When I look back on my elementary school days, two of my least favorite classes or subjects were Health and Physical Education. Health was just boring…and in Phy Ed, I was that kid who was the slowest runner or the one who wasn’t paying attention and got hit in the head with the basket ball. Sports were definitely not my “thing.”
Among the requirements for homeschoolers in Minnesota is that we teach “Health and Physical Education.” Oh fun! We’ve really got Phy Ed pretty well covered. Our twice-a-month co-op has a Phy Ed class where the kids get to try out classic gym sports like kickball, dodge ball and floor hockey. For the past couple years we’ve done a homeschool gymnastics class for at least part of the year, as well as going to “open gym” at the gymnastics club. The kids do tennis and swimming in the summer. We’ve tried out other sports at various times as well. Not to mention family bike rides, runs around the block, jumping on the trampoline for a mid-day break, and tons of playing outside.
Last year (when Miss M was in 2nd grade), was our first year “officially” having to follow the homeschool law, since it was the first year that Miss M was 7 when school began. So, I thought I might just buy a textbook to cover the subject of health. As I read through the topics covered in the textbook, I realized that so many of the topics in the book could be covered in the course of day-to-day life and/or incorporated into other subjects!
Here are the main topics this health textbook covered (aimed at 2nd-3rd grade), and how we incorporate these into informal discussions or into other subjects:
- Basic anatomy/body structure — we cover this in science class
- Personal body care and grooming — discussed in daily life
- Caring for your teeth — discussed at twice a year dentist appointments
- Basic nutrition — discussed often during meals and at snack time. We talk about nutritious food choices, what food labels mean, and so forth
- The importance of physical fitness — discussed in the course of life
- Safety topics (fire safety, water safety, and so on) — some discussions during daily life. We also covered fire safety in a special presentation from the Fire Department at our co-op. Other safety topics come up as we participate in various activities. When we are about to ride in a boat, we discuss boat safety and life jackets!
- Illnesses/Germs — Discussed in daily life as we deal with regular illnesses or hear about others getting sick.
- Medicines and drugs — Discussed in the course of life. We talk about rules like alcoholic beverages being only for adults. Only take a medicine a grown-up says is okay to take. If we see someone smoking a cigarette, we may talk about how this is bad for their health.
- Feelings — Comes up in daily life. We talk about how to handle negative emotions regularly, and since we are at home…we can talk about how to take those feelings to God and turn to the Bible for wisdom.
- Family issues — Comes up in daily life. Homeschooling is full of opportunities to interact with and love family members!
Needless to say, we never read the textbook! Anybody want to buy a cheap health textbook? 😉
Even though most “health class” topics are covered naturally in the course of daily life, I know I will have to be purposeful about some topics. Sometime soon Miss M will be ready to learn more about the changes coming with puberty. I’ll try and make sure we cover fire safety at home every year even if we don’t have an opportunity to hear a presentation somewhere from the fire department. At some point we may want to do a first aid class or a more in-depth study on nutrition. But overall, I’ve decided that the “health” requirement in the law is nothing to stress out over! 🙂 Homeschooling and the time we have together gives many opportunities to learn about this topic naturally.
I’m linking up with Blogging through the Alphabet @ Ben and Me!