Many states require physical education for all students including homeschoolers. Fortunately, PE is one of the easiest requirements for most homeschoolers to meet. With a little creativity you can find options that will help your teen build their physical fitness. For many families, the big goal with PE is to help their teen build healthy lifelong habits. Here’s what you need to know to plan your homeschool high school gym courses.
State Requirements Vary
As with other subjects, you’ll want to check the specific physical education requirements in your state. In some states PE is only required for a high school students for a single year, but as a parents you always have the option to set your homeschool requirements higher than the state minimum requirements. If your teen is naturally active and involved in sports, you may not need to devote a lot of attention to PE. Many children simply don’t get enough exercise as they move into the teen years. PE can be one tool to encourage more activity.
Team Sports Count
Of course if your student is an athlete who plays a team sport physical education for your homeschool will probably be a no-brainer. Participation in sports such as baseball, soccer, or volleyball all can be counted for homeschool PE credit.
Set a Goal
Having a goal to reach for can improve motivation and inspire teens to work hard. A goal forced by the parent won’t be effective, but you may encourage your teen if they are goal oriented to work toward achieving a milestone for PE. Some popular examples:
- Train for a charity race: Couch to 5K is a popular program for less active teens who wish to get in shape. Every community has walks and runs that benefit various charities.
- Hikes and mountain climbing: Maybe your teen would like to print out a map and plan out a series of hikes or mountains to climb.
- Presidential Youth Fitness Award. Open to kids and teens, this program encourages goal setting for nutrition and exercise.
PE courses do not have to have a single focus for the entire academic year. It is fine to encourage your teen to try out different activities and build them into a single PE course. Some examples of activities homeschoolers have used for physical education credit: martial arts, fencing, running, gymnastics, dancing, golf, weight lifting, tennis, cross country, ultimate frisbee, sailing, hiking, tennis, yoga, rock climbing, swimming, soccer, biking, skateboarding, roller or ice skating, skiing, racquetball, and surfing.
Physical education can be a great excuse to explore health topics with your teen while they still live at home. That can include everything topics such as nutrition, sexuality, first aid, substance abuse, and stress management. Yes, your teen may roll their eyes and they may be irritated, but use the fact that it is a requirement as your opportunity to help your teens learn what they need to know to live a healthy life as an adult.
Does your teen love technology more than they love to exercise? Consider including technology as a part of physical education. Some teens love the Wii and fitness videos. There are also many apps for charting activity level. These can be helpful as a motivational tool and can improve the teen’s awareness of how much activity they are getting.