Running the Race ~ A Unit Study
Physical Education is often overlooked in homeschool curriculum and would be welcome after a winter of being kept indoors. This study will encourage exercise through track and field events, spiritual instruction regarding our call to “run the race”, while including the three “R’s”. It stars the champion of the Olympics and most importantly, of God, Eric Liddell. Are you ready to start? On your marks, get set, go!
Suggested Read Aloud Chapter Book: Eric Liddell ~ Something Greater Than Gold (Christian Heroes: Then & Now Series) by Janet & Geoff Benge
Picture Book Suggestions: Eric Liddell ~ Running for a Higher Prize (Heroes for Young Readers Series). Search the library for juvenile picture books about track and field, the Olympics, nutrition and stretching for children.
Study Suggestions: I would suggest reading together from the chapter book for approx. 1/2 hour a day and choose one picture book to read which corresponds to the lessons below. Have the children do some of the listed activities (or any you come up with) each day according to their abilities. Include all work separately in a notebook/binder or composition book for each child. By the end of a few weeks you will have a nice collection of “scrapbooks” to cherish as an educational keepsake.
Bible/Language Arts/Grammar/Penmanship: Read to the children the Bible verses about “running” (one per day) that are sprinkled in this post. Talk to them about the spiritual and physical application. Have your children copy the verse of the day, making sure to pay attention to punctuation. Older children can write a paragraph regarding the personal meaning of the verse to them (aka composition).
“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” ~ 1 Timothy 4:8
“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:29-31
“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” ~ 1 Corinthians 9:25-27
“Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” ~ Galatians 5:7
Suggested Spelling/Vocabulary Words:
Spelling Game: See how many words your children can find in the words “track and field events” in three minutes.
Physical Education: Read about the importance of stretching (especially before exercising) in a book, online or encyclopedia. Stretch together for 15 – 20 minutes every morning.
Basic Skills: Teach your students how to make a chart to record the following information for the physical education activities listed below.
Physical Education/Math: Have your children each attempt the long jump in your back yard (three separate times). Give them a running start and then a marker where they should begin their jump. Record their landing with a marker and have each child measure how far they jumped. Have the older children record their scores in a chart while you record for the younger children. Older children should also be taught to “average” out their scores at the end of the study.
Physical Education/Math: Time your children on the 100 yard dash, three separate times for this study. Have the older children record their own scores in a chart while you record for the younger children. Older children should “average” out their scores at the end of the study.
Physical Education/Math: Create some sort of cross country course around your home or a nearby park. Record your children’s running time of the laps (make sure they stretch first). Have them run the course at least three times a week. See if they can beat their own high scores each time. Have the older children record their own scores in a chart while you record for the younger children. Older children should “average” out their scores at the end of the study.
Physical Education/Math: You can continue practicing other track and field events such as shot put, discus, 440, family relay races (see if the children can beat their own score each time in a relay race starring all the children), etc. and record data in your charts.
History: Read about the inspiring life of Olympic champion and missionary, Eric Liddell. Book suggestions are listed above and are highly recommended for this study.
History/Bible Discussion: Eric Liddell would not run in the Olympics on the sabbath day. Was this an easy stance to take? Do you think he was popular with his country for it? Would you have been as strong in your convictions? How important is the sabbath day to you? How important do you think it is to God?
History/Bible Discussion: Before the Olympic race that Eric did not specifically train for (his specialty event was being held on the Sabbath) arrived, an American gave him a piece of paper which quoted from 1 Samuel 2:30, “Those who honour me I will honour.” Do you think God honored Eric that day when he broke the world record and won the race? Does it always work out with a happy ending when we honor God in our lives? Can you give examples of people who lost their lives because of it?
Music Appreciation: When Eric won the race, the Scottish bagpipes played for him. Let the children hear a sample of the bagpipes. Do they like the sound? Have each student verbalize their thoughts.
Character Building: Have your children write a short essay (or do an oral explanation) regarding the following quote.
“We are all missionaries. Wherever we go we either bring people nearer to Christ or we repel them from Christ.” ~ Eric Liddell
Geography: Print out a blank outline world map. Have the children find and label China (where Eric was born), Scotland (where Eric’s family was from) and finally England (where Eric went to school). You may also want to label Canada where Eric’s wife was from.
Geography/Home Economics: Prepare a Chinese or Scottish meal together.
History/Research: Read a picture book about the Olympics to your younger children. Older students can do some research and write a report about the history of the Olympics.
Health/Nutrition: Read a picture book about nutrition and discuss the importance of proper diet for a training athlete (or a growing child!).
Foreign Language: Learn how to say “run” and “race” in the foreign language you are studying. Try and utilize these words as a family during this study.
Field Trip: Go to a “real” track and time your children doing all the events that they have practiced in this study. Make this track meet special by packing lunches and having a picnic afterword.
Movie Night: Torchlighter DVD “Heroes of the Faith: Eric Liddell”. There is also a biography titled, “Champion of Conviction: Eric Liddell which an older audience may enjoy. Note: Although the movie Chariots of Fire includes a story about Eric Liddell, I personally don’t think it is appropriate for children though this video clip would be inspirational to watch. Here is a video clip of actual footage of Eric Liddell in his Olympic races.
Arts/Crafts: Let the children decorate their “Running the Race” notebooks/composition books with pictures, drawings or Olympic style clip art. This might be a fun time to teach how to make a collage.
Art/Crafts: Finish the unit study off by making medals (you can also use them for each of the events the children participated in above). Print them out on card-stock (printable here) and let each child decorate their own. Hole punch the top piece. Provide lace, string or ribbons to loop through each hole. Have students stand for a unit study picture while wearing their awards. Read the following verse to them during the “ceremony”. Discuss its meaning as you finalize this study.
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day:
and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
~ 2 Timothy 4:7-8
JES has been the wife to her “one and only” for 15 years and is a homeschooling mother who embraces her role as “keeper at home”. Her desire is to give inspiration and ideas about homemaking, homeschooling and homesteading at Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth. You may also be interested in the following unit studies; Apples in Autumn, Bees Unit Study, Calendar Unit Study, Dinosaur Unit Study, Garden Unit Study, Owl Unit Study, Pilgrims Unit Study and Trees Unit Study. (Note: Photos of athletes in this post are courtesy of Wikipedia and the Eric Liddell Centre.)
Thanks for reading!