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How to Award a P.E. Credit

Susan Wise Bauer
Susan Wise Bauer

Most states ask to see some sort of physical education course on the high school transcript. This requirement can range from a 1/2 credit in general physical activity (that’s 60 hours over the course of the year) to a two-year sequence that includes instruction in basic health as well. Find your state or local requirements on their respective government education websites or take a look at the National Association of State Boards of Education

You can meet this requirement in several different ways:

1) You can award a half P.E. credit for 60 hours of purposeful activity, or a full credit for 120 hours. Purposeful activity can include biking, hiking (vigorously), jogging, weights, exercise classes, swimming, or any other physical activity that causes the student to break a sweat. (Ambling doesn’t count.) The student should keep an exercise journal and log those hours regularly.

2) You can award a P.E. credit for one year of participation in an organized sport (softball, Ultimate Frisbee team, basketball, horseback riding, skating, etc.) or regular instruction in a skill such as martial arts, dance, etc. However, be aware that you can’t award a P.E. credit and then also list the sport or participation on the transcript as an extracurricular activity. That’s double-dipping; pick one or the other. If the sport requires considerably more than 120 hours over the course of the year, it’s probably best to list it as an extracurricular activity.

3) If your state has a “health” requirement, take one semester to go through a standard high school textbook or a guide to nutrition and exercise. McGraw-Hill and Prentice Hall both have texts simply titled Health, but any book that covers basic nutrition and fitness can fulfill this requirement. The student doesn’t need to take exams; simply completing the exercises included in the text is sufficient.

Take the P.E. requirement as a chance to encourage your student into more thoughtful eating, and more regular physical activity, and you can end the year with a healthier, more energetic child.

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Susan Wise Bauer

Susan Wise Bauer is an educator, writer, and historian. She is the co-author of The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (now in its fourth edition), and the author of (among others) The Well- Educated Mind, The Story of Western Science, the Story of the World series, the History of the World series, the elementary series Writing With Ease, and the pre-rhetoric series Writing With Skill. Susan was home educated through high school and has taught all four of her children at home. She has a B.A. and M.A. in English language and literature, an M.Div., and a Ph.D. in the history of American religion from the College of William and Mary in Virginia, where she taught writing and literature for over fifteen years.

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