A homeschooler asked recently about health curricula other homeschoolers were using for their high school students. Everyone else gave names of typical textbooks to answer the question. While we do have a textbook we have used some (Glencoe Health), that hasn’t been the main focus of our health lessons and wasn’t my complete answer. We have used our textbook to read about various ailments, about how to avoid various health conditions, symptoms to be concerned about, and so on, but our health lessons have involved much more than that standard textbook.
A thin 4-H First Aid workbook, designed for a club rather than a classroom, has been more of the backbone of our health program this year. 4-H has a lot of inexpensive curricula developed in conjunction with universities. When I thought about what should be included in our health lessons, first aid seemed very important. When I was in seventh grade, we were taught about swimming safety and what to do in case we encountered someone drowning; when I was in twelfth grade, I used what I remembered from those lessons to rescue my young brother who panicked when he tripped and fell off a dock and went under a few times before I slid onto the dock on my stomach and reached down and pulled his head out of the water until my mother came and helped me pull him onto the dock. First aid lessons can save lives. So we’ve used their curriculum to have the kids put together their own first aid kits complete with cards they’ve completed about how to deal with a variety of emergency situations. They’ve practiced putting on splints, seen demonstrations of what to do if someone’s choking, learned about CPR, etc.
In addition, they’ve gone on a lot of field trips to learn more about health services and options and hear about safety from those who work firsthand with those who fall victim to safety issues. They’ve been to a hospital, a chiropractor’s office, a fire station, an emergency helicopter service, and more this year. They’ve also heard and learned hands-on lessons from guest speakers such as a doctor demonstrating taking vital signs, a massage therapist showing how to soothe sore muscles, a therapist who uses meditation to help relieve stress, and such. They’ve created makeshift splints for various imagined broken bones, taken blood pressure and pulse rates, and more. These aspects of our homeschool 4-H club’s first aid lessons have been great fun for the kids (who not only love the hands-on aspects, but also love to do lessons with their homeschooled friends).
As a family, we’ve also talked about health issues that we and our relatives have faced so they know what issues they have a family history of. We’ve looked at scams involving medicines, treatments, and such aimed at naive consumers who know too little to protect themselves from those who prey on vulnerable people.
We haven’t focused on written assignments and tests, but have focused instead on the practical knowledge that they’ll need as young adults who’ll eventually be starting their own families and who’ll be a part of the community and should be ready to give aid when needed, as well as be able to take care of their own health–which is much more than I remember from the dry, boring health lessons I had back in high school.