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Why Exercise Solves Homeschool Sibling Rivalry

by Abby Parnell | Apr 02, 2017 | 3 min read

As the oldest child in my family, homeschool sibling rivalry constantly reared its ugly head. I often thought that my siblings were annoying or too clingy. I remember my sister always wanting to play with my friends, read my books, or wear my clothes (although honestly, this one went both ways). Now that I’m older though, I love being able to relate to her over the same things; and it helps our relationship grow stronger. But during school, it often turned into conflict.

Homeschool Sibling Rivalry Begins

When my sister Hannah and I homeschooled together, I was always frustrated by having to wait for her, or sometimes, keep up with her academically—definite homeschool sibling rivalry! We did all the same things, we played piano, played soccer, read the same books, and wore the same kind of clothes. Because of this, we were frequently getting into arguments or competing with each other both academically and on the sports field. My mom, being the brilliant woman that she is, knew exactly how to handle this: physical exercise.

Most times she would make us run laps around the house, but sometimes we would get to play soccer! She would drive us down to the soccer fields and we would compete against each other by trying to see who could get the most goals. While you may think homeschool sibling rivalry increased during this time, mom had better intentions. She encouraged us to practice teamwork by passing the ball back and forth. Another activity my mom encouraged was bike riding. Right down the road from us was a giant hill. My sister and I loved racing down that hill trying to see who could go the fastest.

By the time we finished our exercise, we were too tired to argue. We had gotten our competitiveness out through sports, not homeschooling! Our bodies may have been tired, but brains were always ready to go back to work!

Studies show that exercise can significantly improve cognitive ability! Exercise enables students to focus better and work more efficiently. Not only that, but studies also show that students who exercise regularly have better working memories, better problem solving skills, and score higher on standardized tests when compared to students who don’t exercise.

Most physicians recommend that students get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day. This doesn’t mean that they have to do it all at once, but taking a few brain breaks here and there can definitely help improve your student’s academic performance. Here are some examples that your student can use to exercise and have fun:

Exercise Works on Homeschool Sibling Rivalry

  1. Running: Running is my favorite form of exercise because it gets my heart rate up and my blood pumping! I always feel energized and ready to take on the world after a run.
  2. Bike riding: Going for a short bike ride is a fun way to exercise because you can hit the trails, practice your speed, or just take a short break from your studies.
  3. Jumping Rope: My go-to activity at recess was always jumping rope. I remember trying to twist the cords, hop on one foot, and I even tried Double Dutch! Jumping rope is a lot of fun because there are so many ways to do it.
  4. Play a sport: It’s really easy to just grab a ball and play basketball, soccer, football or kickball. The great thing about playing a sport is that it not only encourages exercise, but it also teaches teamwork.

As a college student today, I still value my exercise. I have track practice, I get to walk to class, and my school offers fun classes like Zumba! If I’m ever feeling stressed about school, I know that exercise will help, and it is a great habit to get into at a young age.

Abby Parnell
Abby graduated from Bridgeway in 2014 and was one of the first students to participate in our dual enrollment program through DeSales University. She is currently studying to be a physician's assistant at Valparaiso University. Her hobbies include playing instruments, reading, and physical fitness.
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