Now here's a great idea! Most P.E. books are written for large groups of kids and for schools that have thousands of dollars worth of equipment and a huge playground. While homeschoolers often have large families, few of us have 20 or 30 kids to play the great games listed in traditional P.E. books. If your homeschool physical education program usually consists of having the kids play with the family dog (not that we would ever do that, mind you), then The Ultimate Homeschool Physical Education by Guy Bailey (www.educatorspress.com, $19.95) may be just what you need to add a bit of fun and excitement. Mr. Bailey has over 20 years of experience teaching physical education and has also authored The Ultimate Playground & Recess Game Book and The Ultimate Sport Lead-Up Game Book. He wrote this book after finding that many homeschool families were asking him how to create physical activities they could do with their kids at home. Once he started coming up with ideas, he began using some of these smaller group games with his own classes. He found that the kids enjoyed playing games in smaller groups, because they could participate more, had less waiting, and achieved better physical results over time.
The ingredients for P.E. are pretty simple: you need a couple of kids, a backyard, and maybe a ball, jump rope, or other household item. Add some creative games adapted for homeschoolers and everyone has fun while exercising. The games can be played with two to four kids, or easily adapted for more, in the space of a typical backyard and with minimal equipment. The book is divided into categories, such as Basketball Games, Football Games, Playground Games, Fitness-Building Games, and Rope Jumping Activities. Each game provides an introduction and purpose, the number of players, suggested age level, required equipment, rules, and variations. The book is very well organized and the instructions are clear enough that even those of us who always played left-field can understand them! Many are adaptations of common games for larger groups, such as football, soccer, and basketball with two players. Some are games that most of us would recognize, such as playing horse with a basketball, while others are very clever new twists, such as Pickle and Scurrying Squirrels. There is a glossary of terms with each section, a list of additional resources, tips for parents, and an excellent index in the back. I don't know of an official poll or research, but most people I know, even athletic ones, remember being chosen last for games in P.E. Statistically speaking, we all couldn't have been chosen last (although I really was - honest - scarred for life probably). What a gift we can give our children by making P.E. engaging, active, a touch competitive sometimes, and most importantly, fun time with the family. Don't worry - we won't tell if you join in the fun!