Homeschool Physical Education: Folk Dancing

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It’s the middle of winter and many of us are looking for more ways to give the children exercise indoors during inclement weather. A couple of physical recreation activities that Charlotte Mason used in her schools can come to the rescue if you’re willing to give them a try: folk dancing and Swedish drill.

Charlotte used folk dancing as part of her curriculum from the earliest grades. If you’ve ever watched clogging, Irish step-dancing, or some other type of folk dancing, you know that the activity requires alertness and stamina. The possible combinations of movements are countless, and a person must stay on his toes (so to speak) to keep in step with the others in the dance. Plus, folk dances can offer a lot of fun while exercising the body.

Your children might enjoy trying their hands (and feet) at clogging, square dancing, contra dancing, or some other type of folk dance. You can probably find how-to directions and maybe some videos online or at your local library with a little research. Even if your children don’t become professionals at it, folk dancing might be a great way to exercise and have some fun indoors during these winter months.

Charlotte used another activity to encourage her students in physical movement, grace, balance, and agility: Swedish drill. Her schedules call it simply “drill,” and she allotted a half-hour every other day (three times a week) for the children to do drill in all the grades.

We’ll talk more about Swedish drill next time. For now, gather the children and have some fun exploring folk dancing.