Exercise for Homeschoolers

You know, sometimes it can be hard for homeschoolers to get enough exercise.  It is really easy for us to just lounge around the house, surrounded by books on the couch, or glued to our computer screens all day.  Who has time for exercise??  I know that this is certainly an issue in our house.  However, there are some ways we try to get around this.  Because, as unimportant as exercise seems, it really is important – and I’m preaching to myself here.  I greatly dislike exercise.  Basically, this post is for those of you homeschoolers who don’t participate in gym class or an exercise co-op.

–When we first began homeschooling, my father would set my brother and me up with a P.E. session in our garage a few times a week.  He would lay out mats and blankets, and then have us do jumping jacks, leg lifts, sit-ups, crunches, running in place, etc.  He would then send my brother running around our block a couple of times…and I would go out on my bike for about twenty minutes.  This lasted for a few years, but eventually faded out.  I’m pretty sure that was the most P.E. we’ve ever had in our homeschool experience – he was a good teacher!

–Then a few years later, my mom took over homeschooling, and since our exercise program had faded out, she came up with different ways to make us exercise.  With some of our curriculum, she had us running in place, doing jumping jacks (at one point I actually sprained my calf muscle while doing jumping jacks, haha), and going out on our bikes in the afternoon.

–When that year was over, she had to get even more creative.  We purchased a Wii, and all of us started doing Wii Fit, and other vigorous Wii games as our either daily or multiple-time-a-week exercise.  We still use this option occasionally.

–During my last two years of high school, I began each semester by waking up early and working out on our treadmill before school began.  Eventually, this exhausted me and I gave up (I told you I don’t like exercising).

What do we do now?  Well, pretty much a mixture.  Definitely not anything consistent, so don’t look to me for an example of exercise, haha!  I think I’m mainly sharing this in case there are any other unmotivated-when-it-comes-to-exercise homeschoolers out there.  We take occasional walks with the dogs (which keeps us from walking at a sluggish pace), sometimes work out on the treadmill, and play the Wii.  Now, my parents have set into motion a disciplinary plan:  When my younger siblings get in trouble, they have to run laps around our block.  It helps let out their emotions AND tones their muscles.  So, though that isn’t consistent exercise, it does help.

Now, so far all I’ve really been talking about is cardio exercise – exercise that increases your heart rate.  I’ve taken a few exercise/health courses, and have learned that cardio exercise is by far the most important.  It is actually recommended that teenagers get at least thirty minutes a day of cardio exercise.  Obviously, this doesn’t really happen in my life, but there is another kind of exercise that I’m really good at.  See, there are three main types of exercise:

  • Cardio
  • Flexibility
  • Muscular

We’ve already checked off cardio, but what about flexibility?  In all honesty, I’m not that flexible.  I think I’m more flexible than I truly realize – meaning, if I wore looser clothing, I would be able to move a lot easier.  I think it’s mostly my stiff jeans, straight skirts, and fitted blouses that keep me from feeling as flexible as I am.  However, if you, the homeschooler, would like to work on your flexibility, Wii Yoga is always an excellent choice.  Painful, but excellent.

Of course, you could always join a yoga class, but remember, this is for the homeschooler who isn’t in any exercise co-ops or classes….

So what’s this about muscular exercise?  Well, this is the one kind of exercise that I can say I:

  • Don’t mind
  • Actually enjoy
  • Am pretty good at

See, I injured my right shoulder over three years ago, and went through several procedures involving extensive physical therapy, injections, TENS units, pain patches, MRIs, and narcotic drugs to try to help it.  Nothing worked, in fact, most of it made my injury worse, and my pain drastically increased.  I ended up having surgery on it December of 2010.  It was actually a lot worse after the surgery – my surgeon had accidentally tightened the joint so much that I could hardly move my arm.  He had taken care of the original injury, but created a huge problem in the process.  It took nine more months of intensive physical therapy, but I ended up coming out of it doing push-ups.  That’s pretty much when my habit of muscular exercise began.  My physical therapist left me with doing two main exercises: Push-ups, and Dips.


It hurt, yes, but eventually I began to like the burn in my muscles, and the feeling of building up my body.  It was something I could see/feel the results from, and I began to enjoy it.  Since then I have added sit-ups and crunches to my routine, and hope to add pull-ups sometime soon.

One more thing you might want to take into consideration:  One of the biggest things in order to exercise is to find a time that works for you.  I live in the mountains, so when winter rolls around, we have to get creative.  Meaning, waiting for those warm days to go for walks or play basketball, and being extra active inside.  Also, it’s important to figure out what time of day works best for you.  As much as I didn’t like getting up early to exercise, if I didn’t do it before school started, I would run out of time/motivation/inspiration to exercise.

So there you have it – possible ways for the homeschooler who dislikes exercise to stay fit!

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Ask A Homeschooler: Response to Katherine

Ask A Homeschooler Sidebar

Hi everyone, Tia from “Where Homeschooling Meets Reality” here.  I’ve recently received a question from Katherine regarding homeschooling and receiving NCAA scholarships.  Here’s the question:

“Hello, i’m a competitive swimmer in high school and i’m currently in 11th grade. Im so unsatisfied with my teachers and how i’m learning. I have negative influences in my school and i need to get out as soon as possible. I read some of the responses to NCAA Eligibility and homeschool requirements and none of them really sound good. I’m absolutely miserable in my high school and ready to be home schooled. Only problem is convincing my dad that it is a good thing for me because of the NCAA if i can’t get approved from NCAA because of homeschool then my dreams will be crushed. So my question is do you think that this will be a good idea for me? I’m not sure and i have so much research to do on my own. I need some HELP!”

First off, I just want to say that I think it’s awesome you are pursuing your dreams and taking into consideration what may or may not impact them.  Secondly, I have some good news for you: There’s no need to panic.  I’m going to outline the steps that you, as a homeschooler, would need to take to receive an athletic scholarship from the NCAA.

Since you are already in eleventh grade, you need to take a look at the college you are wishing to attend, and make sure that your transcript will align with all the requirements for acceptance.  The NCAA does not just look at how well you play your sport; they look at how well you perform in school.  In fact, the NCAA works closely with ACT to determine your academic ability.  Not only that, but your transcript needs to include course titles, grades, units of credits for courses and the grading scale.

Thankfully, as a homeschooler, you can now apply like any traditional-schooled student, but there are still a few things you must do.  It is recommended that as early as eleventh grade, you contact colleges and ask about their course standards and core course requirements for scholarships.  You should also find out what the athletic requirements are, and if your particular college is supported by the NCAA or the NAIA (National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics).

During the last few years, the NCAA approved the academic eligibility on average of 75-100 homeschooled students to receive scholarships at Division I and Division II schools. These homeschooled athletes went on to play college basketball, baseball, volleyball, football, wrestling, track, and virtually every sport.  So, homeschooling will not hamper your opportunities to swim professionally, but you need to know the steps to take in order to receive that scholarship.

Before high school graduation, homeschoolers must:

–Register with the clearinghouse.  Online registration is available at: www.ncaaclearinghouse.net

–Take the ACT or SAT test.  When registering for the test, you must select the clearinghouse as one of the recipients of the test score.

Upon graduation, the homeschooler must provide the clearinghouse with several materials:

–Your official high school transcript, including all course titles, units of credits, grading scale, GPA, and the signature of your course advisor/teacher.

–Your high school diploma, listing the graduation month, day, and year, along with the signature of your teacher.

–A list of the textbooks used for your core courses while in homeschool – including the title, author, and publisher.

–Proof that your homeschool experience was conducted in accordance to state laws – usually in the form of a copy of the state form, or a statement from your homeschool teacher.

As a junior in high school, you can even submit your transcript as-is to the NCAA for them to highlight any deficiencies and let you know what else you need by graduation to receive a scholarship.

Now, if your state allows for it, you always have the option of continuing your swimming competitions at your high school, and completing the rest of your studies at home.  This fact may help you convince your father to homeschool you.  You will still need to submit your transcript, take the ACT or SAT, show the NCAA proof of your graduation (i.e. a diploma), and submit the other required textbook necessities, but still continuing with your school swimming program may help in the “Convincing Department.” Haha

We have two great articles with tips about convincing your parents to homeschool you (here, and here), along with another article regarding homeschoolers and the NCAA.  I hope this helped, and I wish you all the best!


Please don’t hesitate to ask if YOU have any questions like this talented young lady.  You can ask here on the site, on TwitterGoogle+, or just shoot us an email ([email protected])!

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Finally…a BREAK!! ♫

It’s finally here.  We’ve worked, and worked, and worked for the past three months…and just when we thought we couldn’t tease any more energy out of our tired brains…winter break is here!  The first semester of school is over!

Whether you’re in homeschool, your first semester of college, or your last year of college, I’m sure you’re rejoicing!  All your hard work for three grueling months have paid off.  No more last minute papers!  No more late night studying!  No more ripping your hair out over tests!  Well…at least “no more” for a few weeks!  Still, it’s amazing what a few weeks can do to re-energize a person!

Now here’s something I’ve realized with several homeschoolers: Unfortunately, you guys often don’t get a two- or three-week break for the holidays!  When I was homeschooled, I always had a two-week break, so I kind of thought others did too.  In fact, I pretty much lived for winter break because I worked so hard during those first three months.  So, if you’re a homeschooler and you only get a few days off, here are some ways to take full advantage of them:

Pick up a pleasure-reading book – one that you have been waiting for months to read (but haven’t been able to because of school books).  Make sure it is one you know you can devour in a couple of hours or at least your allotted holiday time.

–OR, if you can’t stand to look at another book on your holiday time because you’ve been reading so ridiculously much for school…turn on the T.V.!  If you’re anything like me, you hardly have time to watch any movies with the family during the school year.  Sit down with a hot cup of cocoa/coffee/tea (whichever floats your boat), a cozy blanket, and watch one of your family favorite Christmas movies.  Or, perhaps just a movie in general.

Go to the movies!  Winter break is an awesome time to hit those so-often-missed matinees because of your hectic school schedule.  I always try to go to matinees because they’re SO much cheaper and hardly anyone goes, so there’s always great seating.  Admittedly, the night crowd is more fun…but…if you’re more concerned about keeping your wallet padded, hit up the matinees.

–Take this time to conquer that level on the video game you started during the summer.  Or, beat your siblings in a Mario Kart marathon.  I’ve heard it both ways.

Go Christmas Caroling!  No, this is not old fashioned – we try to do it every year with a group of friends.  The people we visit absolutely LOVE it.  Here are some tips: Only approach homes with porch lights on, driveways shoveled, and a cheerful-looking atmosphere.  Also, you could be extra nice and give them a plate of holiday cheer (also known as cookies).

Go looking at Christmas lights!  This is a family favorite of ours – we pack everyone into the car with a couple carafes of hot cocoa, and head to the places in town with the most Christmas decorations.  Usually these places include R.V. parks, Little America truck stops, and the Country Club.  Take a few hours to drive slowly through the parking lots and neighborhoods, just oohing and ahhing at the pretty decorations.  Teenagers: no, this is not lame.  No, you do not need to roll your eyes.  Please be a good sport and enjoy it while you can.  Take advantage of the small blessings and joys while they are in your life – you never know how fast or drastic your life may change in a few years.

So, there are some tips for enjoying your winter break!  I hope you all have a fantastic holiday season, and are able to completely re-energize for your spring term!!  Happy Holidays!

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