Of course you have already heard a myriad of reasons why homeschooling is such a great educational option. Your probably have your own extensive list of the advantages you've discovered through personal experience. On my own list, I would cite these perks of homeschooling:
- the freedom to teach what I want when I want
- time to allow my children to learn at their own pace
- increased family time
There is one reason that doesn't always make it on the lists of reasons to homeschool. But I think it's one of the biggest advantages homeschoolers have over those who educate in a more traditional setting.
What is This Mystery Perk?
It's the ease we have to include active play into our days. You may prefer the old-fashioned word recess, but the idea is the same.
There is a large body of research that supports a link between physical activity and academic learning. Despite this research, public schools continually decrease or remove recess periods. Even schools which still have recess will often withhold it from kids (who likely need it the most) as a means of punishment for inappropriate behaviors.
According to the Academy of Pediatrics, “Recess serves as a necessary break from the rigors of concentrated, academic challenges in the classroom. But equally important is the fact that safe and well-supervised recess offers cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits that may not be fully appreciated when a decision is made to diminish it. The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development and, as such, it should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons.”
Benefits of Active Play
The benefits active play are wide reaching, including cognitive, emotional, physical, and social benefits to the child.
Offers respite from rigorous cognitive tasks
Affords time for imaginative and creative play
Grants opportunity to move freely without restraint
Develops social skills that are often not acquired in a more structured classroom environment
Helps children refocus and begin fresh after the break
Fights childhood obesity
Although recess may be as short as 10 minutes in some schools, as homeschoolers, we have have the flexibility to adjust our daily routines to make room for the full 60 minutes a day of physical activity recommended by the Play 60 campaign. This physical activity can be free play time indoors or outdoors, supervised games, sports, or dance. We can even incorporate physical motion into the very fabric of our academic lessons with learning games that involve jumping, running, or catching.
Given a growing body of evidence that suggests recess promotes not only physical health but also social development and cognitive performance, we as homeschoolers have an obligation to include this important piece in our children’s lives! Our choice lies in stark contrast to the confines of the public school realm in which you find physical activity reduced and even eliminated in some cases.
The ability to allow for active play in our homeschools is reason enough to be homeschooling our children!