Children being active is about as natural of a basic tenet in life as they come. I’m constantly reminding myself of this very true fact, as Little Man starts his fifth-grade year of school. He’ll be doing virtual school from home (through his magnet elementary school), and that makes it even more critical that I come up with smart ways of incorporating active recreation into his daily schedule. My top 10 tips, originally appearing in a blog post dated September 26, 2018, for actively getting my child out of the house are somewhat moot on certain levels (but still applicable on others), due to COVID being on the rise.
I know that my son will still have the same schedule as the students who will attend school onsite and will have all the same classes and recreational periods, such as core instruction, the specials (art, music, library, P.E.), recess, lunch, and breaks. So, although he’ll be at home, I imagine some physical activity will be participated in along with the mental activity. But, I don’t want to rely solely on the physical activity he gets from school (which will be limited due to not having the same access to equipment and supplies as the onsite children). However, I’m quite certain that the onsite children will also be limited in their physical activity due to social distancing amid COVID, while at school.
Therefore, I’ve already ruled out nine of my top 10 suggestions but have decided to focus on the one that can be safely implemented at or around home:
Take walks or bike ride outside (around the neighborhood while the weather still permits).
All of the other suggestions require getting out and about and aren’t viable options right now with the pandemic placing a hold on a lot of group, outdoors, and field trip activities for children. So, I’ll stick with indoor exercising and outdoor walks and bike rides. If I do those things with my child, I do well.
Take a look (below) at my suggestions for homeschooling parents, looking for active options for their children (outside of the home). Feel free to participate in such activities during a time when it is safe to fully engage in them again.
Please don’t judge me for what I’m about to tell you, and here it is… I’m an habitual homebody. That’s right. I said it. I absolutely LOVE being at home, and I’m not saying this in a “couch potato” sort of way. Just pencil me in as the classic textbook version of a mom who could keep herself happily content while functioning in the comfort of her own home. While I definitely get my fair share of fresh air, home is ideally where the heart is. Therefore, homeschooling was logically appealing to someone like myself; and here’s where the lesson learned comes into play. Homeschooled does not equate to being housebound, especially where a young child is concerned. I, somewhat later in the process, came to the realization that Little Man can not be expected to have the same zeal for the great indoors as I have. He’s a child and a child will do what a child does and some of that “does” involves the need to be active outside of the home.
My son never complained about the infrequent activity outings during his homeschooled years, but my negligence in the matter became quite apparent within the first three weeks of third grade. I could see how having an intense schedule of activities, involving a full day of back-to-back core and exploratory courses along with P.E. and recesses, took a bodily toll on him. It was somewhat of a shock to his system to have so much daily repetitive motion. But, youth tends to bounce back quickly, and I think Little Man has finally found his groove. At least, I haven’t recently noticed him power napping on the living room couch as soon as he returns home from a long day of school.
Now, if you’ve checked out some of my earlier posts, you’ve probably discovered that I use lists to provide instruction, drive a point home, or draw attention to a certain subject matter. Lists are such powerfully succinct visual tools, so here’s one I’ll offer to those of you homeschooling your child(ren). And if you don’t remember anything else in this discussion, please focus in on the following list of my top suggestions for actively getting your child out of the house. Take it from me; it’s important to your child’s overall well-being.
- Take walks or bike ride outside.
- Go to the park.
- Have fun at the zoo.
- Get your child involved in individual or team activities at the Y.
- Explore children’s museums.
- Check out exercising at children’s fun zones and activity gyms.
- Look into your local homeschool support networks that offer individualized exploratory classes/camps and team sports.
- Find out if your local parks and recreations offer classes and sports for children.
- Coordinate with other homeschool parents and arrange play dates with the children.
- Make up your own outside-of-the-house activities, such as scavenger hunts around town or obstacle courses in your backyard. Get innovative with this one. Your child might remember the effort you devote to creating his or her active fun more than any of the above suggestions.
In conclusion, I do regret the lack of emphasis I placed on Little Man’s physical education while at home and my hope is that you can learn from my shortcomings. But, I can never apologize for my love of home life. After all, a woman’s home can be her castle, too.