We started homeschool gym again this fall, and it's even better than before - both for Tom, and for me. Instead of creating two separate groups of homeschoolers (older/younger), the Y went with one larger group. As a result, we have about 10 kids enrolled, ranging in age from abou 7 to 13. Being homeschoolers, they're less intense... less competitive... and more interesting than your average kiddos. Same goes for the moms!
Homeschool gym is a sort of substitute for ordinary school gym, only much more interesting. Kids spend about an hour in gym-type activities - but in this case they include things like... ultimate frisbee, rock climbing - things you might actually WANT to do. No "president's fitness test" here. After the first hour, you get changed and get a 1/2 hour swim lesson follow by free swim (including time on the water slide!).
One of the nicest things that happened this time around is that a woman I know locally brought her autistic 11 year old to join the group. This is a boy who, I thought, might have a tough time. Certainly his mom was concerned. But lo and behold, he had a terrific time! Not only did he join in as he could, but no one said a word (beyond encouragement) when he chose NOT to join in.
This mom thought perhaps the fact that the instructors were men might have made a difference. I suspect she's right. Tom, who has NEVER cared for group sports, jumped right into soccer (of all things!). He ran, kicked, and even threw the ball back in when it went out of bounds. His pratfalls were also a hit: everyone giggled when he "hit the wall" and pretended to slide down to the floor!