2015-2016 School Plans: Health and Physical Education

Next stop on our journey to explore what we we have planned for next year's 4th and 2nd grade homeschooling fun: health and physical education.

{Follow these links to check out our plans for mathlanguage artsgeographyhistory, and science.}

For health this year the Agents have decided they would like to do a detailed study of the human body. This would include but not be limited to information about the systems and organs, caring for one's body (e.g., nutrition, immunization, sleep), and basic First Aid.

{Side note: While they may be too young to appreciate it now, a thorough understanding of how your own body works is a direct line of defense against psuedoscience. Think about it: How many people do you know who totally fall for the latest diets, promises of miracle cures, food fads, false claims of CAM, and other general anti-science nonsense because they lack a basic understanding of how the human body functions? Consider it one small step to help woo-proof your children.}

The primary resource we will use is Human Body: A Visual Encyclopedia by DK Publishing. It is organized into 12 sections: body basics, bones and muscles, heart and blood, disease defenses, lungs and breathing, fueling the body, waste disposal, life cycle, in control, super senses, mind and personality, and additional references.

We will also revisit our copy of the American Medical Association Handbook of First Aid and Emergency Care, which in addition to basic first aid tips includes safety in the home and what to do in an emergency. Another book the girls have enjoyed that they will likely want to re-read is The Care and Keeping of You and its various derivatives, by American Girl Publishing.

One of our most frequently used online resources for learning about the human body is KidsHealth from Nemours. It includes videos, articles, printable activities, and quizzes about how the body works, as well as safety, illnesses, puberty, and more. This has been an Agent favorite for years. (They have a parent section as well.)

As with most other subjects, we will also make use of printables and activities at education {dot} com.

Our state's homeschooling regulations stipulate that we must cover the following as part of our health studies every year: alcohol, drug and tobacco misuse; highway safety and traffic regulations, including bicycle safety; and fire and arson prevention and safety. While we will likely read some books on these topics, most of the "instruction" here will be  hands-on and conveyed through conversations tailored to our specific home, neighborhood, and family.

Several weeks ago one of the local hospitals had a "human body fair" set up at the mall . . . you could walk through giant replicas of the brain or intestines, touch a heart, or test your knowledge of different health professions. They also gave away lots of free stuff, including printable materials (e.g., information packets, word searches, coloring books) that this homeschooling Momma hoarded away for future health studies. So, we will be bringing these back out as applicable.

We are also required to "teach" physical education, although once again the regulations are fairly vague as to what this actually means. While we don't do organized sport activities (and the "why" behind this could probably be its own post), the Agents are very fit and active and enjoy exercise. We will address combining cardiovascular exercise with strength and flexibility, as well as maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

What this will look like in practice is yet to be determined. Last year both Senior Agents took an interest in yoga, so I found them some written and video instructions they could use to practice poses. One likes to jump rope, they both enjoy running. (So much so that they would like to come up with a "training" plan to increase distance.)

Mostly, though, they just play. (I know; what a novel concept for kids.) Weather permitting, we aim to spend a minimum of two hours (ideally more) outside each day. (Winters in New York tend to make this difficult.) Because our "school work" takes relatively little time compared to the classroom, they have more opportunities to move during the day. We also are fortunate to live in a very "walkable" town with lots of parks and playgrounds and outside events.

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