I enjoy sports—all sports! God gave me three sons who enjoy sports—all sports! Not everyone feels this way, though, so this can cause you to question: do homeschoolers really need sports and physical education (P.E.)?
I would recommend knowing what the requirements are of the state/province you live in. Some require at least one credit in Physical Education, while others allow it to remain an elective. Once you establish what you must adhere to, then you can become creative!
Sports aren’t necessarily a need. However, if you have opportunity for your child to participate in an organized sport of some kind, then go for it! Why? Because sports can build character in a child, teach teamwork, and engage in disciplines of commitment and responsibility.
Sports are a bonus if done through a Christian organization because you don’t have the dilemma of choosing between a sports event, church event, and family event. Most Christian organizations will take into account the events that typically occur at churches. Because of this, they do not schedule practices and games on those days or times.
If you choose a public sports event to participate in, be careful to guard your children and their friendships. Communicate clearly what you expect of their behavior, and the behavior of the other children and parents. Talk about issues that come up on the sidelines or team practice. These discussions can leave a long lasting impact on a child’s character.
What is the end goal of choosing to have your child play sports? While it can be of great benefit in some ways, it could also hinder what a parent is trying to accomplish. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Consider what is important to you and your family. If playing sports is important, there are many opportunities in your local community to participate.
Physical Education is a little broader topic. I recall doing all kinds of things in my school days that were not necessarily organized sports, but rather, skill building activities. We completed obstacle courses and balance activities. We were given eye-hand coordination tasks and endurance building tasks to complete. Skill challenges were given to each child with requirements based on the individual. These things could be done by any student and measured by time constraints or the number of repetitions accomplished.
Physical activity of various kinds can also be included in the category of physical education. Riding bikes, hiking, swimming, gymnastics, roller blading, and skiing can all count as physical education.
All children need physical activity of some kind. You, as the homeschooling parent/guardian, know the best way to accomplish that for your child and your family. Some may choose the physical activity to be a sport, some may just go on lots of bike rides or walks, and some may get creative and come up with some fun, unique ways to keep their child physically active—just do something! Our children need to be active whether they get school credits for it or not!
“…they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31b).
Copyright 2018, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms.