Why Children Need P.E. Even in Homeschool

This post reflects a compensated editorial partnership with Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Mary flying a kite for homeschool P.E.

Growing up, I lived in two very different states. I was born in New York and went to school there for two years of my life. Then my family moved to South Florida where I finished all my schooling. In New York, I went to public school and in Florida, I went to public school for one year and then transferred to private for the rest of my schooling. But there was no difference in the north or the south, or even public to private on how we had P.E. class.

P.E. class was a daily thing regardless of where I lived. Now I would be lying if I said I loved it all the time! I still to this day hate getting sweaty! But my favorite part of P.E. was when we had a free day to run and play what we liked. I also loved tag football, volleyball and basketball. And I was even on my P.E. hockey team for two years.

P.E. might not have been my absolute favorite class growing up, but it was a much needed one. Sitting in a classroom all day gets kids antsy. I should know because I homeschool my daughter, Mary, now. I have noticed with her that if she sits and does studies too long, she loses her attention easier. But when we get outside and run and play for a while, when she comes back in she can concentrate better. P.E. helps kids release a lot of energy they have built up inside, plus it gets their hearts pumping better! It makes them think clearer and I believe it helps them with their studies more too.

The girls after P.E.

Research shows kids need 60 minutes of physical activity per day and PE programs can help get them there. But the sad truth is that Only 4% of elementary schools, 8% of middle schools, and 2% of high schools provide daily PE or its equivalent for the entire school year.

Under ESSA (the federal education law), all states must develop a comprehensive plan to ensure all students receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education. Right now, Voices for Healthy Kids is advocating for physical education to be included in every state’s ESSA plans. Unlike previous federal education law, ESSA includes physical education (PE) and health as part of a “well-rounded curriculum” -- this means that for the first time ever, health and PE have access to significant federal funding! But here's the thing: inclusion of health and PE in ESSA is not a mandate. So to make this happen we really need to help advocate for daily P.E. classes to be included as a core component in ESSA plans so that money can be accessed for PE.

Mary learning double dutch for the first time

Right now in our homeschool, our homeschool association has made P.E. classes weekly for the homeschool children. I think this is amazing in itself because most homeschool associations don't focus on P.E. and just leave it up to the parents. But what about kids in public or private school? Do those kids get enough P.E. time during the day? Protect PE by joining the PE Action Team at www.voicesforhealthykids.org/PE

And if you want to work to increase P.E. in your own community like we have, please check out http://physicaleducation.voicesforhealthykids.org/