I read Michelle Obama in Newsweek last night, making her argument to feed our children well and to get moving. She had things to say about how our modern life style of driving kids to school, playing electronically instead of physically after school, and school lunches are leading to childhood obesity. Got me thinking about our PE program.
One of my motivations for homeschooling was better health. Our local schools are cutting down on recess and PE times. While our state has strict standards for food offered to children at school (only whole wheat flour used, maximum amount of total fat in the lunches, no sugar allowed...) children have free choice about what to eat among what's offered and they routinely skip the salad bar. I went head to head with the school principal this year, too. While no soda pop is allowed to be sold on school grounds during school hours, by anybody, the Booster Club is offering Italian sodas right after school lets out every Thursday. What? It is unhealthy for children to drink soda at 2:59 PM, but at 3:00 it's fine? I lost that one, but I my cranky voice was heard by a lot of people.
I have to say that Mi'ita is what I call "a baby giant." Last weekend I saw Mi'ita with her friend, T, who used to be about an inch shorter than her. Now Mi'ita is almost 6 inches taller than T. She is immense. Certainly not fat, but far from skinny. She's inherited my body (except in a giant size) and twice a week PE will not cut it.
So what do we do? Mi'ita has ballet twice per week, horseback riding lessons twice a month, bike riding with her dad once a week, and lots of walking. We walk everywhere, every day. In addition to that, we're trying to add the swim team, if she can pass her tryout in a week and a half. Wish her luck! That will round things out very nicely and she will have practice two hours a day three days a week.
And food? I try to cook with whole foods, there is a green vegetable with every dinner, and fruit is her snack option. We are far from perfect (while we were traveling, we were FAR from perfect) but I think her diet is better for staying at home.
That said, she does not have regular eating times. We are at home and she has snacks and lunch when she's hungry. When she's growing it seems like she eats constantly. If I buy those cutie oranges in the store, five pounds will go down her gullet in a couple days. Sometimes I wonder if I should regulate how much and how often she eats instead of just what she eats. I've been thinking hard on that because I think she does eat when she's bored or more likely just because she likes the taste of something, not because she's hungry. Opinions?
Also, she is a sedentary child by nature. She likes to read and she reads constantly. I don't let her watch TV on school days (except educational programs) and her computer time is only school related. But how can I tell her to put her book down and go out to play? There is very little out there for kids to do. She is an only child in a neighborhood where if you look out the window on a school day, there is no one out there riding a bike or roller skating or playing jacks. She won't go out by herself. If we invite kids over (which we do regularly) she plays, but otherwise she is reading a book.
I don't know if Michelle would approve. I'm trying, though.