Exercising While Homeschooling
By Ann Zeise
On June 9th a member of the A2Z Homeschool group asked how others managed to homeschool and get in some personal time for exercise. This created quite a stir because it is something many of us struggle with.
Maybe before we started homeschooling, we used to drop the kids off at school, and then head for the gym or go for a jog. Now we have kids of assorted ages and abilities around us all day, needing what seems to be all our time and privacy. The house gets messier and so housework seems to require more time. So how can a mom find about an hour a day for a fitness routine? Here are many suggestions from me and other homeschool moms.
Use the gym’s child care, which is fine if the gym is strict about not allowing any sick, contagious kids.
Then there is dedicating some space in your home for a few pieces of gym equipment. I think most of us have a dusty exercycle stashed somewhere. If you’ll use it, fine. Try to have some items in one spot so the whole family can exercise together. Remember: by setting a good example, you are also “teaching” your children. One member “inherited” a treadmill from a neighbor who no longer wanted it. Do check yard sales for exercise equipment, especially if you don’t need the latest electronic gizmos on it.
Put a TV in front of the exercise equipment. Make a rule that you can only have that TV on while exercising. If you want to see the end of a show, you’ll keep moving!
I used to keep a mystery book on the exercycle’s stand. My rule was that I could only read that book on the execycle, so if I wanted to find out “who done it,” I had to get back on and workout!
Of all the latest exercise “programs,” the Wii Fit seems to be the most popular. If you can’t find it on Amazon, try Ebay. one member says the competition in her household to gain and hold the top 5 positions in the scoring is high. Even the tiniest child enjoys trying to do it in her own way.
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You don’t have to run out and buy specialized equipment. You can use cans of food for “weight lifting.” A broom or mop can be used for stretching and flexibility exercises. You can dance to the radio or any music source you happen to already own.
One member considers hanging out her family laundry great bending and stretching exercise. See! You can turn ordinary household tasks into exercise, if you think about it!
Do you go to a homeschool Park Day? Ask one of the moms to watch your kids, give the older kids cell phones to page you, while you walk or jog around the perimeter of the park.
Often the normal park equipment offers forms of exercise. Even pushing kids on the swing can be tiring. Running them around on a merry-go-round can wipe you out! Climb the slide and go on down about a hundred times! Better than a Stairmaster! Our park system offers a “Par Course” from one end to the other. These are often in disrepair, depending on the economy, but when they are freshly painted, repaired, and clean, they can be fun.
Parents should take turns watching the children so the other spouse can get some alone time exercising. Or pay your teenager so the two of you can go for an evening stroll or swim for even a half hour. Explain that if you are more fit, you’ll be more happy and energetic, and then more willing to also meet their needs.
But what if one child has asthma or a heart condition and really can’t do aerobic exercise? One mom solved this by pulling the child in a wagon, which on a long walk would feel like a long workout at the gym. As they get older, such a child could do weight training, lifting weights instead of aerobic exercise. Here is a site with suggestions for family-friendly, adaptive physical fitness exercises.
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Make the time! If you have a home school planner, put a time to exercise in that schedule. If you unschool, then still put exercise time in your calendar! After a month of getting into a routine, you may not need to so formally write it down, but to get started, this can really help.
Open up more time by automating some tasks. Our mom who started this thread said that paying bills was taking up a lot of her time. I don’t pay bills any more. Didn’t mean that the way it sounds. What I’ve done is to set it up so the bills pay themselves. It’s all automated now. They all pay themselves a few days after my largest check comes in, around the first. My job is just to keep the checking account full enough! I look at the bills online in case there is something I may want to dispute.
I also don’t do laundry every day. We’ve had a time-of-use electric meter for years, and with that only weekends and some holidays are at the cheap rate all day, so Saturdays became laundry day. Everyone brings down their baskets on Friday night, and I get the laundry started, and the guys help me move everything along throughout the day. By evening the clean clothes are back to their closets and drawers, and we don’t think about it for another week.
So, girl friends, no more excuses. Involve your family to make some time each day to have some form of exercise. I’ll link to some resources for exercise equipment on this page, but don’t let a tight budget stop you. Walking is free. Housework is inevitable and can been done in an aerobic or weight lifting way. Follow your kids when they run around and join in their games for “exercise.”
You CAN do this!
See also ~Losing Weight