Most people don’t have formal training in nutrition and haven’t had a health class since high school, so preparing to teach homeschool health and nutrition may require boning up and getting lots of support and resources, which this article will help you with. Also as you’re getting ready to teach homeschool health and nutrition, check you state’s homeschool curriculum – you can find your state’s department of education website URL at the United States Department of Education site: http://nces.ed.gov/CCD/ccseas.asp
The National Standards and Homeschool Health and Nutrition
The national health education standards, available at: aahperd.org have 8 standards for instructing health from Pre-Kindergarten to grade 12. There are also performance indicators for four different grade ranges within these years: Pre-K to Grade 2; Grade 3 to Grade 5; Grade 6 to Grade 8; and Grade 9 to Grade 12. The eight standards are:
- Standard 1: Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
- Standard 2: Students will analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, technology and other factors on health behaviors.
- Standard 3: Students will demonstrate the ability to access valid information and products and services to enhance health.
- Standard 4: Students will demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks.
- Standard 5: Students will demonstrate the ability to use decision-making skills to enhance health.
- Standard 6: Students will demonstrate the ability to use goal-setting skills to enhance health.
- Standard 7: Students will demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce health risks.
- Standard 8: Students will demonstrate the ability to advocate for personal, family and community health.
The nutrition education standards appear to be by state or district at this time, so I cannot generalize about them.
References for Homeschool Health and Nutrition
- A home medical encyclopedia (or web resources – see below)
- A food pyramid
- Cookbooks with information about foods
Supplies and Tools for Homeschool Health and Nutrition
Here are some items to keep track of for health and nutrition purposes:
- Family medical records
- Stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, ear thermometer, reflex tester
- Exercise record chart
- Birth information including blood type.
Projects for Homeschool Health and Nutrition
Here are some health and nutrition projects that are family-oriented:
- Create personal health records for your family at How’s Your Health run from Dartmouth: http://howsyourhealth.org/
- Assemble a family first aid kit for home and one for travel to keep in the car.
- Create a nutrition profile for the family’s favorite meals.
- Go through family recipes and consider with the rest of the family ways to make them healthier if there’s room for improvement
- Collect a recipe book of healthy and attractive snacks, make them for your family, and modify recipes as needed to suit both health and taste.
- Update the family’s list of emergency numbers and baby sitter lists.
- Update family’s “permission to treat” notes for when children stay at the homes of others. Decide what it is appropriate for them to say.
- Review or create a family emergency plan including how to get out of the house in case of fire and where to meet.
Web Resources for Homeschool Health and Nutrition
There are many health sites, but not all have reliable information. Try these for trusted results:
- WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/
- Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/
- American Academy of Family Physicians: http://www.aafp.org/online/en/home.html
- ScienceDaily Health & Medicine News: http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/health_medicine/
- CalorieKing for Food Awareness: http://www.calorieking.com/
- FoodNetwork: http://www.foodnetwork.com/
Field Trips for Homeschool Health and Nutrition
Here are some ideas for health and nutrition homeschool fieldtrips. You could visit, arrange for a tour (as appropriate) of:
- Doctor’s office
- Emergency room
- Hospital Laboratories
- Medical supply store
- Food processing plant
- Restaurant kitchen
- Fruit and Vegetable Stand
- Food Science Dept. of College or University
- University Extension Service