One area of home education that consistently gets shoved to the background is Fitness or Physical Education. At least in my home school it was never a high priority. I confess that I really didn’t see or rather didn’t understand the need for a formal fitness program. Send the kids outside to play and they’ll get plenty of exercise. At least that was my hope. Sadly, playing outside didn’t happen as regularly or frequently as it needed to and we, as a family, have developed a sedentary lifestyle. It is clear that we need to do something to increase our daily & weekly activity levels. Fortunately Family Time Fitness (FTF) has a program intended for homeschoolers: Fitness 4 Homeschool - Core 1 Physical Education Curriculum.
Just last week I was at the doctor. He recommends at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week of physical activity to improve overall health. 1 hour a day, 5 times a week would be optimal for maintaining health benefits. In the introduction to parents and teachers FTF states “the National Association of Sport and Physical Education recommends that most children ages 2 and older need to be getting at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily.”
Squeezing an hour a day into an already crowded day seems impossible but Family Time Fitness makes the program fun. And there are multiple activities per lesson so the children are not bored doing the same thing for 45-60 minutes. In addition the lesson is divided into sections: “Warm Up,” “Activity/Game,” Play,” “Cool Down,” and the optional “Outdoor Activity” that can be done later in the day. The main part of the lesson provides approximately 25-45 minutes of vigorous activity and the optional “Outdoor Activity” provides an additional 15-30 minutes.
FTF intends for this program to be used every school day but in the “Parental Encouragement” section of the Introduction FTF states: “there may be times when life gets really busy and a lesson or two gets missed. A family may only be able to schedule 3 lessons per week. That is Ok. Completing one or two lessons per week is a good start.” In the next paragraph it says “Family Time Fitness was created to help families achieve their fitness goals.” On the website FTF states: “The Fitness 4 Homeschool program is structured to be integrated into your teaching a minimum of three days per week, but we strongly recommend five. … We’re certain that it is so fun and engaging for the whole family that it will be the highlight of your student’s day.” It is my goal for my family to work out 5 days per week. Though we’re not there yet. We’re averaging 2-3 lessons per week. The program is fun and engaging so I know that this program has the potential to get us to my five day goal.
So what’s included for $57? From the website:
- Startup/Training Guide - The Startup Guide is a guide for parents and includes an introduction to physical education, information on what to expect from the program, safety information, how to integrate physical education into your curriculum, teaching tips and equipment information.
- Lesson Plans – Each of the 260 professionally planned lessons arrives in PDF format and includes a List of Supplies, Warm-Up, Activity, Cool Down and Suggested Outdoor Activity. Each exercise is described in a detailed, user-friendly format for easy access. Each lesson provides 30-45 Minutes of physical activity. If you do all the activities that is over 7800 Minutes of activity a year! If you do the suggested outdoor activity you get an additional 10-15 of physical activity.
- 1-Page Summaries– Each lesson has a One-Page Summary to facilitate easy printing and portability. The summaries keep you from printing all 900+ Pages of Lesson Plans.
- Video Demonstrations – Each exercise includes a demonstration video with real kids doing the exercises. There are over 200 instructional video demonstrations available to you with this curriculum, and you are guaranteed lifetime access to these videos as we update them.
- Assessment Tools – We provide tools to help track progress of the basic fundamental movements. Other downloadable tools include nutritional logs and meal planners for a comprehensive fitness approach.
- Encouragement Emails – During the first year of your course, we send you reminder emails each week day to keep you and your children motivated on your fitness journey. We also always include nutritional and fitness tips in the emails.
- Online Webinars – You have access to our regular online webinars and our webinar archive for further in-depth instruction and tips on the curriculum.
This program is listed for grade K-8th, however, this has been great for my teenagers. Because the girls are older, this program became more of a self-teaching program. I really appreciate the video demonstrations. Though the material describes the activity/movement, I need to SEE it. My girls are the same way. I loved the flexibility of this program. Short on time? Pick a few activities from each of the three main sections instead of all of them. Due to my health issues I can’t do the workouts with the girls so I am thankful that with the detailed lessons and the video demonstrations they can do it without me.
Another flexible aspect that I appreciate is the ease of substitution of equipment. Some things can’t be substituted such as a jump ropes and hula hoops, but other things such as playground balls, bean bags and cones can easily be swapped for things you already have. We only have two balls, and they’re not really playground balls but for most of the activities they have worked, but we only have 2 and there are 3 girls working. What to do? Substitute a stuffed animal. In the picture below you can see the girls doing a tossing and catching activity. They really like doing the activity at the same time so they grabbed a stuffed lion so that all three could “play” together.
We found that it worked best for us to try to do this program first thing in the morning. Then in the afternoon they could do the optional activity after school as a fun break. Here’s what they had to say about the program:
Thoughts from Tailorbear (8th Grade): “To be honest I don’t exercise as much as I would like to. This program gives me an relatively short “easy” way to exercise. I LOVED how my sisters and I could exercise together, and it doesn't interfere too much with our other school. Sometimes I couldn’t do the Crab Walk because I didn’t have the stamina. Now that I have used it, I can do them all. I think this is the way I like to exercise!’
Thoughts from Turtlegirl (10th Grade): “I didn’t care for some of the exercises since a lot of them didn’t make sense to me as to what they were supposed to do (I am referring to some of the ‘poses’ they have for the cool down). I did like the extra time I got to spend with my sisters, however, I prefer exercising alone so I can move on without having to wait for my sisters to finish. I did like some of the exercises and stretches they had. Overall, it was an OK program. I think I would’ve liked it better if I understood more about the program.”
Thoughts from BooBear (12th Grade): “I really want to exercise more and this program provides an easy way to get that. It has a lesson planned out for you to do it so that you don’t have to come up with something on your own. It is nice to have someone else tell us how to get more exercise and not have to figure in out on your own. I am glad that we have this as it gives us so a physical education program that does not require a lot of thinking.”
My Bottom Line: This is a fabulous way to get kids of all ages moving. This is the program I will recommend to my home school friends. Be sure and check out the articles on the Family Time Fitness website. I especially recommend the article about why you need a physical education program. There is also a High School Physical Education Program that focuses on Foundational Strength as well as other physical fitness programs.
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Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received this product free of charge to review. I am required to write a review but I am not required to write a positive review. This review contains my and/or my daughters’ honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I/ we liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.
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