Making Health and Fitness a Priority in the Homeschool Family
A healthy lifestyle is becoming more and more important as the standard American diet and a sedentary lifestyle ravage our nation in soaring rates of preventable disease and in obesity. Fortunately, as homeschool families we have a lot of control over what our children eat and how much physical activity they engage in every day. There are so many ways to incorporate health and fitness into your daily routine that there’s no excuse not to make healthy living a priority! The best thing is that everyone benefits from the efforts, even mom and dad. Plus you get plenty of fodder for homeschool lessons while you are eating healthy and being active.
Cook Together for Healthy Homeschool Families
Many picky eaters can be won over by cooking their own food. Cooking is also a fun way to spend time together and learn very practical life skills. Here are some ideas for staying healthy in the kitchen as a homeschool family:
- Choose a cookbook from a different country and try some new flavors.
- Try recipes from the time period you are studying.
- Make a family cook book of recipes — each member adds their favorite recipes and illustrates them.
- Make a master dinner menu for the month then cut it up, mix the strips in a jar, and choose one each day to make for dinner.
- Learn about healthy foods and how they help our bodies.
- Research about different vitamins and minerals and what they do for us when we eat them
- Let everyone help in preparing the meals — even little ones can help with shredding lettuce for a salad or other small tasks. Older children can take over more challenging tasks. Of course, always provide supervision when using the stove or sharp utensils.
Play Together for Fit Homeschool Families
Have fun with your kids! Sure, some days seem messy, but focus on the positive. Make memories together. I want my kids to look back fondly on their growing up years. Here are ideas for connecting and staying fit via play:
- Go outside.
- Toss a football around.
- Kick a ball around.
- Play a mini game of soccer.
- Learn about a new sport and play some scrimmage games.
- Invite friends to join in.
- Play silly games outside and inside.
- Set up an obstacle course.
- Create a maze out of chairs or other obstacles and crawl around in it.
- Learn how to snowboard or ski.
- Don’t forget water sports — it’s fun and easy to swim together.
- Exercise together.
- Train for a 5K.
Learn Together as a Homeschool Family
Choose topics related to health and fitness and research them as part of a homeschool unit study. Each family member could report on what they learned. Take photos of your family working and playing together and make a scrapbook to remember all of the fun times you had. Sometimes learning needs to be done outside the house. I find that it’s easier for me to be more engaged in the activity if I’m away from my computer and household chores. Try these family learning activities:
- Join a local gym and participate in the classes that they offer. Many gyms offer classes for all ages, so be sure to sign up for the ones appropriate for your family.
- Take an exercise class.
- Learn about CPR and first aid. Older students and adults may want to consider becoming certified.
- Watch online videos about health topics.
- Take a cooking class at a local community center, community college or via online course.
- Check out books from the library and read together.
- Interview health professionals and report about your findings.
By incorporating these ideas, health can be another hallmark of your family along with standard Christian virtues of diligence, honesty, and compassion.