Friday, January 10, 2014

Gross Motor isn't always Gross

One thing about homeschooling is that you don't have to take a snow day if you don't want to. So, while the rest of the country is having an extended holiday, our school is back in session, undaunted by the weather. In fact, it makes for short but effective recess when you can send the kids out to play in the snow.
As much as they love it, after 30 minutes, they are more than ready to come in and warm up with some cocoa and math facts.

I've spent some time talking about the more precious moments of homeschooling my 3 little men, as well as some of the difficult lessons we have learned along the way. I've even admitted to some ugly days we've had already this school year.

I'm hoping to have a little more fun as I attempt to describe what recess and P.E. have been like for my little group of rowdy boys. I have to say, one of the best parts about teaching them at home is being able to adapt to their needs. If I can tell that a lesson just isn't working, if I sense that one or more of us is getting tired of sitting and politely discussing whatever lesson we are on, I can declare that it is time for recess or P.E. It really is amazing what 30 minutes or so of physical activity will do for my boys' ability to concentrate. Granted, it might take us another 15 to slow down again, but it is well worth the time.

A lot of times, our physical education looks an awful lot like that of kids in school. We learn how to play sports like baseball and soccer. Shorty likes to sit in his official chair and be the "whistleblower" for his brothers, since he sometimes gets frustrated that he can't keep up with them.
 Or we hit the playground for some fun and exercise. A favorite game is for one brother to sit at the edge of the merry-go-round while another brother runs laps trying to catch him. It's rather like a dog chasing his tail.
There are times when I am not their teacher. They all love taking gymnastics at the local YMCA. Shorty is here, surrounded by girly girls, showing off his athletic skills (ahem). At least he is listening in this picture. He often says his job is to make people laugh, can imagine.

 We are also regulars at the Y's swim sessions. I knew from early on that 3 littles this close in age would give me a heart attack in the pool if I didn't make them learn from somebody other than me. Now I fight the crowds of moms in the observation room, not daring to actually go work out or read. I know that as soon as I did, not one, but 3 little men would need help in the restroom. Ugh. But, hey, 2 out of 3 are turning into great little swimmers. Number 3, well, he likes to make people laugh. Especially sweet little girls who are next to him in the water.
 Sometimes we get to take advantage of the fact that a great little children's museum is just a few blocks up the street. It can be a nice change of pace to go spend some time playing there. The pint-size village complete with costumes is a big hit for my little men. We love imaginative play.
Also within a few blocks of our house we have some fabulous bike trails. When the weather is nice, there's not much better than learning how to ride on the straight stretch by the house or taking a little jog or nature hike. 
There are times, though, that our gross motor development takes a turn for the crazy. In my family, stair sliding is an essential skill. I know that some would argue that it is useless or juvenile, but I would have to question the kids' genetics if they weren't enthusiastic about giving it a go. Here the twins are perfecting their head-first belly slide. Thing 2 was bringing up the rear in the race because of the tactical mistake of putting his hands down onto the steps rather than elevating them to maximize his potential. As they get older, and if we locate an appropriately steep staircase, they will need to perfect the art of the backside slide. I will enlist the help of my cousin, who is the reigning stairslide champion of the entire known universe.
 Sometimes a kid just needs to run. And run. And run some more. The weather doesn't always cooperate, but a dining room table makes a perfect track. The kids are no more than a blur here as they speed around, counting their laps as they go. Needless to say, I am running with my mind. That totally counts, doesn't it?
 Sometimes our physical education just involves being SUPER for a while. And why not?
Suddenly I feel like I need to get up off my hiney and move.

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