I was a public school kid. I loved school, except for PE class. I hated PE with a fiery passion, and with good reason. When I was in the third grade, the teacher wrote on my report card that I am “kinesthetically challenged”…. To this day, I’m not sure what she meant by that, but I am pretty sure she meant that I am klutzy and pretty much incapable of making my body do what I want it to. In elementary school, I remember playing kickball, capture the flag and dodge ball… oh, and one especially awkward week where they taught us how to square dance. In high school, the only thing I remember participating in was the mile and a half run, and only because you had to do it to pass the class. I was NOT going to fail PE, so I ran. The rest of the time, I worked really hard on my tan while sitting in the outfield.
Physical education was miserable, and it in no way prepared me to tackle physical education at home with my children. PE in school is reliant on a large group of kids, and teaching PE at home by myself is reliant on my having a clue. My poor 6 year old has inherited my klutzy nature, and needs some major help with coordination and fitness, and I really need the tools to help him improve.
I think Family Time Fitness is a program written explicitly for people like me. When you purchase the Fitness 4 Homeschool Core 1 Curriculum, you get a PDF of 260 different lessons to use, 5 days a week for a year. The lessons are scheduled to give the kids 30-45 minutes of structured physical education per lesson, with an extra outdoor activity scheduled for 15-25 min. The lessons are long and detailed, with a large variety of activities with step by step instructions. Each activity and movement included in the lesson has detailed instructions, but more importantly is accompanied by its very own private you tube video to show you exactly how it should be done. The videos SO helpful for kinesthetically challenged people like me who read the directions and go “huh?”
The activities in Family Time Fitness are focused on what they call “fundamental movements”, things like shipping, hopping, running, jumping and shuffling. Core 1 is written to improve “each child’s strength, mobility, agility, flexibility, coordination, balance, endurance and mental acuity” through a mastery of these fundamental movements. This program is focused on improving the strengths and confidence of the individual child, through fun, engaging activities.
I found this program to be especially helpful because it is written to be used in small spaces, and with single children or small groups. We live in a small apartment, on the third floor. The kids don’t always get to go out to play, and weather in Germany is unpredictable to say the least. This program helps me give the kids the physical stimulation they need each day, while working with the space we have. We did most of the activities in the living room (in an 8 foot by 8 foot space) and up and down a single hallway. This program helped me work with the space I had, and got the kids moving even when I was being too lazy to drag all the kids down three flights of stairs.
Doing PE in the hallway
The lessons can be completed all at one time, but I found the program most useful when I began breaking the lesson up during the day, between subjects to help the boys get the wiggles out. It takes us 5-15 minutes to do an activity, and we have enough material in one lesson to take 3 or 4 “PE breaks” each day. It really did get their blood pumping, and improved their focus (as much as little boys focus). The activities are written to be done with common household sports equipment, like jump ropes, hula hoops, balls and bean bags, so we kept these materials close to use while working on our lessons, and I could just bring them out for quick breaks, without having to worry about finding things.
The only downside to the program is that it is so large and substantial that printing it is impractical. You are looking at more than 900 pages of lesson plans. Luckily, they authors planned ahead for this, and provided one page summaries for the lessons for you to print, cutting the number of pages down to 260. I personally enjoy the long directions included in the lesson plans, and need them for a crutch, so when teaching the children I kept the laptop close to refer to when I needed more guidance then the one page summaries that I printed.
I have a friend who uploaded the lesson plan PDFs to a tablet, so she takes the tablet with her wherever they were doing the activities, which also made checking the YouTube videos (which are hyperlinked right there in the lesson plans) a snap. Using this program on a tablet would be ideal.
Overall, the kids loved this program. They ask daily to “Do PE”, and it has come in helpful getting the kids wiggles out between subjects. Family Time Fitness is very well done, and easy to use. The program comes with many optional extra tools to help improve your child’s fitness level, like a daily food diary, nutrition log, tracking calendars, shopping lists, meal planners. One of the extras I love is the assessment tool, which taught me how to measure Bug and Mr. Man’s fitness level, and gave me tangible goals to look for, so I can see how they are improving as they continue in this program.
For elementary and middle school, Family Time Fitness also offers a Basketball Module and Health Workbooks to be used with the program. Next year, they will be releasing Core 2, with more activities and increasing difficulty. This is a program I can see my family using and growing with for years! For High School Students, they have a separate fitness program, as well as online health and fitness classes.
Family Time Fitness’ Core 1 Curriculum is appropriate for kids in grade k-8, and can be easily reused multiple years with the same children. It can be purchased right now for 57 dollars on the Family Time Fitness website, or get all their elementary lessons, including the soon to be released core 2, health workbooks, and basketball module for 137.