Saturday, September 6, 2008

PE Activities for Homeschoolers

My 13 year old son who is high functioning on the autism spectrum is in seventh grade. We are utilizing California Virtual Academy, known as CAVA and utilizes K12 curriculum. This is our second year with CAVA. Prior to this Nicholas was in Elementary School in general education with just RSP consult with teacher.

We are doing CAVA for the Middle School years since it is our hope that he will get accepted into The Los Angeles Zoo High School Magnet, although it is College Prep. He wants to work at the Zoo and looking forward to reaching the age you are allowed to volunteer.

This year we will be visiting the Zoo on a monthly basis. I hope to get him a nice camera to take photos like animal photographers do out in the wild. He also likes to visit animal sanctuary websites and Humane society sites. His two main interests are Dinosuars and Cats - big and little cats. He did a report last year on Jaguars that he is very proud of.

The focus of this post is on PE Activities. CAVA has a form parents need to fill out and turn in each quarter, know as the Physical Education Activity Log. Students are required to complete an average of twenty (20) minutes each day. The teaching adult is responsible for completing and submitting the log.

These are activities that are structured, organized and supervised, like participating in an athletic class, dance class or sports team. Activities like bicycling, hiking, jogging or calisthenics are listed as examples.

We have an Exercise Bike from Sears that Nicholas started using last year, but with the September heat here in Los Angeles that is not comfortable. There is also yard work that is done once a week using the Craftsman Reel Mower. I cannot get him motivated to go down to the lake for a few laps, which is what we did last year on the way back from dropping Matthew off at school.

This year the bus picks up Matthew so we can go before 7:30 AM, but many bring their dogs and he is afraid of many of them. There is also a stench down there from the trash and the birds, etc. I had to put my membership with 24 Hour Fitness on hold due to the cost not within my budget at this time.

He is not interested in sports at all. I thought maybe some sort of DVD showing kids exercising might be good to alternate between the bike, outside and walking. I am looking for feedback from other homeschooling families on how they incorporate PE into their daily routine. Also ideas from other autism families on what types of exercise their young teenagers participate in, sports and extra curricular activities.

I would like to do an article on my autism site on the topic of PE and sports. It is a topic I have little experience with my boys and would like links to reviews on DVDs for all age groups and posts from blogs on this topic to include for resources within the article.

At summer camp this year Matthew's class went to the high school and ran around the track. The teacher mentioned to me how fast he was and wanted to know if I was looking into Special Olympics. Than the other day at school Matthew's assistant took pictures of him on the track and said he was really good and mentioned Special Olympics.

Nicholas has a friend from summer camp who swims and is in Special Olympics. Anyone who has a kid in the Special Olympics and has written about the experience is welcome to send me or post the link so I can add that to my article. I was already looking into the Parks and Recreation Services here in Los Angeles. Matthew already has a long day with bus time, so I need to see about weekend offerings in the area. We would probably need someone to assist and that would be through the Regional Center, but with California in a Budget Crisis and funding non existent that is highly unlikely.

Reminder - if you have any input to add about PE activities for homeschoolers or specifically for a kid (tween, teenager) on the autism spectrum, please leave a comment with details, link to post, blog, etc. I am working on an article and will include your link and also feedback for Special Olympics would be helpful as well.


Karla Akins said...

My boys LOVE the Special Olympics. The only thing is, though, that I think you have to have a certain IQ to participate -- but I'm not positive about that. You'll have to look into it. I know for her you have to have an IQ under 70. My boys qualify as they have MR as well as autism.

Your post prompted me to put a link to the blog posts I wrote about the SO. You can get the links here:

As for what we do as homeschoolers, we are blessed because the college here offers classes to our home schoolers. The college students take an "adaptive PE" class because they are wanting to be PE teachers. In the class each college student is assigned about 4 students to work with in learning new skills. Last year the skills were things such as archery, volleyball, soccer and I think the younger ones learned rhythmic dance and gymnastics. It has worked out really well. My kids have always participated in that.

Otherwise my kids ride their bikes, swim and play hard. The twins aren't always able to participate fully in everything, but they are exposed to it. When we first started there were tears and they didn't want to go. Now they absolutely look forward to it and love interacting with the college kids.

Tanya Savko said...

Nigel is fairly active, so there are various activities that he does that count towards PE. Yesterday we visited a friend with a pool, and he swam quite a bit. He also started mowing our front and back yards this spring, which is quite a workout since the ground is uneven. He rides his bike a lot and goes hiking, either with me or with his Scout troop. Last year I bought a yoga DVD and he did that with me, and this year he wants to take judo classes (although I still have to look into the cost). I'll probably write a future post about his PE involvement. Take care.

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