Sports and Physical Education in the Homeschool Family

There are three basic venues through which homeschoolers can pursue sports or physical activity:

*a highly organized level like a public school team or YMCA recreational program

*a co-operative level like a homeschool or church team

*a casual program encompassing physical activity around the home

The most traditional form of organized sports may include using the public school. Some states mandate that homeschoolers may have access to public school extra-curricular programs including team sports. Frequently there are additional requirements put on homeschoolers such as submitting grades to the school district at regular intervals. Another alternative is joining a team through a community service such as a town’s recreational or park club. This is often a good option for younger children. Another choice is the YMCA where swimming, gymnastics, dance and a variety of other classes are offered. Instead of a class at the “Y” you can just get a membership to use the pool, weight room, and track. This group of activities will usually be well organized, often requires minimal parental participation, and can be the most expensive in terms of equipment or class fees.

A less formal option would be through a co-op with other homeschoolers. This can be something as casual as pick-up soccer or a more organized team sport playing against similar groups. Many churches also have a team or two available for physical exercise. These are less expensive or free opportunities, though sometimes require more of parents acting as assistant coaches or snack providers.

And finally, an option available to everyone everywhere is a program at home. Moms can be creative in recording unplanned exercise like 30 minutes shooting hoops, 20 minute bike ride, or a walk around the block. All of this “counts” toward a PE requirement, though if a more predictable plan of activities is desired it is simple enough to write up a schedule to make sure the minimum is covered. The benefit is that it can be done anytime, not requiring traveling to and from a location, nor waiting on others to participate. A teenager could be responsible for his own record keeping of any physical activity at home. Additionally, this is an excellent opportunity for parents and siblings to participate as well, whether it is a hike on a mountain trail or a friendly game of badminton in the backyard.

Whichever activity is chosen, a record of all forms of exercise should be included in the transcript or portfolio. Your children may be participating in a dance recital or team play-off, or they may simply be following a regular walking program. All are equally valuable and goals achieved should be recorded. Any of these activities could be combined with an educational unit studying health or physical fitness so the child is more intentional about his choices. Or the physical education can just be disguised as fun!