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Physical Education for Homeschoolers

by Jessica Parnell | Nov 27, 2015 | 3 min read

Anyone who’s attended a school remembers PE.  Some of us can even remember the garish colored uniforms we had to wear, or the infamous mile run around the track we had to complete when it came to annual fitness testing.  Some of us dreaded PE and some of us considered it the highlight of the day.  Whatever end of the spectrum you landed on, it was an undeniable truth: you needed PE to graduate from high school.

If you’re creative, you can come up with a variety of activities that will count as credit.  Basically, if your child is getting exercise, he is engaged in PE.  That being said, it’s a great opportunity to set habits of good nutrition, healthy living, and physical exercise that can last a lifetime. You can even set goals for participating in events such as local charity runs or other fun competitions.

Homeschoolers are basically free to choose which activities they’d like to pursue for PE credit.  However, there is a little bit of investigating that needs to happen for you to decide if you’ll simply strive for the state minimum or raise the requirement bar higher. The following list provides some great examples of how you can earn physical education  for your homeschooler.

  1.  Consider team sports. Soccer, football, basketball, cross country, lacrosse, swimming, baseball, and volleyball are all great team sports that your child might be interested in pursuing.  Some homeschooling families start their own leagues or you can check with your local schools to see if you can participate with their team. This is a great way to fulfill a highschool PE requirement while providing socialization and building other life skills.
  2.  The Presidential Active Lifestyle Award.   Open to kids, teens, and adults, this program encourages goal setting for nutrition and exercise. It is possible to earn an award in less than two months.
  3.  Consider neighborhood activities for younger kids.  For younger children, choosing PE activities is a cinch.  They are natural movers, so it’s easy to find activities that can be counted toward PE credit.  How about climbing a neighborhood tree or running around at the park?  Think about all the times you’ve told your little one to sit still, and then think about how their wiggles could be used to your advantage in a PE curriculum.
  4.  Try activities that you can do alone.  Some children aren’t interested in team sports, but still enjoy being active by playing sports such as surfing, tennis, yoga courses, zumba, racquetball, ultimate Frisbee, and even rock climbing. How about martial arts, dance, fencing or golf?  Check with local gyms to see if there are any classes your kids are interested in trying.
  5. Contact your local YMCA. Many YMCA’s provide homeschooling days that your child can use their facilities. This is a great way to interact with other homeschoolers while learning to swim or play sports!
  6.  Think outside the box.  Other ways to earn PE credit include participation in marching band or R.O.T.C. For those teenagers that dislike the outdoors but love technology, try combining the two. Using something like the WiiFit to fulfill PE requirements could get a techie teen a bit more motivated. Couch to 5K is a popular program for less active teens who wish to get in shape. Every community has walks and runs that benefit various charities, as well.
  7. Look online! Homeschoolers can find online programs that give workout exercises and help log the hours. Check out an example by clicking here.

One important tip for homeschooling families to remember while looking for physical education for homeschoolers is that state requirements vary. As with other subjects in your curriculum, you’ll need to research specific physical education requirements for your state. In some states PE is only required for high school students for a single year, but as parents you always have the option to set your homeschool requirements higher than the state minimum requirements.  You can also check here to find out about the legal components of incorporating physical education into your homeschool curriculum.

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Jessica Parnell
Hello everyone! I’m Jessica Parnell — mom, homeschool evaluator, teacher, and CEO of Bridgeway Academy. In my 20+ years of experience as a homeschool mom and evaluator, I have had the privilege of meeting homeschoolers that take a variety of approaches to their education. It is their many stories and successes that inspire me in my own homeschooling and I love to pass on the knowledge that I have gained from them to other homeschooling families. The one constant that always remains true is that there’s no such thing as a “cookie cutter child.” Each child is fearfully and wonderfully made and as a result, learns and functions differently. It’s our job to ensure that we’re raising each child to fulfill their individual purpose and when we can teach in a way that inspires them, we are on our way to homeschool success. When I’m not writing or teaching my children, I like to ski, write and participate in triathlons. I graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Masters in English and I am currently pursuing a degree in Neuroleadership.
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