Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom
The summer Olympics are now upon us, and the next two weeks promise excitement in many sports. Sounds like a good chance for families to take advantage of the natural learning opportunities this event invites into our homes, doesn’t it?!
My three kiddos–Trishna, Jonathan, and Elijah–stayed up late to watch the opening ceremony with Steve and me on Friday night, and it’s fun to see their enthusiasm building as they understand a bit more about what the Olympics are all about.
If you’re like me, you may have seen the same excitement from your little people. Looking for ways to translate that passion into learning? Here are some links and ideas for integrating various subjects with the Olympics.
Arts & Crafts
- Olympic Crafts: 20+ Crafts, Activities & Ideas to Inspire @ Red Ted Art’s Blog
- Olympic Crafts for Kids @ Activity Village
- Olympic Crafts @ Kaboose
- History of the Discus Throw for Kids @ LiveStrong.com
- Go for the Gold! History of the Games @ Scholastic Teachers
- History of the Olympic Games @ YouTube
- Free map & flag printables of the United Kingdom @ Enchanted Learning
- Geography, literacy, & history links @ Project Britain
- Free ebook: Olympic Activities for Kids @ I Can Teach My Child
- Backyard Obstacle course @ Train Up a Child.
Olympic Book List
- G is for Gold Medal: An Olympics Alphabet by Brad Herzog
- Hour of the Olympics (Magic Tree House) by Mary Pope Osborne
- Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #10: Ancient Greece and the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne
- The 2012 London Olympics by Nick Hunter
- Great Moments in the Summer Olympics by Matt Christopher
- Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull
- London 2012 Olympic Games The Official Book
- Through Time: Olympics by Richard Platt
- A Passion for Victory: The Story of the Olympics in Ancient and Early Modern Times by Benson Bobrick
Official Olympic Sites
- Olympics statistics and history @ SR/Olympic Sports
- London 2012 – Official website of this year’s games
- Team USA – Official website of USA athletes
Several of this year’s olympic hopefuls have homeschooled for part or most of their schooling years:
Arielle Martin – Cycling
Dana Vollmer – Swimming
Danell Levya – Gymnastics
David Boudia – Diving
Gabrielle Douglas – Gymnastics
John Orozco – Gymnastics
Kayla Harrison – Judo
McKayla Maroney – Gymnastics
Danell Leyva – USA Men’s Gymnastics, Homeschooled since 2nd Grade
I had a chance to ask Danell about his homeschooling experience. Here’s what he had to say:
“I was born in Matanzas, Cuba and was raised and currently live in Miami, Florida. My stepfather Yin Alvarez and mom Maria Gonzalez both were members of Cuba’s gymnastic team. My family owns the gym that I train at and it made it really easy to balance studying with work. My stepdad has so much passion and drive. It has definitely rubbed off on me!
Homeschooling has definitely helped me be able to dedicate all the time I need to being in the gym and perfecting my craft. The extra time I can make for practice has really made all the difference and allowed me to achieve my dream of competing for the USA at the Olympics. When I am studying, I have the discipline needed to make the most of that time and the competitive desire to achieve academically as much as I do athletically.”
I enjoyed watching this short clip of Danell with his stepfather–who also serves as his coach. He came first in the men’s qualification yesterday, and will aim for the gold in the men’s team final today–Go, Danell!
Gabrielle Douglas – USA Women’s Gymnastics, Homeschooled since 3rd Grade
Here’s what Gabby had to say when I asked how homeschooling has impacted her life:
“Being homeschooled gives me the freedom not to be confined to just a classroom for learning. I’m learning everywhere, everyday. My classroom really is the world! I travel to competitions in countries all of the world and we use that as party of my studies.
I work at my own pace which allows me to follow my gymnastics dreams. Being homeschooled also helps build my self-discipline and time management. I have to balance priorities and school is definitely a very important one to me.”
You can catch Gabby in the women’s team final on July 31st!
Danell’s and Gabrielle’s stories remind me, once again, how homeschooling gives us extra time together as a family. It also allows our children to pursue their dreams–wherever those dreams may take them.
“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”
~ Wilma Rudolph, (First American woman runner to win 3 gold medals at a single Olympics)
How do you plan to learn alongside the Olympics this year?