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Homeschool Health and Nutrition Curriculum



A homeschool health and nutrition curriculum is an essential part of any homeschool program. Find out what the national standards are for health and nutrition curriculum. Also, read some tips for teaching your kids about health and nutrition.

Health and nutrition are important to work into your homeschool curriculum, not only because states require you to teach it, but also because good health and nutrition help children be more successful at everything they do. This article will help you get started in planning your homeschool health and nutrition curriculum.

First Steps for Planning Your Homeschool Health and Nutrition Curriculum

To begin planning your homeschool health and nutrition curriculum, contact your state department of education to find out what their curriculum requirements are. You can find your state department of education web site by visiting nces.ed.gov/CCD/ccseas. Once you know the requirements you can plan what and how you will teach your children.

Using the National Standards for Planning Homeschool Health and Nutrition Curriculum

The Center for Disease Control and the American Cancer Society have established the national curriculum standards for teaching health and nutrition. These eight standards are:

  • Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
  • Students will analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, technology, and other factors on health behaviors.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to access valid information, products, and services to enhance health.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to use decision-making skills to enhance health.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to use goal-setting skills to enhance health.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce health risks.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to advocate for personal, family, and community health.

Your state department of education will probably provide resources to help include these standards in your homeschool curriculum. You can also go to the web site of the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org), the Center for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth), and other states’ departments of education for more teaching ideas and information. A good resource for health and nutrition information for children, teens, and parents is the Nemours Foundation at www.kidshealth.org.

Beyond the Standards

Good health is largely a result of good habits, like eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, exercising, and avoiding unhealthy substances like drugs. Parents have the opportunity to help children make these habits a part of their daily lives. Some ways you can do this include:

  • Set a good example by practicing healthy habits yourself.
  • Include time outside in your homeschooling routine whenever weather permits. This encourages outdoor exercise, and studies have found that kids learn better when they have some exposure to nature, even if it’s just the nature found in their neighborhood. Nature or seasons walks are a fun way to get some exercise and learn about science.
  • Talk to your kids early about health topics, including avoiding drugs and the importance of taking good care of oneself. You can have your children research and report on health-related issues.
  • Encourage kids to help you plan healthy meals. You can take kids shopping with you and give them a budget to use to plan a healthy meal, which allows them to practice their math skills and their nutrition knowledge.

Sources

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Healthy Youth!, National Health Education Standards - cdc.gov

American Cancer Society, "National Health Education Standards, 2007" - cancer.org

US Department of Education - nces.ed.gov