Unless state laws have specific requirements (check your laws HERE) physical education for homeschoolers is an area that is completely up to the parent.  Although some families may do it differently from others, most seem to agree that physical fitness is essential to healthy child development and should be included in the educational curriculum.

Homeschool families typically handle physical education (P.E.) in 1 of 2 ways.  They either:

(1) award credit for physical activities that are already a part of a child’s regular day; or

(2) assign additional physical activities above and beyond the level of normal activity.

Look at each option in more detail:

Awarding credit for physical activities that are already part of the child’s day

This method is based on the philosophy that, as long as children are already relatively active, this constitutes enough physical education for homeschool credit.  That is, if children do things like swimming in the family pool, walking the dogs or riding bikes on weekends, no additional P.E. is necessary.  For these families, checking off P.E. hours is easy, as long as the physical activities occur on a fairly regular basis and meet whatever general guidelines the parents have set for the children.

Assigning additional physical activities above and beyond a child’s normal level of activity

This system operates on the notion that additional physical fitness activities, requiring more than the usual level of exertion, that improve a child’s level of physical fitness, are required before P.E. credit can be awarded.  Families using these guidelines might require children to learn new outdoor games, play team or individual sports, join a homeschool P.E. coop program, use equipment to improve muscle tone, learn a new exercise program, or anything else that enhances physical fitness above the level at which it began.  This practice may also yield some kind of measurable results, if families choose to track them as well.

When physical education is defined to also include a health/wellness component, this must be considered, too.  Because so many activities contribute to health and wellness, parents will need to judge what is acceptable to them.  Examples could include, but are not limited to: healthy cooking at home, organic gardening, learning about homeopathy, studying government nutritional guidelines, practicing yoga or meditation, or anything else parents deem worthy of school credit.  For parents requiring an even higher level of fitness and understanding, establishing a total personal and nutritional fitness program can be designed, complete with daily requirements, periodic measurements and assessments at the end.  Even a supervised weight loss program, if one has been recommended by a health practitioner, can be used as a P.E. program.

To learn more about P.E. for homeschoolers, start with these links and then find others on your own:

President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition

The President’s Challenge

National Association for Sport and Physical Education

Kid’s Health from Nemours

Horizons Physical Education Curriculum

Alpha Omega Health Curriculum

Homeschool Family Fitness Book

The Ultimate Homeschool Physical Education Game Book

Choose My Plate (formerly the government nutrition pyramid)

The Y

Little League Online

U.S. Youth Soccer

Youth Basketball of America

Youth Golf Association

National Alliance for Youth Sports

National Federation of High School Sports

Let’s Move in School

Menu planning has grown in popularity in recent years and is a particularly favorite topic among stay-at-home and homeschooling moms.  In the blogging community too, women are always eager to share how they organize meal time and save money through meal planning.

So widespread is meal planning in fact, that today’s household managers need do nothing more than find a favorite menu planning blog or two and learn all of the tips and tricks they need to know.  As a bonus, most blogs also offer resources,which usually includes all of the printables needed to begin meal planning with very little effort.

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In a previous post, we talked here about Meal Planning for the Non-Planner.  In future posts, we’ll cover additional aspects of the meal planning process as well.

Today, we’re bringing you a simple idea for those getting started using magnetic menu boards.  This is an easy one to build (though admittedly not as attractive as others found on the web) for those intimidated by some of the fancier designs or just not as handy working with lumber and power tools.

This completely functional magnetic menu board  takes no time at all to build and looks pretty darned cute.  It’s made from an ordinary dry-erase board that you can purchase for $20 or less plus some ordinary scrapbooking supplies you may already have in your craft/sewing room.  You can customize it to your taste or have the children help to make it with you, as we did (that’s why it has a carnival of colors!).

Directions:

Start with a dry-erase board like this one, the kind with the calendar grid already on it  (this one has a cork-board area, too, although that’s not really necessary):

Cover the magnetic white-board area with your choice of scrapbooking papers, neatly cut to the correct size.  Use glue-stick, rubber cement the edges, or use double-stick tape as we did here:

Now, add lettering or decorations of your choice.  We went with these puffy letter stickers found on clearance at Kohl’s, because they matched our paper perfectly:

but you can use any stickers or rub-on lettering to write whatever message you like.  We wrote this on ours:

Now, using self-stick borders, grossgrain ribbons and double-stick tape, or any other method you’d like, cover up any rough edges and finish up the general design.  We went with some of these great self-adhesive borders that are easy to stick on:

Once the design is completed, it’s time to think about your menu.  Type up a list of 30 or more of your family’s favorite recipes, using free digital images if you like. Print them onto card stock, laminate, and cut apart.

Or, make it easy on yourself, and print out some of the ready-made meal labels you can find for free on the web.  We went with these from Heart of Wisdom because we loved so many of the meal options.  Then, we hopped onto the computer and made up a few more of our own, in the same size and shape as the ones we found on the web:

We protected the menu cards from splattering food and sticky fingers by covering them with Avery self-adhesive laminating sheets:

and then used a good pair of sharp scissors to cut them all apart:

For magnets, we chose a coil of adhesive magnetic strip, purchased at a local craft store for $2.99, and cut little sections of magnet to stick on the backs of each menu item.  Individual magnets and drops of glue would work just as well:

Finally, use a dry-erase marker to enter the month at the top and place menu cards in the order in which you plan to serve them up.  We added “Leftover Night” and “Clean out the fridge” cards every now and then, as well as a “Mystery dinner” night just for fun:

We also added an extra strip of magnetic tape to one of the edges of the board to hold all of other unused menu cards:

If you make one of these, or have an easy magnetic menu board idea of your own, please share a link in our comments area so that readers can check it out.  Bon Appetit!