Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Schoolhouse Review: Family Time Fitness


It all started with the Frog Squats.  Whew.  I thought I'd never walk pain-free after those.  Then along came Quick Feet. UGH.  But that UGH has really become a good thing.  Our new school year brought with it a renewed desire to be healthier and better fit.  We've made some big changes in our eating habits and have started an exercise routine that makes us ALL feel better.  If you've followed my facebook posts, you know that Family Time Fitness has been taking my name and kicking me into gear.  But not just me -- it's helping us to all shape up and get fit.  And, wow, are we laughing together.  {Okay, so maybe they are just laughing at MY attempts to do the exercises, but we're still laughing.}

We have spent the last few months getting our physical acts together.  Physical Education has officially come to Long Leaf Academy.  Not only are we making a concerted effort to eat better, but we are exercising together as well.

Now, don't get me wrong.  My children have always been pretty active.  I've made sure they've taken dance and gymnastics and played lots of different sports.  I've been a good basketball mom and softball mom and baseball mom.  I was even a cheer coach for a couple of years with Upward Cheerleading.  (Of course, that was not so much about cheer as it was about JESUS.)

It's soccer season right now and we've just come home from a WIN for the ORANGE TEAM -- in double overtime, mind you.  BUT . . . where all that activity is good, it's not a complete physical education curriculum.  We were missing the DAILY activity that is so needed for our bodies and our minds.  While team sports are good things, they are not enough of what each child needs to be his or her very best.  (Team sports often don't teach all of the fundamental movement patterns needed to assure that children can reach the highest skill levels desired.)

PhotobucketAnd that's where those Frog Squats first came into the picture.  We were introduced to Fitness 4 Homeschool Core 1 Physical Education Curriculum for K - 8th grade and it really is good for the entire family.  To say that I really, really like it is to put it mildly.  I just had no idea what we were missing.  Yes, I've always wanted us to be our very best.  Yes, I knew that exercise was good for us all.  But somehow I had missed the mark when it came to getting us going on something that was fun and kept us asking for more.  It's been quite a pleasure to clear out the living room, tie on my tennis shoes and get moving with my crew.

Although written for students in Kindergarten - 8th grade, this fitness program truly is fun for my entire family.  {Don't tell her that I told you, but the Junior has even been seen exercising with us.}  I have certainly groaned more than anyone else but my body is starting to get it.  The kinks are definitely beginning to be worked out and the daily sessions are not near as hard for me now as they were when we started.  We are striving TOGETHER to get the right amount of exercise in our routine.  The current healthy recommendations are for 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity daily.  We are following the Family Time Fitness Core 1 plan each day and we are also adding a bike ride and/or walking session every afternoon.

I have NO experience teaching physical education and fitness.  I actually NEVER took a P.E. class in my entire educational career.  I was in the band and twirled flag so P.E. was not required for me.  {I did take a Mommy & Me Fitness class after my oldest was born but that's been 18 years, so that doesn't even count.}  The very idea that I might could teach P.E. to my children was daunting.  It is a good thing that Family Time Fitness made it so easy for me.

The Core 1 Physical Education Curriculum for K-8th grade is written for moms just like me.  Beginning with the Warm Up Exercises and continuing through the main Activity and/or Game Play to the Cool Down Time, if you can read, you can teach.  Each lesson is broken down to let you know what skills you are teaching (mobility, balance, flexibility, coordination, etc.) and what equipment you will need.  Exercises are easily understood but if you are uncertain of what the curriculum is describing to you, demonstration videos are a simple click away.  {Several times we've checked out the video just to make sure this mom is doing an activity correctly.  Thank goodness for those.}

With 260 individual lesson plans, there is plenty to keep us busy for an entire year or more.  If followed exactly, each lesson plan provides 30 - 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise.  Furthermore, we have found that the more active we are, the more active we WANT to be.  We like making time to ride bikes or take long walks together now -- more than ever before -- thanks to Family Time Fitness.

Another big PLUS to me is that carrying out the Core 1 Plan requires no advance preparation.  When it's time for P.E., the children ready our exercise area and I turn on the iPad.  We find where we left off the day before, gather equipment needed from around the house, and begin to get our groove on.

The equipment needed to make our lessons successful was simple and easy-to-find.  We actually owned MOST of what was needed:  hula hoops, jump rope, balls, buckets, bean bags, chalk.  The few things that I did not already have at home were easily obtainable at a very low cost AND in many cases I found that I could make substitutions if needed.  For example, I didn't have an empty cardboard box one day, but had an empty clothes basket that could serve the same purpose.

I am completely enamored with the Core 1 Physical Fitness Educational Curriculum and think you will be, too.  For only $57 for an entire year's worth of planned lessons, you can't go wrong by introducing this to your school day.  We are getting fit now so that we can "run the race with endurance" and be around for each other as long as possible.

I love it.  My kids love it.  Here's what they had to say about these past few months with Core 1:

Princess:  It is a good time to be with the family and have fun and laugh when mom's doing Frog Squats.  I like that we are working out but we don't have to go to a workout place or anything.
Boy Scout:  I like it because we can be inside in the air conditioning (or the heater when it gets cold outside) for most of the activities.  There is some stuff we do outside but it is really easy to push the furniture out of the way in the living room and work out together.  It has helped me for soccer with my legs and has helped me gain strength to kick and make goals.

Family Time Fitness has produced excellent resources that will help get any family up and moving.  The High School Foundational Strength course is next on my list to buy.  It teaches the basics of strength training which is good for high school P.E. credit, but even better for life.  Strength training helps improve quality of life and that's a benefit to us all.  (You can see a sample of the foundational strength plan and get a better idea of what the program offers.)  For younger children, there are even workbooks available to further complement your homeschool in the areas of fitness, anatomy and language.

This Day Has Great Potential because we're moving together.  Won't you join us?

~Disclaimer:  I was given the opportunity to exercise with Family Time Fitness as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  The opinions stated are mine and mine alone.  I was not paid to share my thoughts and feelings with you.  I received the curriculum download in exchange for my honest review.  You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of Family Time Fitness.~

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