Should Physical Education Be Required for Home-Schooled Children?

By Sterne, Marie L. | JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, March 1997 | Go to article overview
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Should Physical Education Be Required for Home-Schooled Children?


Sterne, Marie L., JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance


Editor's Note: As many Issues responses are published as space permits. The following guidelines are used to determine which responses will be printed.

* When many similar responses to an Issues question are received, JOPERD editors will select the responses that best express the main thought of all the responses.

* When professors assign their students the project of submitting an Issues response to JOPERD, only the best stated responses, both pro and con, will be published.

* Issues responses received without a respondent's name, institution name, title or position, or address will not be considered for publication.

Physical education for home-schooled children is a true test of the outcomes for a physically educated person. Certainly the physical fitness outcomes can be readily achieved if the parents understand, develop, and model fitness. What is much more challenging is meeting the skill development outcomes, especially with fundamental motor skills and lifetime sport skills.

Will parents have the human movement background to develop young people who value the benefits of activity and achieve an active lifestyle? It is the opinion of this professional that this will be a huge challenge and the children would be better served through physical education classes.

- Jerry Krause, professor of Sport Philosophy, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY 10996.

There is no universal mission statement for physical education. However, among all the physical educators I have encountered, most would agree that a primary goal of physical education is to become part of a child's lifestyle. The knowledge of physical education, fitness, and sport is carried with the child throughout his or her life.

In many institutions, which have only minimum requirements for physical education, we cannot make children fit. We can provide them with the knowledge of how to be fit, how to play sports and give them information on continuing activities outside of school.

Whether the child is in school or at home, there are academic requirements that must be met. There is no guarantee the student will further his or her education after receiving a GED. At a minimum, basic physical education requirements should be met at home and encouraged. At home there is even more opportunity to participate in physical activity. Fixed schedules, assemblies, and other interruptions are not primary issues at home. If the child can be taught to appreciate physical education at home, the student will be better equipped to lead a fulfilling life in modern society.

- Neela Eisner, Rather School physical education teacher, South Euclid, OH 44121.

Yes, regardless of the educational format, I believe physical education to be an essential component of a sound educational program. Home-schooled children need to be vigorously active for a minimum of 30 minutes per day to develop a minimal level of vitality and health. The curriculum for home-schooled children should require them to complete specific objectives which will tell what they know; are physically able to do, and how they feel about the learning experience. The primary goals should be to encourage children to develop a love of physical activity and to give them skills to permit them to be active in self-selected activities for a lifetime. They should learn why activity is important to them (physically, socially, emotionally, aesthetically) and how to plan a well-rounded activity/fitness program for their particular age group. A child who only "knows things" but cannot "do things" is mentally literate, but kinesthetically illiterate. Video records of skills attained; activity journals; stories of participation in adventure activities; reading about athletes and careers in health, sport, recreation, and allied fields; charting of fitness progress are several of the integrated learning activities which could be selected by home-schooled students to indicate knowledge and skills attained.

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