Among the atrocities in San Francisco's Unified School District are its Physical Education (PE) program. Kids in first grade, like Daisy, get two sessions of physical activity a week. These aren't the same types of PE classes that I had when I was a kid. Instead of playing dodge ball, or running laps. they're doing "sensory motor" activities or developing a "healthy lifestyle". I have no idea what the latter program is for. I guess they practice not smoking.
I'm not sure if this lack of PE is due to insufficient funds, or just not enough time in the day, given all the standardized tests they must teach to. It's all well and good to say that no child should be left behind, but in a footrace, all these kids are coming in last.
On top of this, Daisy's particular school has virtually no play facilities. There's no field, and only a small climbing structure. So, the kids there don't get a whole lot of exercise. My personal theory is that the conservatives are deliberately depriving the schools in liberal districts from PE money so that the red state kids can beat up the blue state kids. It's pretty clever.
Anyway, this drives the wife and I to get Daisy as much exercise as possible. She's done a smattering of swimming, ballet, soccer, and gymnastics over the years, but she eventually tires of these activities and we have no desire to force them upon her (unlike piano lessons, she's stuck with those!). Every once in a while she even gets a hankering to go for a run with her Ol' Popster (that's me!), but she generally likes the idea of running more than the actual running. I can relate.
Daisy's most recent physical activity is Tae Kwon Do. The class is pretty fun to watch. It's a beginner's class, so the kids seem to range in age from 4 to around 8. Watching those little four year olds practice their kicks and punches is damn cute. I don't know how many more years of this they'll need before they can actually injure another human, but I'd say it's at least a few.
The instructor told a story about one of his teenage girl students who was hanging out with some girlfriends at the Metreon in downtown SF. They were accosted by a bunch of guys who proceeded to harass them and eventually one of the boys hit one of the girls with a bottle. The Tae Kwon Do student sprang into action and took out all 5 guys before security could arrive. Apparently the security guards caught the whole thing on their security cameras and it made for a pretty good video.
Daisy is totally digging Tae Kwon Do. The fierce expression on her face as she screams her Hi-Yas is priceless. You go, girl! It'll be nice if she sticks with this long enough to learn how to actually defend herself, but for now I'm content to let her get the exercise and the enjoyment. I know she'll be attending classes for at least six months, because I paid for that much up front, but after that, who knows?
Hopefully Daisy will never need to defend herself physically, but it would be excellent if she could learn the skills. Somebody has to protect me from the red staters.