Friday’s at Desert Rocks Indoor Climbing Gym

Come climb with a great group of Homeschool families every Friday from 11am – 1pm. All ages are welcome to come with a parent.


Only $10 per child for climbing and equipment!


Desert Rocks Indoor Climbing Gym
19160 McLane Street
North Palm Springs. (760) 671-1101
climbdesertrocks.com

CrossFit Littles Summer 2016

Starts Monday, July 25th at CrossFit Yucca Valley!

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It’s never too early to see if kids are interested in sports. And this has a double advantage. It may give you the chance to check out what CrossFit is and maybe give it a try yourself!

Thoughts on P.E.

My son recently fractured his wrist during motocross practice and it has reminded me of something I hadn’t thought of in awhile, “Doctor’s notes for P.E.” We’ve been offered these precious notes several times over the past week while at the ER and the orthopedic doctor’s office. It was fun to tell them we didn’t need one because we home school and I’m the teacher and principle. Our school needs no formal “excuse” from a class. We are free people who are capable of making decisions about whether we are up for physical activity or not. And again when making a follow up appointment, the office lady said she’d find an appointment that wouldn’t take too much time out of school. I told her to make it any time, since we home school and we don’t have anyone but ourselves and our own schedule to answer to. It was empowering. Think about it. Why would I want a 3pm appointment? We wouldn’t miss any “school” but we’d spend more of our time at the doctor’s office since by the early afternoon most doctor’s are running behind and more people are “walking in” without an appointment. I’d much rather (even if we were in school) to have an appointment early in the morning or right after lunch when it’d be less likely that we’d have to wait a long time. One hour of “school” apparently is more important than three hours of family time. That’s actually how long we had to wait for my 3:30 appointment to be completed yesterday.

Why do school kids need a doctor’s note to be excused from a class or P.E.? It just seems ridiculous to me. Are they being held there against our will? If I believe my child is too ill to come to school, whether be from stress, a physical ailment, or I think they need a mental health day, I don’t need a professional opinion about it. This is my life and my child, not the school’s cash cow. I can’t believe people put up with it, especially about things like a broken arm or an open wound. My step-daughter had a open wound on her leg. It was a staph infection she got at the school and we were seeing a doctor about it but didn’t even think to get a note for P.E. class. Her teacher told us that she would dock her grade for every day she didn’t swim for P.E. without a doctors note. Really. I couldn’t believe it.

Homeschool P.E. & Health

One of the subjects all schools need to offer each year is Physical Education and Health. We all remember these classes when we were in school, right? Did you have P.E. in elementary school? I remember a time of day we used to play some kind of team sport like volley ball or four square. Pretty much everyone has nightmares about picking teams. I remember having to dress in a uniform when I started Jr. High., which was pretty much the worst part of the new school. From then on it was “dressing out”, stretching and running, and some kind of team sport for fifty minutes a day. Health was similar. Videos and workbooks about things that were so obvious, boring, or embarrassing to discuss in room full of peers.

I realize I have an unhealthy relationship with my school days. Is there anyone that looked forward to those classes or at least had a good time while there? Did anyone leave school with a healthy attitude toward daily exercise and nutrition due to the influence of those twelve years of classes? My guess is probably not.

So how do we, as homeschoolers, “offer” this subject in a better way? That’s the real point of homeschooling isn’t it, to make a more personalized and productive education option for our kids?

I’d like to write about what we’ve done through the years out as an example, not of what you should do with your kids, but of an alternative to the classes we took at school.

For elementary school aged kids, getting out to the park regularly, going for walks, jumping rope, hiking the hills, running games, etc., are all acceptable forms of P.E. And you need to “offer it”, not force them to play. I’m not an active person naturally. I’ve never been enthusiastic about any sport. I’ve never felt the need to exercise on a daily basis or workout at the gym. But I do love the outdoors and I realize my kids are way more active being kids than I am. We always had jump ropes, hoops, balls, bikes, etc. in the yard. I put it on my planner to ask the boys if they’d like to learn a game I used to play when I was a kid, like jump rope, hopscotch, or hand ball. They usually very excited about that and if they weren’t we did something else. I wrote it down on my planner, “played jump rope – 30 minutes”. P.E. DONE

Your local parks and recreation department can be really helpful as your kids get older and want to try new things. Karate, Soccer, Baseball, even Yoga can be pretty cheap to start out. And if someone is interested in learning more or going beyond what the class offers, you can look around the neighborhood for regular classes. Write that down in the planner and P.E. is done. It doesn’t need to be 45 minutes daily. Regular, one, two, three days a week is fine.

Jr. High and High School are different. Your kids are really coming into their own. They know what they like and don’t like. Team sports or solitary pursuits. If you have a teen that really isn’t into the idea of getting regular exercise or sports, you’re not alone. This is where we need to get creative. The state says our school needs to “offer” physical education. So we offer it, that doesn’t mean he has to learn it. I know that sounds crazy. But there are lots of ways to offer a subject that gets them learning without the sweat. Yes, you could force him to take karate or baseball but is that really going to build him into a better person? Will he come away from your school with a life skill that takes him into adulthood?

The better option in my opinion is to start doing more active things yourself and asking your teens to come along. Go for a daily walk around the neighborhood, take a hike, practice yoga, etc. Ask them if they’d like to join you. They might not the first fifty times. But they do see that you think the exercise is important and they may follow suit. But they may not. It’s really up to them. As in all education, it’s the example you set not the curriculum you use that is most important.

“Health” can be done in a similar way. At any age, planning meals and going to the grocery store is a great way to learn about nutrition. Watching tv shows, YouTube videos, and reading books about how your body works and how you can stay healthy are free. A regular check up at the doctor or dentist can be a learning adventure. When one of my sons cut his arm in a tree, the subject of blood and why you have it came up. We went to the library that day and found some cute books about blood and watched a “Magic School Bus” that afternoon. They were interested, so it just flowed. The same thing happened when one of our friends had a bad cold and couldn’t come to play. We just had to learn about how germs work and how best to defend ourselves.

There are great books and videos online that teach adolescents about the changes their bodies are going through without the embarrassing public class. If you can’t find them, go on one of the bigger statewide chat groups online and ask what other people have used. You can review them before you offer them to your kids to be sure they are appropriate for your family. If it was a video or website, I’d leave it open in my browser and tell the boys there was an interesting article there, or share it with them in an email. If I bought a book or borrowed it from the library, I’d leave it on the coffee table for them to check out if they were interested. Being open to talk about things like this as they grow up helps as well. Young kids that have been told the real answers to their questions as they’ve asked them, without silly euphemisms or awkward “you’ll find out when you’re older” dismissals, tend to be more relaxed teenagers.

Write these things down in your planner as they come up through the weeks and years. The details don’t need to be planned out in advance. According to California’s education code, private schools only need to offer all the subjects that the public schools offer. Big schools need to plan ahead with so many students in each class, but as a small private school with only a couple students we don’t need that much planning. Also, we don’t need to do something different for each of our kids depending on their grade. If you have a 6, 9, and 11 year old at your school, PE and Health can be the same for all of them. They are all going to explore to their own individual needs. You just need to be there to encourage and support them.

My sons took up motocross a few years ago. At first it was just riding dirt bikes but then they wanted to race. They started watching their favorite motocross racers on TV and online videos. I got them magazine subscriptions. After a while they started asking for a mountain bike to ride daily and imposed on themselves a regular workout routine they found in one of their magazines. They also started going to the grocery store with me and asking that I make certain high protein and low sugar foods to help build muscles. They are almost adults and do things the same way an adult would. They find an interest, look into it, research, discover, work. It goes round and round until they feel they have done enough, or move on to another goal.

What are you doing to encourage physical education and health this year?