Updated: Jun 13, 2018
I've been in a lot of High School discussions lately. I wrote yesterday about the ongoing conversations about what counts and whether or not real life learning and activities were good enough.
It got me to thinking about another area that seems to be a source of uncertainty for homeschool mamas.
As always, the questions begin with, "What curriculum do you recommend for Health?"
You may have already guessed my response. You do not need a Health textbook to teach health at any level.
When I say these things I can almost feel your eyes rolling back in your head and I see your there - arms waving in the air while you scream back at me, "Robin! I do not have TIME to write an entire curriculum up for my kids!"
No you don't. I agree. You also don't have the time to properly research curricula, pre-read, administer, grade and test on curriculum. That's why my Relaxed Approach is so beautiful. Otherwise the truth is you are asking around on forums and then making a guess. It's like a carnival game tossing darts at balloons hoping to win a prize. Just consider this.
Instead of buying another (lame) textbook, get out your bullet journal. You DO have a bullet journal right? It's okay, get one. Learn to bullet journal here. For now, get a ten cent spiral bound notebook and a cup of tea and jot down your own ideas as I walk you through a few of mine.
The following is an example of how to approach any of the subjects I will mention later. Think of this like the skeleton for a chapter. Maybe start with...
Hair care. Girl or Boy, it almost doesn't matter but some kids will get even more excited about this subject (er um "chapter" or "unit study" if that feels more comfy) than others. Some kids will LOVE this subject.
What shampoo do you use? Does it have alcohol? Is it natural? Find an online survey about hair health like this one http://www.youbeauty.com/quizzes/healthy-hair/ and get started. They spend some time learning online about their specific hair and how to care for it and look their best. Maybe they have dry scalp, oily hair, dry frizzy hair, beautiful curls, they need to know how to best care for their own hair.
They should explore hair cuts, styles, oils and other nourishing treatments, styling products and tools, dye, perms. There is so much to know about this. Can they make their own products? Do they want to spend their money on better products? Let them.
Bonus: Getting teens to maintain adequate grooming is a real issue for moms. Don't lecture them, don't drill them from a book. Give them a tool that will benefit them and help them look their very best. They will appreciate it.
Double Bonus: Introducing subjects like this and in this manner has the added benefit of introducing them to a number of skilled professions. Cosmetology, Barber College obviously but also chemistry, natural products, maybe even entrepreneurship when your daughter makes a fabulous hot oil treatment and wants to open an Etsy shop to sell it!
Have them keep notes in a binder if this is important to you. Have them do what I call the Reverse Curriculum Approach which is essentially them writing their own curriculum as they go (stay tuned for a post on this!). Or grade their work by oral examination and demonstration of knowledge.
I won't belabor every single suggestion below with an in depth exploration but approach it they same way we just discussed Hair Care. Feel free to email if you want some additional ideas. I'll just leave a little list here of things you can consider for starters. But brainstorm in your journal the things that are unique to your child, your family, your gender, your ethnicity, your families specific health challenges or pre-dispositions.
Intolerances - Gluten, Lactose for example
Healthy Eating Habits
Calorie Intake vs Output
Get a Fitbit and track health, activity
Use My Fitness Pal and track calories and activity
Menstruation & Puberty (I know this is the scary one)
High Blood Pressure
Explore different exercise options - Tai Chi, Pilates, Zumba, Boxing
Learn to make Smoothies and track the nutritional content
Mental Health - anxiety, depression, stress, loss
This is just for starters.
Make your list in your notebook and discuss it at RoundTable with your child (I mention Round Tables from time to time - it's getting it's own post I promise). Start today, tomorrow you sit and chat with each child about what they would like to start with then set them to it. THEY do the research - not you. Let them get books from the library, let the search online, watch YouTube videos. This method teaches children much more than health by the way it teaches them: to be self directed, to discern what information is relevant to their study and what isn't, conduct research, keyboarding, reading, note taking, oral presentation, and report writing for starters.
It's okay if their study takes them down a side street, we call those rabbit trails and that's okay. That's how learning should work!
When they make notes and printout things they add them to their binder. You can help them organize it (that's another study skill) Don't grade it or correct this work. They are creating their own textbook/curriculum. If you want a polished report, fine request one ever so often or about each subject, maybe each section of their Reverse Curriculum Binder begins with a brief overview of the subject and what they learned. Keep it reasonable. This is about their learning though, don't lose sight of this critical piece of the method. You discuss it with them to assess what they've learned. It isn't about proving what they've done to a school or a college unless you are legally bound to produce that documentation. If you are the Reverse Curriculum Binder will suffice.
Each and every single subject I listed above (and this is just scratching the surface) leads to new paths of learning, improved health and knowledge that applies to their life and exposes them to potential careers and fields of interest they never even considered. Every single thing I listed is a career path.
All you have to do is, brainstorm a list. Spark them everyday. Talk with them, check in, guide, encourage, talk to them, follow up, make new suggestions, be interested, talk to them, learn something new alongside them, be willing to try new things, oh and talk to them.
It's more effective and so much easier than administering a dry textbook that isn't meaningful to their life.
Cheers To Your Good Health, Robin