10 activities for Teaching Physical Education in Your Homeschool

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Calisthenics, running laps, and taking showers¬†are the first things that pop into my mind when I think of Physical Education. I believe this is because of the dreaded PE classes I had to take when I was in high school. I say dreaded because I wasn’t the athletic type and my endurance was pitiful. ūüė¶ You can certainly do this as there is value in doing so, but here are some more ideas for your homeschool.

Sports teams and classes that are offered at the YMCA, gyms, or community centers can be counted as part of your Physical Education curricula. If that is not a possibility, then you can teach PE at home.  The main emphasis is providing activities for aerobic activity and fitness to your youngster.

Obstacle CourseРYou can create a simple course for your young athlete or make one more complex for your older child. If you are able to get outside you can incorporate a play set as part of the experience. Using a jump rope to walk along provides balance and you can lay it straight or fashion it into an S if your daughter needs a greater challenge. Have her throw a ball at a paper target, use a hula hoop for dual purposes to jump in as it is lying on the ground, and also set a number of prescribed rotations to complete. Crawling or hopping a certain distance gets those large muscles moving. The possibilities are endless. If you have an older student, have them create the course under your supervision. To make it even more fun and challenging, use a stopwatch and record the time it takes to complete the course. Each time your competitor can see if she can beat her previous time. To further extend this activity you can rearrange the course.

Indoor courses are fun and a wonderful energy- burner in inclement weather. You just need a large enough area to be able to set up your course. Normally I would not let my children walk on the couch, but part of the fun and allure for my boys to do this was they were allowed to crawl across the couch.lol¬† You can always put the cushions on the floor and have your son walk on them or hop from one to another. Here are additional things to do with your course. I have combined large and small motor skills since both need to be developed.¬† Tossing socks into a laundry basket; crawling under dining room chairs; lying down and scooting on your back; balancing a book on your head while walking to the next activity; hopping on one foot from one place to another; crab crawling; dropping 10 pennies in a cup; stacking plastic cups in a¬†pyramid, etc.¬† I can see the wheels turning¬†as you think about your own house and children. ūüôā

Hide and Go Seek was a favorite activity for my¬†children. This can be done indoors¬†or out. Just a couple of rules need to be established. For instance, boundaries (outside- don’t go beyond the fence line or indoor areas that may be unsafe or you don’t want the children playing in or near).

Play Follow the Leader

Indoor bowlingРUse 10 empty 1 or 2-liter plastic bottles and a tennis ball to play. Keep score and the one who reaches 50 wins. A variation of this would be to use a small beanbag and ten plastic cups that are in a pyramid. This would be a great challenge to older kids since this requires skill and patience.

Play Twister If you don’t have the game, then create it by taping red, blue, green and yellow construction paper circles on the carpet and writing the directions on index cards. (right food red, left foot green, etc)

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Balloon Games This is such a fun and inexpensive way to get your children moving. Blow up a balloon and have your child put it between their legs and walk from one end of the hall to the other end.

Balloon Tennis– You will need a 12-inch balloon, two paper plates, two paint stirrers, a glue gun, and masking or painters tape. Glue each stirrer to a paper plate to create your two tennis racquets. Using the tape, create a line (tennis net). See how many times the children can hit the ballon over the line. A point is awarded to the other person if you cannot return the balloon. The first person to reach 10 points wins. Balloon volley is the same idea- just without the racquets.

Body Balloonball– How many ways can you hit the balloon and keep it from touching the floor NOT using your hands? Keep score and if you have a partner, the first to use 5 different body parts gets one point. The overall winner is the first to reach 10.

Beanbag Toss– Your son can toss the beanbag at various targets on the floor (a laundry basket, see if he can land a beanbag inside a shoe, a paper towel that has a bull eye on it, etc.). If you have a little one and would like to incorporate more school subjects, how about a game that they need to toss the bag onto a certain color or a certain number? You can tape on the floor construction paper of primary colors and have additional papers with numbers. Call out directions (hit the green square. Hit the paper with the numeral 5 on it.) Let the game begin!

Tape Lines:¬†Make 5-10 separate lines of tape, each about a foot apart, on your floor or carpet. Label the first one the ‚Äústart‚ÄĚ line and then give your kids simple instructions:

  • Long Jump:¬†See how many lines they can jump over. Have them try and beat their best score each time. Experiment with arm swinging vs. arms behind their backs.
  • Run ‚Äėn‚Äô Jump:¬†Now let them take a running start and see if they can jump even further!
  • Long Jump Backwards:¬†Increase the difficulty by performing the tasks jumping backward.
  • Hop:¬†How far can they jump on one leg?
  • Reach ‚Äėn‚Äô Stretch:¬†How far can their leg reach with one foot on the ‚Äústart‚ÄĚ line?¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Source:¬†Whatmomslove.com

As with all physical activity, have your son or daughter stretch before and after so those muscles stay in great shape! ūüôā

~ Lisa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching Geography in Your Homeschool

The world has certainly¬†gotten smaller when the access to television and the internet is just a click of a button away, transporting us to places beyond our home. How important is it for your daughter or son to know geography? I think it is essential in order for her/him to have a sense of place. We are a global community and when your¬†child meets someone from a different part of the world or watches a program, they can have a general sense of where this is located. It is a distinct possibility that your child will travel outside of the country at some point. If not the country, certainly away from your home.lol Just in my family alone, both of my sons and all of my adult nieces and nephews and their spouses¬†have all traveled or lived abroad.¬† We didn’t intentionally set out to have our children do this, but I think opportunity, curiosity, and a sense of adventure and/or purpose is what propelled them to do it.

I like to teach geography by beginning with where we live. I have two activities using technology that I am sure your family is going to love.

It’s fun to use Google Maps.¬† Begin by typing in your home address. It’s a little startling to see your home appear on the screen, but once you get used to it, you can rotate the image and see your neighbor’s house, you can go up or down the street, and you can even go across the street. Zoom out a little and talk about your city, continue expanding further and further, so that you see the state, the country, the world.¬† You could do this for quite awhile since I am certain that your daughter will want to look at other locations such as grandparents’ and friends’ homes. You can also type in a landmark and see pictures of places throughout the world. If you can’t go to Parsi next week and climb the Eiffel Tower, you can do it from the comfort of your home while eating croissants and reading Madeline. You don’t know about her? You can learn all about her by clicking HERE.¬† ūüôā¬†61prFmZQx9L

When Malcolm lived in Germany we could see the places he talked about and it gave me a sense of peace and also a bit more of feeling connected to him since I could now visualize the places when we spoke. With Ian currently living in Japan, I am able to see his apartment building, the¬†neighborhood grocery¬†store he tells us about, and the busiest intersection in the¬†world that he and his wife cross several times a day. However, I don’t like to look at the world map and see where he is because I can “see” that he is literally on the other side of the planet from me. ūüė¶

Geography can be quite interesting¬†when students can make connections between themselves and people and locations different from that which they are familiar. When you go to the zoo, an amusement park, or a museum, etc., pick up a map and study it. Give your son real-life experiences of using¬†maps and then applying that information by asking him to pick a location to go to and allow him to guide you there using the map. If it isn’t right, retrace your steps or make a course correction. What a great way to incorporate school into everyday experiences.

Geocaching is a fun way to learn about geography. By using the app and the map coordinates, you and your daughter go on treasure hunts. How fun is that?? There are literally geocaches around the world. You can also find them close to your home or you can create your own for others to find. Here is the website to find out more about it: Geocaching

Have a great week exploring and learning about the world around us!

~Lisa

Teaching Math in Your Homeschool

Using visual aids to teach mathematical concepts is vital when a student is first beginning to learn a concept. For instance: the difference between numeral and number. The definition for each of these according to Google is: a numeral is a symbol or name that stands for a number. Examples: 3, 49 and 12 are all numerals. So the number is an idea, the numeral is how we write it. Having objects on hand for your daughter to manipulate and interact with are extremely helpful. Children are concrete thinkers and using objects to count such as fruit or teddy bears or dinosaurs, etc., number lines, and unifix cubes for her to use will help cement these concepts.

Drill, drill, drill! When your son is first learning mathematical facts, it is important for you to review math facts daily until he knows them without having to add using his fingers.  Do you remember flashcards? Do you know why they have this particular name? You flash (quickly show) the answer to your mathematician first and then show them the problem. They repeat the answer back to you. As you continue to do this and you see that they are beginning to memorize the answers, you no longer will need to flash the answer.

You can also¬†play games to reinforce¬†these concepts as well. I do not want to¬†make this post extremely¬†long, so next week I will share card game ideas you can play with your¬†daughter or son. There are also math apps and books that teach mathematical concepts. I found a list of math apps and descriptions with them¬†for you at Care.com Since today is Cyber Monday, Best Children’s Books¬†has a sale going on today so you can snag a couple of great book titles for your child.¬† You can also find a fantastic list of Children’s books at Chasing SupermomScreen Shot 2017-11-27 at 6.16.46 AM

Have a great week! I hope you find some terrific new ideas to use in your homeschool with what I have shared with you today.

~ Lisa

Recycling: Practical and Impactful

After I taught Earth Science for a couple of years I realized how wasteful¬†I was with the¬†resources I have¬†been given. I wasn’t going out and deliberately doing so, but if I threw away items that could be recycled, drove my car when I could ride or bike to do some of my errands made me realize that I could have a small part in conserving what resources we do have.

Just think, there is only so much fresh water to go around and every time we order a drink and throw the cup in the¬†trash with ice in it we take away some of that water, never to be recycled again since it ends up in the garbage. This may seem silly, but I actually throw my ice and water out¬†into the bushes as I exit from a restaurant if I am personally responsible for disposing of my trash. ūüôā¬† Wouldn’t it be great if we could teach our children to be mindful of what they¬†are throwing away and finding ways to conserve what we do have so that they and their children can enjoy things as much as we have been able to do. With recycling in mind, did you know that Ikea is recycling old mattresses?

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Here are the details:

IKEA U.S. introduces national mattress recycling program

(Conshohocken, PA ‚Äď October 2, 2017) IKEA U.S. announced today that in keeping with its sustainability strategy of ‚Äėwaste to resources‚Äô it will be recycling all of its used mattresses. This includes old mattresses (any brand) that are picked up when new IKEA mattresses are delivered*, as well as all returned mattresses at IKEA stores. The goal is zero waste to landfill, with as much recycling as possible.

An estimated 18 million mattresses with box springs are disposed of in the U.S. each year, resulting in approximately 50,000 mattresses a day ending up in landfills across America. Some of these mattresses are illegally dumped adding to great landfill waste. IKEA understands mattresses need to be recycled to conserve resources such as steel, foam, and wood that is able to be used in new products.

At a minimum, 80% of a mattress can be recycled. The fabric and foam can be turned into carpet underlay and the felt and cotton can be recycled into new felt and insulation. The wood gets recycled into biofuel or other recycled wood products. While the plastic and steel is recycled by their respective recyclers or turned into new products.

In addition to the sustainability aspect of recycling mattresses, IKEA has also created a community donation program – a campaign called 5,000 Dreams – that focuses on supporting newly arrived refugee families in local IKEA store communities. Through three partner refugee organizations, IKEA has started to donate beds and bedding ‚Äď 5,000 in total in the next two years – to refugee families who are making fresh starts with their families. The three established refugee organizations are the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, the International Rescue Committee and the Ethiopian Community Development Council.

Teaching Science in Your Homeschool

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Teaching Science can be a daunting task for those of us who are not inclined toward that academic area.¬† When I first began teaching, we team-taught and I was assigned the area of science. I¬†ended up failing miserably at each and every experiment I undertook to demonstrate to my middle school students. It left a bad taste in my mouth, but I decided that when I taught my own children they would not find out that it was one of my least favorite subjects. I think I succeeded pretty well in keeping that opinion to myself for the most part. ūüôā How did I do that? I found simple science experiments that would accompany the topic we were studying. Sometimes I used a textbook, other times I concentrated on a topic that I thought we could do on our own through hands-on experiences and videos or field trips.¬† Here are a few ideas that I hope will inspire you.

Experiential is the one word that I say works best for students. You can talk about why the sky is blue or what causes beautiful hues in the evening, but if you can show that to your daughter through a hands-on experience, how much more that will make sense! Here is the information about seeing the color blue in the sky:  Why the Sky is Blue  and here is a video. Doing the experiment yourself afterward would be really fun for your son to enjoy.

 

You may be saying, “That’s great, Lisa, but I am short on time and I am not sure how to find experiments.”

Great point, but with a little planning and searching on the internet, you can have some amazing experiences, experiments, and explanations for your daughter. Am I saying you need to do an experiment for each topic? While that would be nice, it is not always practical or possible. Look through your science book or topics you are going to be studying and find some simple science experiments or activities to do.

Needing some science lessons for your daughter to do with you? Teacher.org not only has lesson plans for grades K-12, you can download and print them too!

If you do not have the time or inclination, then find a science video demonstrating the topic. Steve Spangler is a scientist who does a fabulous job of creating excitement for science and also doing some really crazy things. Here is his website:  Spangler Science

If you have a middle school or junior high student, here are some experiments to try as well as outcomes of the experiments¬†so you know what to expect. ūüôā Hot Chalk¬†is a great resource and if you need a visual index of experiments,Education.com¬†has over 1000 from which to choose.