We started Kids Fitness Classes in 2018 because we had just started homeschooling our oldest daughter. One of the reasons we chose the homeschool route was because we felt that we could do better educating her in (at least) two subjects that were very important to our family – fitness & business.
So our kids program was geared primarily towards homeschoolers and as such, I wanted it to have an academic component as well. With that in mind I created a curriculum that taught the basics of health, fitness and strength training.
After the warm up we’d gather all of the kids for a 5-10 min “huddle” to go over the material. We’d discuss healthy eating habits, the benefits of exercise, how to be safe in the weightroom, etc. Basic material for most adults, but things you don’t really learn until high school.
In fact, one of the reasons to create a teaching curriculum (instead of just running an exercise class) was to fulfill the health credit for homeschoolers. (In highschool, you need both a health & phys. ed. credit.)
The material went over better than I expected. Parents really appreciated that I was teaching the kids and not just working them out. It was different than other kids fitness classes. And the kids actually started to learn the material and ask questions! I had to start coming up with new material to keep some of my older / more advanced students engaged. The level 2 & 3 curriculum is every bit college level exercise science.
The class had a profound effect on some of the kids that extended beyond just getting stronger. Here’s what Meredith, Layne’s mom, had to say about it…
Home School Fitness
When Layne first started homeschooling, he was not a “social” kid. I told him he had to have at least one activity per week, out of the house, with other kids. Dan happened to be starting his kids fitness classes, and I pretty much made Layne try it out.
The first class went well, but he wasn’t totally sold. One of the reasons for his social hesitation is fear of not knowing what to do and being laughed at. He picked up right away that BKC is not a judgemental environment where people laugh at others’ expense. He agreed to go back for the next class that week.
After that second class, Layne was hooked! Not only did he want to keep going to the homeschool class, he started attending the adults classes as well!
In just a few weeks of classes at BKC Layne was starting to become like a different kid. He smiled more, started eating better, and was talking about his “friends” at BKC. This kid used to refer to his school classmates as “colleagues” so the term “friends” was a big deal! Layne was absorbing the lessons in the homeschool classes as well as the workouts.
In the year since he’s started he has used the information from those lessons to make better choices about his health in general. Better food choices, going to sleep earlier, and even talking about ways he can keep his heart healthy! During the COVID19 shutdown, Layne has been keeping up with his workouts daily, and the Zoom classes with Dan are such a lifeline for him to stay in touch with his friends as well as stay healthy!
The BKC family and the homeschool fitness classes have seriously changed Layne’s life in many positive ways. He’s put on 30lbs of much needed weight, and the lessons he’s learned on setting goals, progress, recovery, etc. go beyond just working out and physical health and have helped him in all kinds of ways!
Continuing the Students Growth
I’m a big fan of leading where you’re at. I believe we are all in positions to simultaneously follow and lead. Follow those who know more and can guide us, and lead those who know less and need guidance.
We started to use the advanced students more and more to help teach the classes. At first we’d have them demonstrate exercises. Then we started having them lead warm ups. Eventually we’d have them explain the curriculum lessons.
After the gym shutdown due to COVID19 our kids classes went virtual, along with everything else. We also lost all but 1 or 2 of our students. So after the current session ended (we run them in 6 week sessions), we weren’t going to start another one.
However, Layne was disappointed and my daughter Andrea was content being sedentary. I decided that even if it was just for Layne and my kids, we needed to keep the classes going. So I had the idea to let the kids run them. We promoted Layne and my daughter Andrea to assistant instructors and created a teaching schedule for them.
Kids Fitness Classes (by Kids)
Layne got his wish to be a trainer and Andrea reluctantly stepped up, and they’re doing a great job! Growth is happening for both kids in a way that transcends fitness.
These kids are developing leadership skills, communication skills, they’re running meetings and using the latest technology. They’re overcoming fears and developing confidence in their own unique ways.
We also know the value of teaching and how it helps learning. They say that teaching is one of the best ways to learn. I am confident that these home school lessons are reaching these kids on a deeper level.
The best thing about this set up though, is that I don’t have to fight with them to do something! Every parent knows by now how hard it is to teach their kids. So it’s been the most welcome change of pace for them to do it on their own.
I still have to bribe the younger ones with screen time to join the class, but I’m ok with that. As I write this the house is quiet and they’re outside working out. It’s a beautiful thing!
A scholarship fund has been started by one of our members for our Kids Fitness program. This person saw the work we’re doing and wanted to sponsor a kid who might otherwise not have the opportunity. Contact us for availability or if you would like to contribute to the fund.