If there is one of the lively arts that most homeschoolers need more of, I’d say it’s movement. Getting physically active during the learning. Look for ways of weaving more movement into your homeschool day.
Early on in our homeschooling, my boys were very active. And I mean VERY active, plus they’re only 16 months apart. And I remember thinking “oh, we have so much flexibility as homeschoolers. Weaving more movement into our days won’t be so hard.”
But then once we started officially doing lessons, it turned out to be more challenging than I thought! I had the false notion (garnered from my own schooling experiences) that the lessons should come first. So I’d push through the lessons. And if we were running short on time or energy or focus, I prioritized the “book work” over everything else. My boys were there to teach me that I was wrong!
The neuroscience is finally catching up to what Rudolf Steiner knew 100 years ago: active learning leads to better retention. I love seeing pictures of classrooms where students are sitting at their desks on big exercise balls. Or stories of teachers who plan for “brain breaks” throughout the day.
In homeschooling, just as for classroom teachers, weaving in more movement can seem daunting and like just one more thing to add to a long list of what needs to get done. But the thing is, the lessons go more smoothly when we weave in the lively arts. Especially movement. And they’re more effective in the long run.
Steiner said that the arts bring us joy and make the learning memorable. He started every lecture at the Teacher’s Seminar for the first Waldorf teachers with verse recitation and movement. Mind you, these were adults, but the goal was the same: to wake up, regulate breathing, and arrive at the present moment.
This week, have a listen to my podcast interview over at Healthy Moving where the founder, Jen Hoffman, and I talk all about weaving more movement into your homeschool day, each and every day. This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
Have a listen to the podcast interview here, “Movement in the (Homeschool) Classroom and Beyond.”
Here are just a few of the ideas we touched on:
- Clapping rhymes
- Marching around the dining room table
- Bean Bag tossing (see Movement Games post)
- A Balance board
- Tricycles in the basement
- A Chin up bar
- Jumping rope
- Playing chase games
My all-time favorite book for movement activities in homeschooling is Games Children Play: How Game and Sport Help Children Develop by Kim John Payne.
I also wrote a guest post on Jen’s blog. You can read that here: 10 Ways to Weave More Movement Into Your Homeschool Day.
Jen has helped me enormously with my own health (living with autoimmune disease) through her Coaching & Challenge Program for Moms. And now, she has a physical education curriculum for homeschoolers. You can try out a free class and then if you decide to buy, you get a discount! Click here to register for the free class: Healthy Moving in Your Homeschool.
If you want more details on why Waldorf education is so keen on movement activities for learning, here is an excellent article to read from Movement for Childhood. In it, author Jeff Tunkey says, “All true learning requires inner movement.” I strongly encourage you to check out the article Education for Balance and Resilience.
For even more movement ideas, check out this guest post by Janet Allison of Boys Alive! Learning is Moving and Moving is Learning.
Let’s get moving!
These are all great ideas! My little one is just shy of 2 years old and we haven’t *officially* started our homeschooling journey yet. But I’m definitely always looking for new ways to keep us moving.
Yes, Sherry, looking or ways to keep moving is important at any age! Sometimes, it’s our little ones who remind us of that! I’d plant the seed in your head now that when you start to sense “it’s time to get serious” with homeschooling or lessons, to remember that moving counts as learning. And actually, it’s a critical part of learning!
You know, when I first went to school in Germany, I went to one with very old teachers. Every morning before lessons started, our teachers would lead us to the assembly, and we would sing a few songs together, ending with always the same canon (Froh zu sein bedarf es wenig), which we sang by grade. When lessons started, we were refreshed and happy, and could really start the day. I later changed to a different elementary school with younger, boomer, teachers, who didn’t do this. The noise, the lack of discipline, the lack of joy in starting the day, was absolutely palpable. Very sad.
Thanks for sharing this story! Movement, verses, and songs really can help us gain focus and bring joy to the start of our days. 🙂