• Homeschool PE: Outside the Box Options


     homeschool health Lee Binz, The HomeScholar

    Homeschool PE can be Both Great Fun AND Great College Prep!

    Learn How to Put Homeschool PE and other Fun Activities on Your Homeschool Transcript

Homeschool PE - In a Nutshell

Homeschool PE, when taught outside the box, is one of the greatest joys of homeschooling. Whether your child is a current couch potato or destined for professional sports, all children can benefit from homeschool PE. You can keep them always challenged, but never overwhelmed, by choosing the appropriate physical education experience for your child. Starting where they are, you can help them become more physically fit for the rest of their life, while also preparing them for college or career goals.

PE stands for "physical education,” not only “physical exercise.” You can create the perfect homeschool physical education class for your child because it can be a helpful combination of education and exercise. After all, some kids are very active in sports, and all you have to do is count the hours they spend breaking a sweat. For kids who are not so active, it helps to think outside the box. Your child could take CPR classes or study health instead. Some kids who hate PE love swing-dancing or computer games requiring movement. Any physical activity that breaks a sweat counts!


College Requirements for Homeschoolers

Colleges and careers may require 2 to 4 years of homeschool PE in high school. Although many colleges don’t require PE, others expect to see PE classes (seeing it as a “socialization” issue). Some military careers, as well as military and police academies, want to see proof of physical fitness. And if your child is into sports, the NCAA will expect to see PE classes on the transcript.

Homeschoolers can earn PE credits without a homeschool PE curriculum. Be specific with class titles. Instead of calling the class “PE” or “Physical Education,” create a second name for your class that gives more information. A homeschool physical education class might be called, “PE: Personal Fitness with Health,” or “PE: Basketball and Soccer.” Consider the wide variety of physical education for homeschool options available, and then think outside the box!

Grades and Credits for Homeschoolers

There are two ways to count credits. One way is by using a standard textbook or curriculum, which is uncommon for a homeschool PE class. The second way is by counting or estimating hours. One high school PE credit is 120 to 180 hours, and a ½ credit is 60 to 90 hours. If your child works on the class the whole school year, that one hour per day is one whole credit, and half an hour per day is a ½ credit. In general, it’s best to give only one homeschool PE credit per year, even if your child racks up a huge numbers of hours.

PE grades are always subjective, even in public schools, but providing grades helps colleges understand your homeschool. You already evaluate homeschool PE in many ways, even if you don’t realize it. Consider whether your child does the work (schools call it “attendance”), their level of effort, demonstration of specific skills or teamwork, understanding of concepts, personal fitness goals achieved, and any reading or discussion. Estimate your child’s grade, keeping in mind all these ways of evaluating.

A grade of “A” or 4.0 means the child shows mastery of your goals, meets your high expectations, or loves what they are doing. A grade of “B” or 3.0 means they did well, but it’s definitely not worth an “A.” A grade of “C” or 2.0 means it was a bad experience, not good at all, but they did enough to meet your minimum requirements.

Your homeschool physical education class could focus on education instead of exercise. A focus on education may be a good fit for bookish children. Choose a focus for the year, or mix and match unit studies together until your child has enough hours for one PE class.
Homeschool PE - Teaching Health

Teaching Health in Your Homeschool

You could focus on health in your PE class. Check your state homeschool law, because sometimes health is a requirement for graduation, but it’s unlikely your child needs a health credit every year of high school. We liked the health books by Susan Boe. Written for Christian schools, these books assume the student lives in a reasonably healthy environment, without sex or drugs. They cover physical, spiritual, and social health.

Exploring Creation with Health and Nutrition by Laura Chase

For Junior High or Middle School - Total Health: Talking About Life’s Changes by Susan Boe

For High School - Total Health: Choices for a Winning Lifestyle by Susan Boe

Focus on Relationships

Relationship and purity studies can be a health related topic as well. You can read and discuss issues about dating. Consider these popular books:

For younger teens, Passport2Purity by Dennis and Barbara Rainey

For older teens, age 14-19, When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy

For young adults, Boundaries in Dating by Henry Cloud and John Townsend 

Teaching Nutrition

You can focus on healthy eating with a nutrition course, or a unit on nutrition. Some families will branch out to research essential oils, healing herbs, or other natural remedies. This study time could make up a nutrition course.  Popular resources for homeschoolers include: 

Nutrition 101: Choose Life! (Third Edition) Paperback

There are excellent classes available from The Great Courses that you can find in your public library as well. Try this one: 

Nutrition Made Clear by Roberta H. Anding. Video, Audio, or Paperback

First Aid for Homeschoolers

First aid, lifeguard, and CPR classes from the American Red Cross or your local fire station would be a great addition to any PE class. As a registered nurse, I encourage all families to certify in CPR and maintain certification (yearly or so depending on your state). Your child’s CPR certification becomes a way you can evaluate PE class.

Homeschool PE - Focus on Fitness

Outside the Box Homeschool PE Ideas

There are many ways to include fitness in everyday life. Look for opportunities to cover homeschool physical education outside the box.

Personal Fitness

A personal fitness class can be as simple as counting everything that breaks a sweat. Yard work, manual labor, and playing basketball in the backyard all count as personal fitness. If you take fitness seriously in your family, you may want to include weight training, strength training, and cardio into your daily routine. Indoor and outdoor exercise counts, and no gym membership or sports teams are necessary.

Sports Teams and Socialization

Sports teams are a great way to collect PE hours. It doesn’t matter what kind of sports team your child is on. Sometimes teams will come with a rough social environment, of course. My children were involved in organized sports, making summer an interesting time. In a secular sports league, they were exposed to some unsavory behavior and vocabulary. Because the exposure was limited, these issues didn’t become part of my children’s psyches. Instead, they could observe this behavior as if from a distance. We could discuss the negative socialization without them taking it on as a personality trait.

If your child is participating in team sports or sport camps, it can be an eye-opener for them. They can learn what socialization is like in school, but because it’s not an all-day and all-year experience, and with appropriate "de-briefing" they are unlikely to face any negative consequences.

Individual Sports

From golf to running, there are many individual sports to choose from, some with a socialization component. Golf, for example, is a great opportunity for walking and talking together. Look into the First Tee program. First Tee provides young people of all backgrounds an opportunity to develop life-enhancing values such as confidence, perseverance, and judgment through golf and character education. First Tee offers wonderful college scholarships for participation, with a mission to promote healthy choices in teens. Read more about First Tee.

Active Play

Summer is a great time for learning new skills – especially skills that count as PE. Kids can learn skills such as bowling, swimming, ice skating, or inline skating. They might participate in a fun run, marathon, or walk-a-thon for charity to learn how to give. Gather a group of friends and enjoy hikes, mid-day picnicking, or active outdoor games. Camping with family or friends can encourage great outdoor skills that count for PE.

Kids who love to play more than anything are perfect candidates for learning real skills. On their own, they may learn new games, new sports, and try new skills with their friends. If you meet with other homeschoolers at a park, encourage everyone to bring outdoor games. Search your closets for badminton, croquet, bocce, or volleyball gear.


If your child loves books, you can pursue physical education by buying books to encourage physical fitness. Many books have detailed photos or drawings of exercises. For a child who hates exercise, you may want to try 8 Minutes in the Morning by Jorge Cruise. It’s a quick read, with some chapters on healthy living – diet, exercise, sleep, etc. There is a section describing exercises that can be completed in 8 minutes a day

Science minded children may enjoy the Charlotte Mason style of learning. A nature handbook or field guide may send them off to the wilderness, contentedly learning as they enjoy nature.

Homeschool College Requirements


Artists may not gravitate toward soccer, but they may be involved in dance. Whether they love swing, ballroom, or ballet, anything that breaks a sweat can count as PE, so dance certainly fits the bill. Young artists often have more than enough credits for fine arts, so it’s easy to put their dance hours in the PE category.

Artistic Pursuits

If your artistic child is not a dancer, focus on the art they love. A bike, a backpack, and some art supplies may be all they need for a summer PE credit. They can hike or bike to a scenic vista to sketch, paint, or draw. New drawing supplies may be the only motivation needed!

An artist may also be drawn to musical concerts in the park. Find your park department schedule, and see if they hold music or theater performances. An artist might be convinced to spend time in the park playing Frisbee or soccer before performances, or enjoy the music while playing active games. Exercising with their favorite music might be just the ticket. For some, this means a stationary bicycle or jogging with classical music accompaniment.

Auditory Learners

Take advantage of the auditory learning style. Auditory learners may be motivated to do aerobics by downloading fast-paced music on their MP3 player or smartphone that they can enjoy while taking a walk. An auditory learner may find audio books so enjoyable that they will even go for long walks, hikes, or bike rides while listening to great literature. Be sure to include these books on their reading list, carefully labeled as audio books.

Outdoor Education

Shooting, hunting, and archery are some of the many ways to include outdoor education in a PE class. Olympic sports can also be considered part of PE Camping, hiking, snowshoeing and other outdoor recreation would be awesome additions. My Gold Care Club members are often involved in Boy Scouts, and they spend hundreds of hours doing outdoor activities each year. I suggest only creating one PE credit per year, and “Outdoor Education” might be a good title.

Techie Teens

Some teens are all about the computer. A computer-based option might be a good fit, as long as you make sure your sweet child is moving while they play. Some of the gaming systems involving movement are Xbox One with Kinect, PlayStation 4 with Move controllers, and the Nintendo Switch.

Search for movement-based games if you already have a gaming console. Wii Fit U and Wii Sports Club are games for the older Wii U game console, which offers fitness games including yoga, strength, and stamina. On the PlayStation 4 (and previous consoles), you can play Just Dance. Dance Dance Revolution is available for the computer using a USB-attachable soft dance pad. Xbox One (and previous consoles) has Nike+ Kinect Training and other fitness games. There are too many movement-based options to list. When choosing a computer-based interactive fitness game, look for one that helps the child elevate their heart rate. If they are only moving their arms, then it’s not exercise or education … it’s merely a computer game. And be extremely careful to read ratings on any game before you purchase.

PE - Outside the Box Options

PE Overachievers

Sometimes parents focus so much on teaching PE that they forget what their children are already doing. If your child is already involved in a sport or scouting, then they are probably getting all the PE they need. But there are others who are overachievers in the homeschool physical education area.

Congressional Award

Kids who enjoy physical fitness may be motivated by the Congressional Award program. This program has four focus areas: Volunteer Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration. This is also a great way to be noticed by their congressman, if your child is interested in attending a military academy. Look into the Congressional Award to see if you can create a significant award out of PE for homeschool. Read more about the Congressional Award Program.

Military and Police Academy

Military academies, police training, and the ROTC place a high value on physical fitness. It can help if your child’s level of fitness is measurable in some way. For example, measurable fitness might mean your child is a member of a sports team, competes in a marathon, or attained Eagle Scout. If your child is involved in physical activity, and can document it, they will have the advantage.

NCAA Sports

The NCAA regulates athletes and organizes the athletic programs of many college sports. NCAA stands for the National Collegiate Athletic Association. If you don't know what it is, you probably aren't worried about it at all. But if you do know what it means, then as a homeschool parent you may feel stressed or insecure. The NCAA can be a challenge, but it’s a challenge for all parents, not only homeschoolers. If your child loves sports, and would like to continue in college, it's a good idea to do a little research on the NCAA early in high school. The rules change over time, and your child must obey all their rules to play college sports.

The NCAA does accept independently homeschooled students. There may not be a benefit to attending an online school or program. The NCAA recently gave a statement that it will no longer accept coursework from 24 different virtual schools that are affiliated with K12 Inc. Apparently, there were concerns about a large dropout rate, some inadequate coursework, and grading was done overseas in India.

The NCAA requires thorough academic records, so maintain your child’s transcript and course descriptions every year. They offer an NCAA Eligibility Toolkit for lots of information on how to complete the process as an independent homeschool. Families who are interested in NCAA sports should read all of the information provided, and check back regularly. Search the NCAA website for the word "homeschool." Look at the helpful information they provide, designed to make it easier for independent homeschoolers to navigate the process while staying within their guidelines.  Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center during junior year. The NCAA Eligibility Center will determine whether homeschooled, college-bound student-athletes will be eligible.

Each year, read over every page and link provided. Jumping through hoops is one of the things all parents have to do in order to participate with the NCAA. It's not unique for homeschoolers, it's for all students. Granted, it doesn't look easy, but it does look possible. If it's worth it to your student, you should be successful handling this as an independent homeschooler.

Homeschool PE Pin

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Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, specializes in helping parents homeschool high school. Get Lee's FREE Resource Guide "The 5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make Homeschooling High School" and more freebies:  HomeHighSchoolHelp.com/freebies.
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