As homeschool families, sometimes it's hard to figure out just how to meet those PE expectations for your children, unless they are enrolled in extra-curricular fitness classes. But those can be budget-breakers, AND schedule-breakers. Oh, and then we have to try to find time to get MOM (or Dad) to the gym too (More money and time that can be hard to come by)!
I had been thinking for awhile that *I* needed to get some motivation to get moving and get more fit. I was finding clothes that have always fit are getting too snug, which meant that maybe I've been sitting in front of a screen just a little bit too much (never mind that it's active brain time ... usually.... and not mindless couch-potato time). I was delighted, therefore, to be in the group of families chosen to review Family Time Fitness' full Fitness 4 Home School Core 1 Curriculum K-8.
We received pdf downloads with 260 complete lessons for Family Fitness ~ with 25-45 minutes of physical activity mapped out in each lesson. The activities are designed to develop large motor skills, physical fitness and agility in minimal space. The video below will give you a brief overview of the program:
The first lesson we did took place in our living room. We have small rooms, so were relegated to our 9x12 carpet space. We had to take turns (2 at a time), and couldn't be too bouncy or jumpy for fear of knocking things off our bookcases/shelves (OLD house~ rather shaky floors, I guess...). Everyone was ready to continue the following day.
Next day, I discovered I goofed and missed the first lesson, so we just did it the 2nd day. Well! Let me tell you~ we were wondering for the next couple of days if there was a typo in the directions/repetitions. One of the warm-ups (Frog-squats) was to be done 20x with 3 repetitions. Wowzers! Those thigh muscles just weren't ready for that kind of work out! Eldest was walking like a little old lady for the next couple of days, and boy did it hurt to go up and down the stairs. Middlest complained a bit as well, but his muscles were more used to that sort of action, being a skateboarding boy and all (he managed to play baseball without too much trouble).
We did moderated versions of some of the exercises for a little, till our muscles were ready for more of a work-out. *interesting note~ Eldest is a competitive Irish Step Dancer, and uses her legs a LOT, She is NOT a couch potato, so we were surprised by this muscle group that just wasn't all that ready to work out! *second interesting note~ Eldest was also moving rapidly during the frog-squat warm-up the first time~ almost like she was hopping a race, so I wonder if that affected how unhappy her muscles were... I seemed to fare a little better than she did, and I was moving at a regular, steady pace.
On following days my children groaned a little when I mentioned that it was time for Family Time Fitness, but there were generally one or two activities that they found were interesting or challenging. Middlest had a grand time discovering that he could jump a 6 foot "river" from a standstill, and 7 feet with a run. Didn't realize that his legs had so much more spring in them than his older sisters! Pretty fun and exciting! (Kicking myself that I don't have pictures or video, because it was fun!) Much more interested in the "Field" of Track and Field now. :)
Unfortunately, because we had vacation/sleep-away camps during the beginning of the review period, and ended up with some bronchial infections/viruses directly after that have hung on, we haven't been able to be quite as regular with our fitness program as I would like (Kind of hard to do with a chorus of coughs every few minutes of activity.... sigh), but as soon as everyone is breathing well again (When the ragweed is gone, perhaps?) we will be starting right back up again. I am anxious to see the effects of an extended , regular, period of Family Fitness ~ One way I will be able to do that is to fill out an assessment form every 6-8 weeks to track a number of activities from broad-jump to speed and agility (I plan to fill those forms out for myself as well!
Check out this brain scan~ can you imagine how much better school work might be if the brain is already warmed up and active BEFORE they sit down to do their Math/Language Arts/Science! Pretty amazing to realize that exercise activates your brain, in addition to "thinking" and figuring out puzzles, etc...
What we liked:
- Variety of activities
- Working up a sweat (I know... ewww.... but hey, the sense of accomplishment is great!)
- Instructional videos to help us know if we were doing the exercises correctly
- One-sheet summaries of each lesson (I worked from my ipad, clicking the links from the regular lesson pages for the instructional videos, and then working directly from the lesson summary~ handy!)
- Adaptability to many spaces
- Assessment forms to utilize
- Other downloadable forms/tools~ Meal Planner, Grocery List, Daily Food Diary, Nutrition Log (I'll be honest and say I'm not terribly likely to make too much use of the last two, because they take extra time, but I like knowing they are there if I need them)
- Felt the program started off just a little too fast~ super sore muscles the 1st or 2nd day made us think that some of the repetitive motions needed to be worked up to a little more gradually.
- Not *quite* easily adaptable to every home. Not very convenient with 9x12 floor space, but that's what we've got (small rooms~ 13x13 is average in our house, and we have furniture and bookcases in every room)~ it does work, but it's a little cramped~ can't have everyone moving at once, so it takes longer. However, even with that noted, I'm happy to have this program to work with!
Company: Family Time Fitness
Product: Fitness 4 Home School Core 1 Curriculum K-8 (Core 2 will be available in 2013, and you can also find High School Strength Training and Health Modules, Basketball Modules, and Elementary aged workbooks on the Family Time Fitness Homeschool Tab)
Ages: K-8 (ages 4-13)