As a homeschooling family there are so many different subjects to intentionally pay attention to that families frequently ignore a subject like PE. PE or, as some of you are probably more comfortable calling it, gym is more than just recess, running or free outdoor play. While your children don’t need to be star athletes or be training as an Olympian, they should experience some structured physical activity. This structured time should include portions that help your child to learn to move in ways that are new or less comfortable for us than the ways they typically choose to move.

How do we practically make this work in a day that is already busy and with a mom who is far from coordinated herself? We create weekly movement circuits. Every day after lunch, each child is responsible for going through their weekly movement circuit before going on to have free recess time. These movement circuits consist of five to seven different movement activities ranging from balancing on one foot to shooting 10 baskets to running three 40m dashes to 5 – 20 second planks to doing 10 curls while holding cans of green beans (or weights if your child is strong enough). Before the week begins, I consider what kinds movements are going to work with our predicted weather. I also have a backup plan for in case we end up inside unexpectedly. While these circuits don’t take a huge amount of time – maybe 5-10 minutes a day – they are intentional times of movement and exploration.

There are certainly weeks that some of the children excel more than others and the attitudes aren’t always the greatest but we keep going because it is important to us that we move our bodies and we learn to care for ourselves well. We also use this as an opportunity to talk about how we can do hard things. At first, I didn’t do most of the circuits with the boys but after several weeks of putting them off I realized they are right, I too need to move my body with intention and I can do hard things.

So how do you do PE?

Keep it smart. Keep it simple.