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Homeschool P.E. (. . . for the P.E. Challenged Mom) Review by Krystin Corneilson

By Anne Elliott
Anne's School Place
PO Box 333
Brownsdale, MN 55918

If ever there was a homeschool book title that spoke to me, it was this one: Homeschool P.E. (...for the P.E. Challenged Mom). In her opening, author Anne Elliott could have been my twin as she described herself as growing up in a traditional school setting and despising "phys. ed." Class, then finding herself as a homeschool mama who knew that exercise was important for her whole family but was intimidated by her own past in the sports department. After her candid confession, she explained that this book was born out of solving her dilemma.

The spiral-bound soft-covered book is divided into simple, digestible sections, starting with the commonsense particulars of "Before Your Family Begins." A quick glance at the rest of the Table of Contents indicates equipment needed, what exactly is covered in this course, challenge goals, sports, and then the nitty gritty: the weekly lesson plans and movement cards. Each chapter is thorough and written in a friendly tone. We are reminded to be flexible in our scheduling and to start each school day with Bible study (that way, we are keeping first things first). She discusses teamwork and setting appropriate individual goals. Suggested resources are also included.

The daily schedule includes a section dubbed "Stretch and Flex." The names of the moves are catchy and are described in detail. One of my favorite tips was to recite Books of the Old Testament while doing jumping jacks! The next part of the plan is called "Moving Time." Each day of the school week is dedicated to a specific task: activities on a movement card, challenges, sports, games, or health research. Each assignment is thoroughly explained.

Before she turns us loose to promote our new and exciting phys. ed. class to our kids, Elliott provides us with 36 weeks of completed lesson plans followed by dozens of "movement card" suggestions. We are now fully prepared for our new venture into family fitness!

Pros: I have been homeschooling for nine years and have yet to establish a P.E. routine for my four children that works. This book lays out exactly what I need to do to get ready for it, mentally and physically, and how to follow through. I am actually excited about it now!

Cons: This is not a criticism but more of an observation. The health research section and part of the sports research is aimed at kids who have computer access, which may be a limitation to some.

I would highly recommend this inexpensive ($19.95 for spiral bound or $14.95 for the e-book version) and amazingly organized book to any homeschool family--even those whose kids are either not yet in school--or for families whose kids may not have the privilege of daily phys. ed. class in school. The benefits of exercise, sportsmanship, and physical fun are long-term and won't end when formal instruction ends.

Product review by Krystin Corneilson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC , January 2011