Archive for the ‘PE’ Category

Horseback Riding in Spokane

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019


My son has been wanting to go horseback riding ever since he took lessons when was three years old. Back then we were doing a themed unit study on horses, and ever since, he saw himself as a cowboy. He would wear cowboy boots around the house, and several birthday parties were themed around horses or Wild West shows. He even wrote a creative writing assignment set in the Wild West, culminating in a show-down with a villain set in a western town.

So when we had an opportunity to go horseback riding in Spokane for his 16th birthday, I finally booked it. When I told him, his face lit up. We had several months to look forward to it, and last Saturday we finally went. We had found True West Trail Rides on a web search, and the fact that the trail that we chose was by the Spokane River made it all the more lovely!

We filmed the experience for you to enjoy:

We met at an equestrian area at Riverside State Park. As soon as we arrived, we signed some papers, and the kids put on riding helmets. My husband and I opted to not wear riding helmets and signed papers accordingly. It was a beautiful sunny day. A nice breeze was blowing in the shade under the trees.


It’s been a while since I’ve gone horseback riding. Back when I was a teacher at an American school in London, I was a chaperone on a pony trekking field trip in Wales. I remember riding a tall pony for three hours and nearly falling off when the horse jumped over a small river with no warning.

This time my horse was well-behaved, and I was even able to film with one hand. I was holding onto the reins and the pommel (the handle at the front of the saddle) with my left hand. Every once in a while during the hour-long ride, I would film for a few seconds and then put the video camera into my fanny pack around my waist.


My kids enjoyed themselves and even had the horses trot every once in a while. We hiked on a trail through the forest, so we saw a lot of pine trees and other forest plants. We had to duck our heads several times to avoid running into branches. I could have avoided all branches by guiding my horse around them, but dork that I am, I was recording with one hand, so they snuck up on me.

Ducking branches reminded me about the biblical story of Absalom, King David’s son, being caught in a branch from riding a horse, and dying shortly thereafter. In all fairness, Absalom would not have died if someone had helped him down from the tree branch instead of a group of soldiers stabbing him because he was in the middle of a war. Thankfully I was not in a war. Like I said, it was a pleasant sunny day.


We had the rare opportunity to see a buck with antlers! My husband took this picture on his phone, but you can see this same buck in our video footage above. It was hiding in the upper left hand area of the video. Perhaps it’s worth watching the video again to see this delightful sight. When I was recording it, I couldn’t see the buck through the forest. My husband was pointing, and I filmed in the direction of his pointing. I’m surprised I caught it on film!


You can see in the video that we had an amazing view of the Spokane River. I filmed some of it and never took a picture because I decided to just enjoy it. I suppose I should have filmed more, since further down the river, it was an aqua color. It was beautiful! It would have been nice if I had caught this on film, but I’m also glad I was able to enjoy the moment.


When we arrived back at the starting point, we got our picture taken as a family. Here we are, sitting on our horses after our one-hour trail ride:


We thoroughly enjoyed not only riding the horses, but the tour guide’s conversation, as well as the beautiful scenery surrounding the trail. Wherever you live, there are probably places you can go to ride horses. It’s a unique experience to have as family-bonding time. We loved it!

Related article: Cowboy Birthday Party

LEGO Olympics

Monday, October 26th, 2015


My son enjoyed making a LEGO Olympics scene. It came out great! He started off with a green LEGO base, attaching a red track around the base in the form of a circle. This was the running track, and he placed several Olympic runners on the race track, bending their legs and arms as if they were running.

Next he made a long jump activity. He made this out of green LEGOs, alternating light green and dark green. He placed several jumpers on it. One jumper had his hands back and was tilted slightly forward because he was about to jump. The other jumper had already landed and was in a sitting position.


The next part is the swimming area. Several swimmers are in the water; one is going one direction and one is going the other. If you want to make a larger Olympic swimming pool, you can make another scene. This way you can make lanes in the swimming pool by using light blue LEGOs as the dotted lines inside the dark blue swimming pool water. Place white LEGOs on the two shorter edges of the swimming pool, and have the swimmers diving into the pool and swimming down the lanes. I hope you enjoyed our fun Olympic LEGO scenes!

LEGO Playground

Monday, October 12th, 2015


One of my sons made a LEGO playground. It turned out really cool! He made a water slide, a swing set, a picnic table, and a merry-go-round.

He started with a green LEGO base, and he built a water slide. He made a ladder out of red LEGOs, and the sliding part was made out of blue LEGOs that looked like steps that curled around. The swimming pool was made out of two different shades of blue.


Next my son made a swing set. He made this out of red LEGOs. The swing itself was a “U” shape, and it was stuck to the top bar. There were four LEGO legs to the swing set in an upside-down “V” shape.


Next he built a merry-go-round. He placed a spinner LEGO on the bottom so that he could spin it around freely. The gray piece was on the bottom, and four fence pieces made up the rails.


You can also make a picnic bench out of brown LEGOs. Now you can enjoy your LEGO playground!

Upward Basketball

Monday, February 25th, 2013

upward-basketball-1Upward Basketball is a Christian-based sports program that has games once a week for 8 weeks during January and February. Many homeschoolers participate for their homeschool P.E. program. The boys meet once a week for practice, and the volunteer coaches pray and give the kids cards with Scripture to memorize during the week. The basketball drills include dribbling, passing, shooting, layups, blocking, and teamwork skills.

Two of my sons were on the same team, even though they are two years apart in age. I saw my sons’ skills improving over the two months, and they even scored a few baskets. My boys have enjoyed playing Upward Basketball for two years now.

upward-basketball-2At the beginning of each game, the boys run through an inflated archway with a smoke machine creating a special effect. Parents and siblings line up on both sides of the archway , creating a human path through which the boys run, slapping the hands of everyone as they run through. The introduction to “The Final Countdown” blasts over the speakers as they run through.

The boys are given colored wristbands that match one player on the opposite team. This way the boy doesn’t forget who he is blocking. At the beginning of the season, watching the game is like watching an episode of “The Three Stooges.” It’s comedic really. By the end of the 8 weeks, actual basketball is being played, since the boys know what they are doing by then.

upward-basketball-3The basketball season culminates in an award ceremony which meets at the local school gym. Minute-to-Win-It-style games are played. One of the games had the participants shaking ping-pong balls out of a kleenex box tied around their waist. Whoever emptied their ping-pongs first won. (One of the coaches was much faster than any of the kids, so he won the challenge.) Another game had the participants put Vaseline on their noses. They dipped their noses into a basket of cotton. The cotton stuck to their noses, and they ran across the stage to shake off the cotton into another basket. There were three teams, and our team won. We had the most cotton balls in our basket after a minute.

Overall, Upward Basketball is a great way to get your homeschooled kids involved in a sport with a minimum time commitment. It’s hard for homeschoolers to pull together a team and find coaches, but here you have everything taken care of for you, by a nonprofit Christian organization. My kids have enjoyed it.