Have you planned for this year’s homeschool physical education? If not, you’re not alone. PE is not on top of every homeschooler’s list. This post includes ideas about how to get in the (often forgotten) subject of homeschool physical education in the elementary grades.
Especially in the lower grades, physical activity is something that is seen as a natural part of life – playing on parks and playgrounds. But what about when the weather turns? Or when your child decides that playing is no longer fun.
Taking time for sports, classes, and home-taught physical education in the lower grades will help set your kiddos up for a healthier life and introduce them to sports and hobbies that could last a lifetime.
Outsourcing PE is not for every family. If you’re looking for ideas about how to homeschool PE from home, don’t miss our Homeschooling PE post with our Top 10 FREE Homeschool PE Ideas!
Deciding Whether to Oursource Homeschool Physical Education
The real key to outsourcing PE is that your child enjoys it. Choose classes, camps, or clubs that suit their interests and their preferences. Things to consider:
- Consider whether your child loves competition or would rather play for fun.
- Whether your child enjoys a team or prefers to play more independently.
- How long or how frequently your child can practice.
- And if your child likes to dabble or are they interested in really committing to a sport.
Outsourcing your homeschool physical education is also a time and monetary commitment from you! How frequently you are able to get your child(ren) to practice, how much it costs, and how long the commitment in may all play a factor in your decisions.
So before you commit to a class or club for long term:
√ Try it out
√ Meet the instructor
√ Make sure the length and frequency fit both your schedule and your child’s desire
There will certainly be other factors involved. I joke about equestrian. We will never be an equestrian family. I am violently allergic to horses. I can’t even go to a show and sit in the stands! What you’re looking for is a good fit for everyone. Don’t be surprised if it take a bit of trial and error.
When should I start outsourcing physical education?
How early you start outsourcing PE is up to you. How, when, and what you homeschool is always up to you. However, many states require physical education to be taught each year.
I’ve heard many parents that feel preschool or kindergarten is way to young to sign children up for classes. And I’ve heard parents that start their kids with mommy & me exercise classes at 2 and continue through elementary ages. Our story:
My son was 4 years old when we started noticing that he had gross motor issues. He was a bit of a puddle – slipping and sliding to the floor, never able to sit, stand, or settle for even a few minutes.
We brought him to physical therapy for several months, but it was incredibly expensive for the very little he was doing and the (non) progress he was making. To me, it seemed like the therapist wanted to diagnose him with a sensory processing disorder, ADHD, or something else. However, he does not have SPD, ADHD, or any other letters. Not according to any tests, my observations, or his doctor. Needless to say, we didn’t continue.
What we did in lieu of continuing therapy we signed my son up for weekly gymnastics classes. At about half the price and twice the progress, we were very happy. My son improved his balance, coordination, and grip. He was increasingly interested in playground equipment – now that he could hang and climb. And he really enjoyed his coach and seeing the other little boys in his group.
For two years my son continued with gymnastics classes until he moved up to an older level. At that point he was in the class with bigger kids and wasn’t comfortable or confident in class. He became resistant and we decided that it wasn’t worth it if it wasn’t fun. To continue with gymnastics, he attended open gym time and gymnastic camp around winter and summer break. For us, starting young was key!
Deciding when/if to sign your child up for classes, camps, or a group is a personal decision – as is how long to continue. Sports can be incredibly fun for kids if you can find the right fit.
Let’s set our homeschooled children up for a healthy an active life. A few ideas on how to successfully outsource PE:
- Enroll your child in community sports
- Take a private class
- Make time in your homeschool schedule
Join a community sports club
You don’t have to attend school to find sports for your kids. Many communities offer sports and clubs seasonally and year-round outside of the school system.
A great place to start is your local community center or YMCA. Other good places to check out are sports or specialty sport stores. May will have flyers or information for meetups or clubs in the area.
Keep an eye out for seasonal sports sign ups and year round classes. A few sports that might interest your kiddo:
- kayaking or canoeing
- paddle boarding or surfing
Take a Class
If you don’t see classes for kids, send an email or call to inquire. Many coaches are open to taking on individual clients or small group classes at a convenient time for you.
Signing up for a class is a great way to homeschool physical education without having to add another line in your planner. Classes can be anywhere from fun, educational introductions to advanced and competitive. A few ideas for classes that are offered widely:
Dance is one of the sports offered throughout the country. Think dancing is just an art and not a sport? Trust me, it’s both. In most areas, you’ll be able to find all sorts of levels of dance classes. From introductory classes just for fun to competitive teams that travel around the state. And dance is not just for your girls! If you have a boy that is interested in dance, encourage him to take a class!
Gymnastics is a fantastic way to exercise those muscles that normally don’t get a lot of work. The hanging, swinging, balancing, and jumping in gymnastics helps young children with coordination, balance, and strength. It’s also a lot of fun to get to use all the equipment!
If you’re hesitant about enrolling in a gymnastics class, request a trial class. In our experience, classes are very different than open gym – which can get pretty wild with kids jumping and flying everywhere! Classes are more organized as the instructors coach each child on good technique and controlling their bodies.
Learning to swim is so important, and the earlier the better! Check out your local community center or pool and try out some swim lessons. You will be able to find classes more easily in the summer, but many pools offer them year round (and if you’re in warmer weather, of course!)
If your pool doesn’t offer classes during the week, I’d encourage you to inquire about starting a homeschool class. Many pools will offer coaching for kids during the week if you have several families (or a family with several kids) that want to sign up.
Yoga has become incredibly popular for adults in the US over the last decade. Check your local area for children’s yoga classes. You might find this calmer, quieter physical activity offered at your library or local park.
If you have a kiddo that’s into extreme sports, you might be able to find classes for those in your area as well. Look for rock climbing, trampoline, and “ninja warrior” classes in your area.
Check out my guy climbing the rock wall. This was after about 2 years of gymnastics and gymnastic camp. When we first started he couldn’t even grip a pencil, let alone hoist himself up 20 feet in the air!
Enroll in an Active Day Camp
If you don’t have room in your schedule for weekly classes, another way to outsource your homeschool physical education is to send your child to an active day camp. Check the public school schedule near you to find out when winter vacation, spring break, and summer vacation begin and end. You will be able to find a variety of camps in your area during that time.
Community Summer Camps
Summer camp offered at your local community center, YMCA, or through the schools will incorporate a ton of physical activity throughout the day. Kids play active games, have fun races, and may even have a pool field trip each week.
If your child is interested in a specific sport or physical activity, you might be able to find private camps in your area. Frequently dance studios and gyms offer day camp. You may also be able to find specialty day camps or clinics for the sport or activity your child is interested in.
If you can’t find a class or club that fits your child’s interests, start your own! Ask around your area to find a coach that is willing to take on a child for lessons or reach out to friends, family, and your homeschool group or co-op and build a class of your own.
If classes or camp just aren’t working for your schedule, check out Homeschooling PE post with our Top 10 FREE Homeschool PE Ideas!