Homeschooling your child? Think again

Homeschooling your child? Think again
Highlights

Parents who homeschool their children may think that admitting them to organised sports and physical activities may keep them fit However, a new study by Rice University researchers says that the need of youngsters exceeds far greater than just a routine onehour sport class

Washington: Parents who homeschool their children may think that admitting them to organised sports and physical activities may keep them fit. However, a new study by Rice University researchers says that the need of youngsters exceeds far greater than just a routine one-hour sport class.

This is what the faculty at Rice Department of Kinesiology, who gathered data from the homes of 100 home-schooled children to back the assumption, discovered. The results of the research are available in an open-access paper in the Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology.

Laura Kabiri, a sports medicine lecturer at Rice, said the problem lies in how much activity is part of organised regimens. According to the World Health Organisation, children should get about an hour of primarily aerobic activity a day, but other studies have now noted that children involved in non-elite sports actually get only 20-30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise.

The Rice researchers decided to quantify it through statistics Kabiri gathered about home-schooled children and adolescents as a graduate student and postdoctoral researcher at Texas Woman's University.

Speaking about it, Kabiri said, "We assumed and I think a lot of parents generally do as well, that children enrolled in an organised sport or physical activity are getting the activity they need to maintain good body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular development," adding, "But we found that is not the case. Just checking the box and enrolling them in an activity doesn't necessarily mean they're meeting the requirements they need to stay healthy."

According to Kabiri, researchers suspect the same is true for public school students in general physical education classes, where much of the time is spent getting the class organised. "When you only have 50 minutes, it's very easy for half that time or more to go to getting them in, out and on-task," she said.

While public school data is easier to gather, homeschooling presents a different problem for researchers. "There's a lot that's not known about this population and the population is expanding," Kabiri said. "Homeschooling is becoming very popular in the United States. It's grown steadily.”

The authors recommended that parents who homeschool their children should ideally give their children more time for unstructured physical activity every day.

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