For years I have struggled with physical education for my homeschool. While I do believe that letting the kids run wild is great exercise, I also feel the need to have structured physical education that can focus on coordination, endurance, strength, and skills to balance out the free form exercise that the kids are already getting.
Being the sort of girl who hated school P.E. with a passion, I had a very hard difficult time building my own program. I had no idea what sort of things to have the kids do, and even less idea about how to make it a well-rounded program. All was not lost though, after some searching, I got my hands on 303 Tween-Approved Exercises and Active Games by Kimberly Wechsler.
So many P.E. books are written for school teachers, and feature lots of games and activities for larger groups of students. Being a mother of two children, those sorts of books were basically worthless. 303 Tween-Approved Exercises and Active Games, however, features only a few activities that require a large group of students, most of the activities are for single students. This book is perfect for the homeschool crowd.
Another feature I adore is the way the activities are broken down into categories. Each section of the book covers a basic area; cardio, coordination, resistance training (by body area), balance, stretches, etc. This makes it so easy to make sure the P.E. program I am using is balanced. If I feel like I need to add more resistance training for the upper body, I just turn to the section and choose from multiple exercises. It’s so wonderful to have for the fitness challenged.
If I had one complaint about this book, it would be the descriptions being a little confusing. It could be just me, but I had to ready many of them a few times, act them out, and in a few cases, go to Youtube and look them up. Maybe this is just my weakness?. Reading the descriptions was a bit of a beast, but I did get through them by making notes of my own, and found the base material very good, even if I got confused. I do think more diagrams and pictures would have helped though.
If you are looking to round out your homeschool P.E. program, this book is a great investment. If you need ideas or just want something you can reference to add some balance to the same-old-same-old, this book can’t be beat.
It’s worth mentioning that there are two other books in this series, one for children, and another for pre-schoolers. While my children are not tweens (yet), this book still fit them very well. I could see giving the children’s book a try, but as my children are on the upper edge, I might just stick with the tween book. If quality is consistent, I can imagine both books being worth the investment if the age is appropriate.