Tips from the Coach for Keeping Gifted Children Active

Interview with Chris Quickert from The HomeSchool Gym

As a mom to an academically gifted child, I sometimes wonder if I keep him active enough. I know that physical activity is vital to a healthy body. Given the choice of outside play and indoor play, he will usually choose indoor play. Although, he can at times spend hours swinging on the swing. I want to make sure that I am not only providing opportunities for him to be active but that I am guiding him to be motivated to be physically active as he gets older and into his adulthood.

Keeping Gifted Kids Active, Tips from the Coach

 

I’m blessed to live near a large metropolitan city. With that comes many options for homeschool group gym classes. This year, I chose to enroll Little Man in The HomeSchool Gym, a gym program offered to homeschoolers in the Central Ohio region. It is owned and operated by Christopher Quickert who holds both a bachelor and master of education from The Ohio State University. 
 
For years, I had chosen a different gym option, and it served us well, but I just didn’t see any motivation in my son. He went, didn’t complain too much, but just wasn’t excited about going to gym. We also at the time had him in a swim program for homeschoolers and he loved that, but he outgrew it. 
 
This year we started out thinking we would just do gym every other quarter. With Beloved being unemployed we have to carefully consider which activities to enroll him in. So by doing 2 quarters we knew we were meeting our state requirements, but were keeping our funds in check. 
 
We did the first quarter and when we told Little Man we were taking a break, he begged, I mean, begged, us to keep going. We explained that we were watching our tight budget and he said, “I’ll pay for it with my own money.” We explained that it was our responsibility as his parents to pay for his educational needs and we had to make a choice between music lessons and gym. He said, “OK, I’ll quit music lessons.” We were like… “WHAT?” He loves music lessons! So for him to say he would willingly give it up in exchange for gym, we knew how important gym now was to him. 
 
It was around this same time, that we learned from his music teacher that she wasn’t offering lessons until January, so we continued with the gym class and are thankful that we did.
 
Building Confidence at The Homeschool Gym

 

Since that time, I have seen him grow, physically, but more so in confidence around others. That was something I wasn’t expecting, and I can only contribute that growth to how he interacts with others in his gym class, especially with Coach Q, as the kids affectionately call Coach Quickert. 
 
That got me to wondering how and why the Coach chose to begin a business exclusively for homeschool students. I decided to interview him to see why he does what he does, and what advice he can offer to other parents of gifted children who aren’t fortunate enough to live in our area. 
 

QUESTIONS for the Coach:

Q 1. What is your educational and professional background?

Coach Chris: “Bachelor and Master of education from The Ohio State University and owner of The HomeSchool Gym since 2004.”

Q 2. What prompted you to start a homeschool gym business?

Coach Chris: “As I was working on my Masters of Education I peeked behind the curtain of compulsory education, so to speak, and realized that not only did I want to homeschool my own daughter, I didn’t want to be a part of the system either. I put all of this money and time into my education so I didn’t want it to go to waste.” 

Q 3. What is your favorite thing about teaching homeschool gym?

Coach Chris: “There are so many things. One thing that has been on my mind lately is the fact that I have known many of my students since I started. Once kids start the homeschool gym they don’t want to stop so I get to see a lot of the same kids for years and, therefore, have an impact on their lives. Ask me tomorrow it might be something different. This is the best job in the world.”

Q 4. What would you say is the #1 challenge in teaching homeschool gym?

Coach Chris: “I’d say that the #1 challenge in teaching my classes is keeping so many different personalities, learning styles, and skill levels all engaged in the same activity.”

Q 5. Do you have many special needs children in your gym classes? How do you accomodate special needs students?

Coach Chris: “I have several students with special needs. I feel that the best way to accommodate students with special needs is to involve them in the process. For example, I have two students in motorized wheelchairs and I work with them and get their input on the best adaptations to activities to ensure their participation. I feel that if I address every child’s needs as special, then we all have the best experience as possible.

Q 6. Do you have students who are gifted academically in your gym classes?  

Coach Chris: “I would say that many of my students are academically gifted. That is a major reason that many families choose to homeschool.”

Q 7. Do you find that students who are academically gifted are, more likely, less likely, or similar to other students willingness to actively participate in class? 

Coach Chris: “They are similar to any other student. This goes back to treating every student as an individual. In that way, they all feel that they are included in the process and that their needs are being met.” 

Keeping Gifted Children Acitve with Homeschool Gym

Q 8. Do you see or believe there to be a correlation between academically gifted children and a lack of physical coordination?

 

Coach Chris: “I’m no expert on this subject but I think that there is a correlation between being academically gifted and the expectation of lack of physical coordination. There is a tendency toward gearing education to the strengths of the child and leaving other things out that might be challenging. My expectation for all of my students is that they try their best and when provided with opportunities for success there is definitely an improvement in physical skills.” 

Opportunities for Keeping Active Success with Homeschool Gym
 

9. What ideas, or tips would you offer to a parent of a child who is a gifted learner, to keep them moving, motivated and healthy? 

Coach Chris: “It’s all in expectations. Whether a student has special needs or is gifted it is not in raising or lowering expectations but altering them. A personalized approach that gives a student ownership over their learning and physical experience is important. Many people think of being physically active as something that is difficult because the ideal athlete can run faster or jump higher than everyone else but I feel that doing whatever brings them joy is important. Finding time to take a walk, do yoga, play an individual sport, or any type of physical endeavor is key to that.”

Keep Gifted Children Active by Maintaining Expectations

10. What ideas would you give to a homeschooling parent who does not have access to a local homeschool gym class?

Coach Chris: “Look at community resources. There are public parks and woods just about anywhere. There are activities geared toward the community at large that many homeschoolers can participate in. Also, very soon I plan to provide resources in which families can start their own HomeSchool Gym program in their communities using my educational approach.”

11. What other information would you like to share with homeschooling families?

Coach Chris: “With regard to physical activity I would say start small, if you feel intimidated or unsure about what to do. So many people feel that they have to jump right into being active when a more deliberate approach might be more appropriate.”

I think Coach Christopher Quickert is very insightful in his approach to teaching homeschool gym. As a parent I am able to observe how diligent he is to interact with each student. I see how he works with each child in a unique way and helps them to feel like they are a part of the gym class. No one is left out, and everyone participates. He is doing a great job! Which explains why my Little Man enjoys his class so much. 
If you would like to know more about Chris’ HomeSchool Gym approach and would perhaps like to learn more about how to bring The HomeSchool Gym your own hometown, please visit Chris’ webpage: The HomeSchool Gym and click the Contact Us tab. 

How do you provide physical activity for your gifted child or homeschool student? Share ideas, tips and encouragement in the comments below.

 

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This post is a part of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, Promoting Health and Wellness in the Gifted and 2e Child

 

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