A new program at the YMCA at Gothenburg Health creates opportunities for home-schooled children to blend physical activity and socialization into their school days.
YMCA Sports Director Hunter Kiburz is leading a Homeschool PE class each Thursday afternoon to engage children in grades K-12 in group physical activity and fun.
Gothenburg mom Dawn Urman has two children enrolled in the program, Nathanael, 13; and Alissa, 8.
“I’m excited for the camaraderie,” Dawn said. “For our kids to see a bunch of other homeschoolers gives them a sense of belonging. It offers our family some fun at the end of our school week and a chance to see friends. The inter-mingling ages will prepare them for life, how to help others and encourage others who are of different ages or abilities than their direct peers. I hope it continues to grow, both the friendships and the numbers of homeschooling families.”
The program began in October, and so far about 22 home-schooled children have attended. Students are from Gothenburg, Arnold, Brady and near Maxwell.
YMCA Branch Executive Director Julie Czochara said the class gives kids a way to exercise, have fun and interact with friends.
“The homeschool families were looking for some structured P.E. for their kids, and Hunter was very willing and excited to take it on,” Julie said.
The program is offered on Thursdays from 2-3 p.m. and is free for members and $5 each class for non-members.
Hunter begins each session with stretching and a warm-up and then engages the students in typical gym activities, such as Gaga ball, flag football, dodgeball and kickball. He is also planning a session in the YMCA’s indoor swimming pool.
Dawn said her children have enjoyed the Gaga ball games the most so far.
“We have over 20 kids in attendance, and each child has a different priority for being there,” Dawn said. “Some it is the physical activity, some it is the socializing with more kids, some it is to get out of their comfort zone, and for others it’s a chance to get out of the house more.”
Dawn said her motivation for homeschooling is to ensure their faith in Jesus Christ is interwoven throughout every subject and opportunity to learn.
“I also have a 20-year-old and an 18-year-old, so I know how fast the time goes, and I want those extra thousands of hours with my kids,” Dawn said. “That being said, this class offers them extra exercise and time with others while allowing me to have a little time to exercise or socialize with other parents as well.”
Dawn said all of the participating families are grateful to Julie, Hunter and the Y staff for making this attainable and working with them to see this happen.
“It’s a lot of kids from kindergarten to high school, but Hunter is doing a great job keeping them all involved and engaged,” she said.