Thursday, August 30, 2018

Exploring Creation with Health and Nutrition {a Homeschool Review Crew review}

High School Health is a course I struggled to pull together for my graduates.  On the one hand, I thought it was important that it be on their transcript.  On the other, everything I found was boring, stupid, or both.  I cobbled something together, but this is one course that I felt a bit unsettled about.  Did they really earn a half credit?  I'm not convinced.

When I heard that Apologia Educational Ministries had a homeschool health and nutrition course coming out, I was excited.  When I was told they wanted the Crew to review Exploring Creation with Health and Nutrition by Dr. Laura Chase, I was very excited. When the Health and Nutrition Basic Set showed up at my home, I was very, very excited. 

The basic set includes the hardcover text and one spiral-bound notebook.  The notebook is not an extra like it is with their high school science courses, this is an essential part of the program.  Since I have two high school students, I needed an extra Student Notebook.

Richard working on "On Your Own" questions
The hardcover text is just what it sounds like.  It contains the reading material and "On Your Own" questions and answers.  Like their high school science materials, the On Your Own could be answered on a separate piece of paper, but there is space in the notebook to be answering those questions.

The notebook also includes the information for the various projects, plus chapter study guides and chapter tests.  That isn't information that is included elsewhere.  If you complete the course without the projects, you are missing a lot.

The basics of this course are that the student read the text, which is addressed to the students in a nice, personable way.  There are "On Your Own" questions to be answered as you go along, which help the student to pick out what is important.  Most modules (all but module 2 and 11) have projects to do.  At the end of the chapter, there is a study guide to fill out, and a chapter test.  Three modules (9, 12, and 14) don't have study guides or tests.

There are approximately sixty projects included, and these cover all kinds of things.  In Module 1, project 1.4 had them determining things like whether they were right or left leg dominant, and right or left eye dominant, among other things like morning vs. night person.

As you can see in the photo on the left, determining foot dominance was a nice break from bookwork!  Which foot do you naturally use to kick a ball?  For all of my students, they kick with their right. 

We've tested eye dominance in the past, with mixed results as some of my kids are left eye dominant.  My current high schooolers are both right eye dominant though.

Many of the early projects involve a lot of writing in the student book, and not a whole lot of "doing" as such.  They would certainly prefer that there be more active stuff.

As we get started on Module 3, I laughed a bit looking over the projects.  Project 3.2 has them going through a decision-making process.  I simply love that it is open-ended.  In my high school health class, we had to do something similar, only we were assigned a problem to decide.  "You/your girlfriend just found out you're/she's pregnant.  What do you do?"

I hated that assignment.

(For the record, I gave the child up for adoption.  My teacher graded me down because she didn't agree with my lack of pros under the option of "have an abortion," and she thought my cons for that were unrealistic.  Whatever.  Have I mentioned that I love that this resource is solidly Christian?)

The next project in module 3 involves a digital media fast.  I'm really looking forward to that one.

Other projects, just for some examples, include taking a hearing test, and color blindness test; hunting for various items (preservatives, color additives, MSG, sugar) in your food; tracking food, sleep, exercise, and oral care; checking blood pressure and pulse; and oh-so-much-more.

Some projects involve peer pressure.  Two I am really looking forward to in module 4 are practicing refusal and setting boundaries.  We all need those.

The author explains in an interview that "I wanted to put in projects which helped the student understand himself or herself better."  I think she succeeded in that.

You can read the interview yourself, in this free activity book.  It has a lot of great stuff, but the author interview really helped me to fall in love with this program.  This statement was part of that falling in love bit:
Health books tend to promise the moon: if you eat right, if you don’t smoke, if you exercise, well, your life will be great. That’s a lie.
She also talks about covering more than just physical health.  This book includes modules on nutrition, mental health, exercise, illness, and yes -- reproduction.  I love that reproduction is the very last module.

Each module (I think, I have not looked at every single one yet!) also talks about careers in health fields, including some interesting choices people don't necessarily think of immediately.

One more amazing feature of this course is the course web page.  Now, I've used these pages with other Apologia books in the past.  I always have to try to remember where the password is to get into it, and what the website is in the first place.  So generally, I have started out strong, and then I just forget to go there.  More recently, I don't even bother with it at all.

Now you create an account, which does still require me to find the website.  It's linked on Apologia's main page though, so seriously.  Even I can remember that.

Within your account, you add a course... and you don't have to do that every single time.  It remembers that we are doing Health and Nutrition.  I simply love this.

This screenshot to the right shows the links for Module 3, which I was checking out just yesterday. 

I could show you a screenshot of all the books I've already added, but that really doesn't relate to this review.

Except that knowing this is out here makes me more likely to get some serious use out of these extras.

Some of the links are to articles, like this career related one from Module 2.  Some are to demonstrations, or to videos.  This kind of thing adds a lot to the program, and now it is easy to get to.  I am so thrilled about that!

The course extras page is just one more way to have built-in flexibility with this class.

The Health and Nutrition course is designed to be one high school credit, and the schedule in the front of the student notebook has you working three days a week for 34 weeks.  That pace is really quite nice.  I love having something that does not have to be completed each day!

If you do this five days a week, and double up a couple of days, you can get through it in a long semester, roughly 20 weeks.  I would rather take a bit more time and work in some of those extras!

I highly recommend this course, and I know this fills a huge need in the homeschooling community.  Interesting, fun, and relevant health education for high school.

Go see what other Crew members thought:

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