I love that we can choose from so many activities for homeschool PE. The kids express interest in something new every day, and we add it to our list of things to look into. However, we decided that our first PE activity should be learning to ride a two-wheeled bike.
Our oldest is ten and already knows how, but the next two, ages six and seven haven't learned yet. Our oldest son learned to ride in three days, so I just assumed the other kids would be equally as quick to pick it up.
I. Was. So. Wrong.
The first thing my daughter said to me was, "What if I fall down and scrape my knees?"
"Well, you will. It's going to happen. It might happen even AFTER you learn to ride. You just have to suck it up and keep trying."
"But I don't want to."
"I understand. No one WANTS to get hurt, but it happens. Sometimes that's the price you pay to have fun and learn new things."
"It doesn't sound like fun," she replied.
"Well, no. Getting hurt isn't the fun part. Being able to ride and the freedom is the fun part. If you just keep pedaling and steer, I will help you balance so you don't fall."
*insert look of skepticism here
So, she geared up, walked her bike out to the (very quiet and safe) street, and climbed on. I reassured her that I would be holding on. She put one foot up on the pedal and shot me a look that clearly implied that I would be held accountable for any skinned knees. Finally, she started to pedal.
I ran next to her on the down slope. I practically pushed all 75 pounds of her and her bike back up. She wobbled. She jumped off. We repeated this several times. It was hot, frustrating (for both of us), and took a lot of practice, but guess what...
Well, never mind. She didn't get it, and I'm pretty sure I had heat stroke by the time we were done. We both walked away annoyed, exhausted, and dehydrated. Two days later I was still thinking we should have started with something easier and less dangerous... Maybe archery or knife juggling.
On the other hand, maybe there is such a thing as over teaching on things like bike riding. She took it upon herself to go out and practice. She risked the safety of her knees, not to mention our neighbor's mailbox (which she only hit once) and was successful. She's still wobbly and uncertain, but the training wheels are gone for good.
While I'm still mad at myself for being so impatient and not knowing exactly what she needed from me in order to learn, I'm also wildly excited for her, and so proud of her determination!