Physical Education in Virtual School: How Does That Work?
Unless you were an all-American athlete when you were a kid, you might not have the best memories of phys. ed. class. Whether you dreaded the ugly gym uniform, playing a sport you just didn’t enjoy, or being the last one picked for a team sport, the good news is that, as a virtual school student, your child won’t have to experience it!
Running, bicycling, climbing, skiing, dancing, martial arts, playing soccer or basketball—all of these great, fun activities can be part of physical education for a virtual school student. That’s because the name of the game is personal fitness choice when you attend school online.
Three Great Choices
Health and Physical Education instructor Shannon Skelcher, who teaches at Wyoming Connections Academy, says this freedom of choice is a real benefit. “With Connections Academy, families select one of three physical education options for their students. They can choose to participate in exercises described in weekly lessons, or students can practice yoga with a DVD that’s provided. The third option, which is the most flexible, is for students to select and track their own personal fitness activities.
“Having these choices enables parents to select fitness activities that are a good match for a child’s physical abilities and personal preferences,” she says. A parent may also consider how competitive the child is, and whether he or she prefers a faster- or slower-paced activity. Additionally, some students may prefer individual activities over team sports. The better the fit, the more likely the child is to enjoy the activity. And naturally, enjoying physical activity can help build good habits for lifetime fitness!
- Exercise with the President
Families that don’t have an established method of exercise may prefer the preplanned lessons, with the opportunity to participate in the President’s Challenge awards program, which is administered by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. This option provides suggested exercise routines each week. This schedule is progressive, adding exercises gradually so that fitness and conditioning develop at a reasonable rate. Students can work toward receiving the President’s Active Lifestyle Award or the President’s Physical Fitness Award.
- Strike a Pose
But physical education isn’t a one-size-fits-all experience. Other families choose to practice yoga, one of the world’s oldest exercise systems. Guided by a DVD provided by the school, students move through a series of poses designed to make muscles stronger and more flexible. Some parents opt to work out beside their students!
- Create a Custom Program
Designing a custom exercise and fitness program is a popular choice. Brye Cerfoglio, who teaches Health and Physical Education at Nevada Connections Academy, says that many of the families at her virtual school choose this option.
“It’s great for students who already participate in regularly scheduled, structured sports or exercise programs. They use an online Activity Tracker to record the time they spend involved in traditional sports such as soccer, swimming, basketball, and lacrosse, as well as bicycling, dance, skating, and cheerleading. Students can choose any activity, as long as it gets them moving. Parents will be happy to learn that even doing chores around the house can count,” she explains.
“The most significant benefit is that parents and Learning Coaches can gear physical activity to the individual’s needs. Children who have asthma, for example, might need to exercise indoors during cold weather or allergy season. They could choose to exercise by taking a martial arts class, riding a stationary bicycle, or doing Wii Fit or Xbox Kinect.”
With unlimited options, online school parents can create a program that guides their children toward positive attitudes about exercise and helps them establish healthy habits for lifetime fitness.
What is your child’s ideal exercise program? Please comment and share your brightest ideas for keeping your kid happy, healthy, and fit.