Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gordon Students Host Successful Recreation Program for Local Homeschoolers

Thursdays in November are exciting for local homeschoolers and Gordon students alike—because of Homeschool Recreation Classes, a program offered on Gordon’s campus that includes games, exercise and lots of fun for 60 homeschoolers, from preschool through high school.

Peggy Hothem, professor of recreation and leisure studies, has organized this annual program with students in her Recreation Leadership class for over 15 years.

Not only has the program provided fun for local homeschoolers, it’s also helped prepare Gordon students for future careers in recreation.
“I saw a huge need for my students to implement and practice the recreation instructional techniques that they were learning from their textbooks,” explains Hothem. “I wanted to give them an opportunity to effectively teach games, observe the developmental physical differences according to ages, and apply proactive behavior management strategies. I also knew that a lot of homeschool children don’t always have opportunities to be physically active in a way that will teach them new fitness, sport and recreational skills.”

Hothem’s recreation students collect a variety of innovative games and collaborate on the activities they will lead with each age category. They design their lesson plans using innovative (and colorful) equipment—an Omnikin ball, parachutes, scooters, floor hockey, hoops, rubber chickens, and balls of all sizes—and put into practice the techniques that they learn in Hothem's course. Each week the students grow in creativity and confidence as they learn the best types of activities for each of age group. They consider the social, emotional and physical benefits of play and games for the children, and their hard work pays off as they see the children enthusiastically playing the games and saying, as they leave, “Can we come back next week?” Hothem is thrilled with her students’ enthusiasm. “I encourage them to be creative, have fun with the children and teach them motor and recreational skills.”

Because this program has been offered for 15 years, Hothem and her students have been able to watch families grow up. “We’ve seen kids as early as four years old until they’re in their early teenage years,” she explains.

“This has also been a terrific way to introduce homeschool families to Gordon’s campus," Hothem added, “Each fall, parents tell me that they wait to schedule other homeschool events around these days because their children love our program so much. Although I haven’t kept records, I imagine that some of our present students could have had their first Gordon experience at this annual program.”

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