-hoop contest. See which member of your family can hula the longest.
  • See who can jump rope across the driveway first, or see who jump rope the longest without tripping.
  • Plan a scavenger hunt at the local park or around your neighborhood.
  • Go Geocaching. If you plan a route where there are many geocaches you’ll get plenty of exercise by getting in and out of the car frequently and seeing who can find the geocache first.
  • Enter the whole family in a Family Fun Run or Walk-a-thon. Most of these everyone walks and/or runs at their own pace.
  • Go roller skating on their cheap-skate day/time (often this is only $4 per skater)
  • Take them to a jump house place like Pump-it-Up, House of Bounce, Jumps-a-lot, Kangaroos, etc. on a regular basis.
  • Join your local YMCA. They offer family memberships which include swimming pool and gym access, plus many other benefits. Staying active as a family is well-worth the cost.

The key is to actually get out there and do it. Children watch what we adults do. If we’re sitting on the couch day after day and aren’t interested in going for a 20 minute walk, why should they be interested?

 

Haven’t seen an activity your child would be interested in yet?

iceskating

Ice skating (and roller skating) is great exercise. It also improves balance, coordination, and confidence.

As parents sometimes we just have to give them a little push. Schedule a time for them to go for a walk or bike ride with friends. Offer to take them bowling, roller skating, or to play laser tag with friends. Think laser tag isn’t physical? Ha! You obviously haven’t played it. There’s a lot of fast-walking, ducking behind obstacles, poking your head around corners, crouching down to avoid on-coming fire, etc. Trust me, you’ll be sweating after 1-2 games. We try to go every couple of months and use it for report card rewards as well.

While ice skating isn’t available year round, roller skating is! Both activities will improve balance and coordination. Plus working all those different muscles takes a lot of energy. Invite some friends. Exercise is ALWAYS better with friends. Even for us adults!

Horseback riding helps build core muscles, strengthens leg muscles, improves balance, coordination, and focus.

Horseback riding helps build core muscles, strengthens leg muscles, improves balance, coordination, and focus.

When it comes to getting children active, horseback riding is often overlooked. I think most people consider it a leisure activity, but really it takes a whole lot of muscles to stay balanced and seated properly when walking, trotting, turning, and stopping a horse. It doesn’t matter whether your child is interested in English or western style, both will improve your child’s physical and mental health.

How much exercise should my child get each day?

According to the CDC Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, 60 minutes each day. Think it’s not possible? Don’t worry, it IS possible! It just takes planning it into your family schedule gradually. Start with the above tips, slowly adding in some activities several times a week and go from there. Oh, and if your child begins complaining they’re tired after an activity, that’s okay. It’s GOOD to be tired after exercise. A child who has worked hard exercising will work up an appetite and sleep better.

 

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Posted by on March 11, 2016 in My Thoughts on Homeschooling

 

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Tracking Grades and Why I Create Report Cards

math testWhy Keep Track of Grades?

Tracking grades helps me have a record to look back on to see how the children have progressed in each subject.

In some states keeping track of grades is mandatory, however many states (such as ours) require only attendance records and mention nothing about grades. It’s up to you if want to record your child’s grades. Some parents use a portfolio which may include samples of their child’s best work, photos of projects, a list of field trips, and a list of any community service work their child has done. Other parents record numerous tests, daily grades, project grades, and so forth.

I don’t recommend grading every piece of paper your child completes, nor do I recommend putting a large amount of emphasis on the grade for each test or project. It’s more important to encourage a child to do their best, follow directions, and use neatness. For this reason I rarely discuss grades for individual projects or quizzes with the children. After a written test they immediately want to know how many they got wrong, but this is typical for everyone, no matter our age.

science social studies exampleHow Can I Grade Subjects Like PE and Art?

I keep track of grades from tests, oral quizzes and project grades for most subjects.Then at the end of the quarter every subject gets a daily work grade which is usually decided based on these three factors:

1. Completed daily assignments on-time
2. Neatness
3. Followed Instructions

For subjects like PE where there typically isn’t any written assignments I grade the children on:

1. Participation (always trying their best)
2. Attitude (willingness to do what is asked with minimal complaining)
3. Following Instructions

These same factors can be applied to Art or Music as well. Don’t be too easy or too hard on your children. Think about their work from an outsider’s perspective. Did they really put forth effort and try their best?

What do I Use to Track Grades?

Some people use a teacher record book or homeschool grade book.

Other families use an app like Homeschool Helper, which can be really helpful if you have a tablet or smart phone. (I’ve used it only briefly, but I liked what I saw).

I use a spreadsheet software called LibreOffice Calc (it’s very similar to Microsoft Excel). Any type of spreadsheet software should work. When I first open a new document I rename the tabs at the bottom my children’s names. Then each child has their own page.
Next I list the subjects across the top and simply copy/paste the subjects to the other children (modifying any that may different for a child in a different grade). After that it’s simple to list the date on the far left and each graded item under the subject column. Be as specific as you want to be. I’ve found giving more details helps me when I look back a few quarters later.

grades example sm

Example of spreadsheet with grades. Note the child name tabs at the bottom.

As you can see above, I put the final quarter grades in blue. For the next quarter I just skip a few lines and then keep going. It’s much easier to keep all of one year on a page, plus if you name the document Grades 2014.2015 or something similar you can easily find the year you’re wanting later on.

I HIGHLY recommend putting a copy of your child’s grades in a cloud storage place such as Google Drive or similar. Computer hard drives go bad, lightning strikes, and all sorts of mishaps can happen. A backup of their grades in a cloud storage will allow you to retrieve their grades from any computer no matter where you are, all you’ll need to do is log-in to Google.

Why Would a Home-schooled Child Need a Report Card?reportcards 2014

While a report card isn’t a NEED for most homeschool families it sure has its benefits.

#1 Our children have answers ready for the inevitable question of, “What did you make on your report card?”

#2 Local rewards for As!
Get a free doughnut at Krispy Kreme for each A (up to 6 for free). Get a free Happy Meal at select McDonald’s for straight As. Get a free game of laser tag at Lazer Zone for straight As. I’m sure there are other places that give rewards for As, but these are the ones I know of.

Get your own report cards.

Get your own achievement certificates.

Do you do things differently? Have any suggestions or comments? Please leave a comment.

 

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2014 in Record Keeping

 

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