Tuesday, September 18, 2012

TOS Review: Family Time Fitness

So, most of the time I review products for curriculum that is on your list.  You know reading, writing, math, maybe a Bible course, a little music or art.  But, this time it's a product that likely wasn't on your list.  It wasn't on my list either.  It's not really on anyone's list.  I'm talking about PE.  Physical Education.  

Now, don't feel bad that PE wasn't on your list.  Apparently it's not on the list of many curriculum writers either.  At least, that's what certified fitness trainer and nutritionist, Jeremiah Knopp, found out when his brother, Darren, started to homeschool his three children.  Darren agreed and suggested that Jeremiah create a program to fill the void.  

Jeremiah Knopp then enlisted the help of health and wellness expert Dr. Peter Minke along with Dr. Minke's friend, Mike Hanik, who is the Professor of Kinesiology at Texas A&M and a youth fitness specialist.  Together, they developed Family Time Fitness.  You can read the full story on their web-site.

Why you need a PE curriculum:

I know you are saying, but we don't need a special curriculum!  My children get plenty of exercise.  They run around in the yard, they ride their bikes, they climb trees and get lots of fresh air!  When it's cold outside they play the Wii or the Xbox Kinect, or Twister, or something.  They even took swimming lessons this summer.  We're good!  I'll skip that one.  Um, if you are nodding your head, then you are not alone.  That was my answer before we used this program!!

In all fairness, what about the above paragraph is really Physical Education??  It sounds more like recess or simply childhood fun.  PE is much more then that.

Why Family Time Fitness can fill that need (this answer was take directly from their web-site):

Family Time Fitness was created to solve some of the common problems from leaving a thorough PE program out of your family's curriculum .  Some solutions this curriculum can help with include:

  • Knowledge and teaching on how to exercise
  • Improvement of gross motor skills
  • Childhood obesity prevention
  • Diabetes prevention
  • Weight management
  • Develops self-confidence
  • Increases energy and focus for academic studies
  • Provides family fitness experience
  • Increases PE/Fitness options

How Fitness 4 Homeschoolers Works:

Fitness 4 Homeschoolers contains 260 planned lessons to be used with your family.  Yes 260!  That's enough to do 5 lesson plans every week for the next 52 weeks!  Each lesson plan is well thought out, it contains:
  1. A list of skills taught
  2. List of equipment needed (mostly things you have around the house)
  3. Suggested recovery time (between exercises)
  4. Warm up exercises (there are usually 4 or 5)
  5. Activity/Game Play (usually 2 or 3)
  6. Cool down exercises (2 or 3)
  7. Outdoor Activity
Each of the 260 lessons are clearly typed with specific directions on how to do the activities, how many of each exercise to do, how long they should take, and how long to rest in between each one.  They don't just assume you know what every exercise looks like.  Say you wanted to know what quick feet was?  There are hyperlinks in each plan to take you to a video of a group of children demonstrating the activity for you.  

The activities start out with pretty simple activities and get slightly more difficult as the weeks progress, though I wouldn't say that any are particularly hard, they just take practice (for example, say, hula hooping at the beginning, and hula hooping with your arm later).  If you'd like to hear more, check out this video from the creators:

What did we think of Fitness 4 Homeschoolers??

If you would have stopped by our house in the afternoon over the last few weeks, you may have found the children and I out on the yard exercising (or inside if the weather was bad).  After passing out from surprise, you would have seen me hopping around the yard, tripping over the  jumping rope, and crawling around an obstacle course.  You may have seen my children trying hard to hop across the driveway or figure out how to skip.  

You would have heard us counting (sometimes by 2's or 3's to practice our CC math work for the week) while holding our legs in the air, pretending to be Superman, or popping open like popcorn.  You would have seen us trying to jump over a 'river' or playing freeze tag.  You would have for sure heard us laughing as we tried our best to do the activities.  You would have caught us having a lot of fun!

Course if you would have stopped by in the evening, you would have heard me moaning from my aches and pains from exercising my out of shape body, but the kids didn't seem to have that problem :).

Honestly, I didn't figure I'd have a profound light bulb moment from Fitness 4 Homeschoolers, but I did.  As I was teaching my children how to skip across the driveway (and thanking the Lord that we live in the country and no one else SAW THAT), I realized that as a kid I always complained about PE.  Not because I wasn't having fun, but because I wasn't good at it, and I was made fun of by other children.  That soon led to not liking PE.  

One of the many reasons I homeschool my children is to allow them to learn without the distraction of what other children think of them.  I want them to get recognition because they did something good and right, and only receive negative attention when they do something wrong or bad.  I don't want someone teasing them because they weren't the fastest or most coordinated.  I don't want them to not learn how to do jumping jacks because someone is laughing at them.  

But, in bringing them home for school, I was keeping them from trying PE at all!  They weren't being made fun of, but they WERE missing out on the fun of PE!

The content of the Fitness 4 Homeschoolers lessons is perfect.  If I were to write my own, it would swing from not enough to too much.  I'd probably have the kids either learning every aspect of football or running sprints for 20 minutes.  Thank God for writers who know what they are doing!  The content is a great mix of true fitness exercise and fun games!

This was one of the fun games, we had to pretend that carpet squares were river stones and we had to move them across the river.  We didn't have carpet squares, so I substituted our throw pillows.  They worked well.

Family Time Fitness shared this neat graphic with us!  I can tell you my children act differently after we exercise.  Today, they were having a super hard time memorizing their weekly work.  So, we stopped our lesson and went strait to our Family Time Fitness lesson.  After we completed our exercising, they were so much more attentive and able to focus! 

 I have also used our FTF exercises when Charger is being rowdy.  The other evening he just could NOT sit still.  I looked at him and told him to lay down and be a popcorn ball.  After popping open a few times, he begged to fly like Superman.  10 minutes later, he was much more calm and relaxed and could rejoin the girls playing.  It was awesome! 

I highly recommend not only adding a PE curriculum to your school day, but specifically Fitness 4 Homeschoolers!!

How to Buy:

Fitness 4 Homeschoolers includes 260 lesson plans in a downloadable e-Book for just $57.00!  That's just over $1.00 a week if you use it every week, 5 days a week (much less if you use it only 3 days a week)!  And, you can use it with all the children in your family.  Well worth the cost!  You can order from the Family Time Fitness site.  They also have a program for Co-Ops as well as many other great fitness programs.  They offer a free two day trial of the Fitness 4 Homeschoolers package that you can use to see if this is a good fit for your family.   

If you'd like to see what other families thought about Fitness 4 Homeschoolers, check out the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog. 

Thanks for skipping, hopping, or surfing by!

God Bless :)

Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received a copy of Fitness 4 Homeschoolers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.  I was not paid for my review.  


Unknown said...

Great review! I was shocked at how little coordination my kids had as we tried some of the exercises. This review was so good for us! We're going to keep going and I'm going to encourage them as they build their skills. I'm so glad we tried this product and I'm excited to see how much coordination they've gained through doing the exercises.
Stopping by from the Crew!

Kate said...

I really liked this review! I am going to run it in the magazine in the December issue. Thanks for such a good one!