how to raise healthy homeschoolers
This post is sponsored by Sparkling ICE but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
After two weeks of easing back in, we are officially back into full school-mode. This is my 6th year homeschooling but this school year feels totally different. This year I have two kiddos in formal schooling – 6th and Kindergarten – and we’re doing it a bit different this go around. No matter how we homeschool though, one thing never changes, we prioritize play and health!
how to raise a healthy homeschooler
Healthy kids happen when parents get involved, no matter what kind of schooling. It’s up to us as parents to not only give our children a healthy childhood, but also give them the tools to be healthy adults. Today, we’re just talking homeschool and there are a few reasons why I think homeschooling can be a gift to your children’s health. Here’s how to raise a healthy homeschooler:
let them sleep in
One of my favorite joys of homeschool is the flexibility of our schedule. While we definitely have a lot of structured activities like co-op classes, Ninja Training and cheerleading practice, most of our day we make up as we go along. Sleep is crucial to our health, especially growing kids, so take advantage of that flexibility and let your kids sleep in.
I rarely wake my kids in the morning (only if we have something scheduled) and instead I let their bodies dictate their wake-up time. Generally, it’s between 7 AM and 8 AM but just yesterday, Gabe slept until 11:30 AM! I was happy to give his body that luxury of recharging time. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to all kinds of diseases and conditions I’d rather avoid.
take mental breaks
There are all kinds of homeschoolers and there is no wrong way to do it. However, try not to create a public school at home. Don’t let it become too rigid or laborious. Take breaks OFTEN. We never work on two subjects back to back without a mental break. By taking a break, you’re separating the subjects, letting new information sink in. You’re also giving your child a chance to mentally step away from the book work. We like to take yoga breaks when one kid seems to be overwhelmed or anxious about the day’s lessons.
prioritize play and exercise
Recess is a mandatory part of school, no exceptions. There are often days we do nothing BUT play whether it is a trip to the children’s museum or waterpark, or just running around our local wilderness. I have two rules for every school day: we go outside for at least an hour (usually to swim in the pool or ride bikes) and we all get 20 minutes of heart-pumping exercise indoors. The kids and I have a little circuit training routine we do and I think it is a great life skill to learn. No matter where you are, you can run in place, do squats, jumping jacks and push-ups. Create a routine that works for your kids.
take field trips
My thoughts on how to homeschool are very field trip-focused. I’m of the thought that we all learn better from life, from exploring and learning hands on. This is why we LOVE field trips and I’m always on the hunt for some place new. Often times, field trips are a great opportunity for exercise, so they are also beneficial to your family’s health. Our got-to active field trips that we regularly take: zoo, bontanical gardens, children’s museum, hikes/preserves. Find out what’s local to you that is educational and active!
be a healthy lunch lady
With the kids at home, you have the opportunity to decide 100% of what your kiddos eat. Our local homeschool co-op group has classes on healthy eating/cooking because knowing how to eat healthy is a serious life skill. Treat your lunch break as a class on healthy eating. Prepare healthy, colorful foods your kids will want to try (like the rainbow vegetable platter below). Have the kids join in on prepping and cooking too so they are learning how to prepare foods for themselves. For older kids, have them research online to find healthy recipes they’d like to try… you can even work in learning about vitamins, minerals, and how different foods affect our bodies.
rainbow vegetable and hummus platter
I know all kids don’t love to eat healthy right out of the gate. I lucked out with my first child who would eat anything I offered her. She is 11 now and she truly loves broccoli as much as she loves bags of ramon noodles. That’s ma girl!
My second kid, nope, not the same.
As a clean-eating plant based gal, having a picky eater has been such a struggle. His hatred for all things green hurts my heart but I’m FINALLY breaking ground. He is 5 now and giving vegetables a chance.
It all started with a carrot. I decided to shave a carrot with a peeler and suddenly he wanted to eat it. We silently watched as he chewed the carrot and much to our surprise, he didn’t gag and spit it out!
Next it was a cucumber.
Next was a red bell pepper.
Next was celery. *hit the breaks* We’re not there yet.
You win some, you lose some, but the point is you can’t stop trying and if your presentation is a rainbow, that can’t hurt! I make vegetable trays nearly every day for the three of us to share. I serve it with hummuses and sometimes homemade vegan ranch, which both kids go crazy for!
With the tray I serve up another rainbow – Sparkling Ice, which comes in 16 flavors.
We don’t ever have sugary sodas or juices in the house. In fact the only thing other than water, kombucha and nut milks that you’ll find in my beverage section is Sparkling Ice. The kids go absolutely crazy for them as do I. Personally, I love the Pink Grapefruit and Peach Nectarine the most, although I just tried Ginger Lime for the first time and it was so good! It would be fantastic in a mule cocktail, just sayin’.
The kids like the variety of Sparkling Ice flavors and their fizzy pop. It is close enough to the feel of a soda to satisfy that craving, which is a total mom win. While they love the fizz, I love how great Sparkling Ice goes with vodka. (hey, homeschool moms need breaks too!) Sparkling Ice contains zero sugar, zero calories and contains naturally sourced colors and flavors.