There is one subject that I am required to teach in our state, but was never sure exactly what kind of program to use. That subject is Health. Last year I mentioned a hodgepodge of things we did that would cover health. And you know what, I was fine with that, as was my evaluator (and that is really what is important). However, when the opportunity arose, through the Schoolhouse Review Crew, to review a "real" health curriculum, I sort of jumped at the chance. The WAY Comes Home Kit from HomeSchool Scholastics, an I4 Learning Company is a multi-disciplinary, hands-on program that helps teach children a well rounded health and wellness curriculum. And you know how important "hands-on" products are to me and our homeschool.
The WAY program, which stands for Wellness, Academics and You, has been in classrooms across the country for a while now. Thankfully, the creators were led to redesign the WAY program for homeschoolers, with the help of homeschoolers. This became the "WAY Comes Home" program that I get to talk to you about today.
We won't just be looking at one or two aspects of health. The WAY Comes Home curriculum is a well rounded program that includes physical health (such as exercise and nutrition), emotional health, social skills, critical thinking skills, and health communications.
Let's take a look at what we received, then I will talk about the different components. As you can see, that may take awhile, as we were blessed with a huge boxful of items:
First of all, let's talk about the actual program, then I will address all the wonderful extras that were included to make sure parents have the items that may be hard to come by.
We received a Parent Guide, 3 student health journals, a pack of consumable illustrations and vocabulary cards on card stock, the WAY Comes Home DVD, and a MyPlate informational book. We also received a MyPyramid poster:
The WAY Comes Home program is designed to be used by a family, taking into account that there are children of different ages being taught in the homeschool. This health curriculum can be used for grades K-5. There are three separate levels, and then there are ways to include children from the other age levels in the lessons of the other levels. Each of the levels has its own journal.
These are the 3 levels:
Health Safari is designed for the youngest children in grades K-1. The theme is a safari, and in the videos and journals we join Samantha and some animal friends on a safari to discover healthy ways to live.
Me Mysteries is designed for the middle children in grades 2-3. The children follow along with the detective children as they recruit agents and discover those healthy ways to live with the help of their virtual computer friend David.
Innerspace Adventure is for the older children in grades 4-5. The children become members of the WAY Team. This team is learning about personal health and wellness.
In all the levels, activities incorporate language arts, math, and science.
Each of the levels go through 5 different themed modules.
Module 1- Getting Started: This section is an introduction to health and wellness. The children are introduced to their journals.
Module 2- Where Do You Begin?: In this section the children take a look at their "inner way" and "interactive way" to see where they are at the beginning of the program. How healthy are they? Where do they need to make some changes? What are some goals?
Module 3- Let's Get Active: The children learn the importance of being active and work on ways to get moving more.
Module 4- The Nutrition Way: The children learn about the food groups and the importance of eating healthy.
Module 5- Health - It's Personal: Children learn the importance of good everyday health. They learn about germs and how they are spread.
Each of the levels have different age-appropriate activities for each of the modules. There is also an "Include Me Too!" section in each level, that gives activities ideas for children in the other age groups.
This may seem a bit confusing. I admit, it took me a while to grasp the way the Parent Guide was organized so I could make sense of all this.
Let's take a look at that Parent Guide.
Before getting into the five modules and all the activities, there is an introduction section which explains the program, a section that lists optional library books, and a section that explains how to use the WAY Vocabulary word cards. I have to be honest with you. I don't know where my head was, but I completely missed the section about the vocabulary cards, so I was never sure what exactly to do with them. Somehow I skipped those pages and moved straight into Module 1. I searched and searched through the module, but couldn't find any information about the vocabulary cards. Anyhow, now that I discovered them, we will be incorporating them into our lessons instead of letting them sit on the shelf. Big oops.
Each module is broken up into the three levels. Each level is organized the same way. There is:
- A Parent Prep section explaining the module.
- A Lesson at a Glance Section which includes the "Get Things Ready" list, the WAY vocabulary words for the module, and the optional library books.
- The What to Do section gives instructions and steps for completing the lesson.
- The Include Me Too! section that I mentioned above, which gives activity ideas for older or younger children.
- Art Attack with craft ideas.
- Weekends with WAY gives ideas to continue your learning through the weekend.
- The WAY More Resources section shares other resources that may be helpful.
- The WAY More Fun section shares fun facts.
- Finally, at the end of each lesson there is a Pray and Reflect section with Bible verses and inspiring quotes.
Now, let's take a look at the Student Journals.
I received one journal for each level. Which was almost perfect. Hannah got the Health Safari Journal, Amelia got the Me Mysteries Journal, and Tabitha got the Innerspace Adventure journal. As Harold is still only a preschooler, I didn't figure he would need a journal. Of course, it didn't take long to realize he wanted one too. I figured an actual journal would be too much for him, so I just pulled out some card stock and had him do some of the activities while his sister was working. When we are all done with the program, I plan on making his pages into a book.
The covers of the journals are blank because the children are to design their own covers to make them their own. The insides of the journals are full of color and age-appropriate activities.
Some of Harold's work:
A look at the Health Safari Journal:
A look at the Me Mysteries Journal:
A look at the Innerspace Adventures Journal:
WAY Comes Home DVD
The DVD includes the video segments for each of the modules plus exercises. As with the rest of the program, each level has different videos and exercises.
The videos for Health Safari are focused around Samantha and some jungle animals. Me Mysteries shows some a couple of kids becoming health agents and recruiting more as they learn more about health. And the Innerspace Adventures videos include a lot more children who are discovering how to be healthy.
The Health Safari exercises have 3 young children demonstrating simple exercises appropriate for young children. I actually think these are better designed for preschoolers. Harold enjoys doing these exercises, while Hannah prefers the exercises in the Me Mysteries segment. These exercises are more advanced, and look more like exercises, while the exercises for the younger ones are more fun ways to move, such as moving like animals. The Innerspace Adventures exercises have different length routines to choose from, plus you can choose the music you want to exercise to. These exercises really get you moving.
We have yet to use the MyPlate Book or the MyPyramid poster as we are still in module 3.
Now, before I get into how we used the program, let me share all the fun tools we received.
We received a balance scale, a couple of foam balls, a set of three rectangular baskets, plastic eggs, a fingerprint ink pad, transparent counters, a canister full of glitter, a tape measure, and a stethoscope. I'm not sure why I included the MyPyramid poster in this picture, oops.
How did we use WAY Comes Home?
Each module is designed to take a week to complete, unless you decide to do all the extra activities and the weekend ideas. We however, are taking even longer. As I have at least one child for each level, we are taking our time and going through each lesson for each level, doing some, but not all of the activities. We watch each of the videos for each module. But we watch one one day and then watch the others on other days. The journal is worked in by the child whose level is watched that day. Then we do some of the fun activities.
There are masks included for the Health Safari level. I decided to allow each of the older girls to do one mask, with the younger children making two (as it is their level), and mommy even got to color one.
One of the "Include Me Too!" activities listed in module 1 of Me Mysteries was to make Thumbodys. The children used their unique thumbprints to create pictures. They really loved this activity and want to do it again. This was also our first chance to use one of the included extras, the fingerprint ink pad.
I loved that Harold sounded out and spelled "I am a thumbody" his own way:
i am u tmbude
Another activity listed had us using the plastic eggs. The older girls were to write down virtues they saw in their younger siblings, place them in an egg, and hide them.
They then collaberated with daddy to surprise me with eggs filled with my virtues. It was so sweet.
We are now in the middle of module 3, focusing on getting more active. Not that the children weren't already active, mind you. This activity was suggested for the younger children, and of course, we all join in. The children took turns drawing cards and then they all acted it out. Then they had to put the card in the correct basket (yet another added item, yay!).
What did we think of WAY Comes Home?
I love that this curriculum focuses on so many different aspects of health. The children are really enjoying all the fun activities. I admit, it took me a while to figure out how to organize our days. It seems it is more normal to use one of the levels as a main level and then use the added activities for the other levels. But I wanted to make sure to allow the children to all have a chance with their journals.
One think I wanted to mention, I really would have loved to have some blank pages for pictures in the Innerspace Adventures Journal. Tabitha loves drawing and art, but she really only has pages to write. I think if I had purchased this curriculum, I would get both of the girls the Me Mysteries level journal.
All in all, we love this curriculum, and I plan on continuing on at our pace, so we have a great health curriculum for a couple more months.
Don't forget to click on the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates thought of the WAY Comes Home program from Homeschool Scholastics.