Probably most of you know that I teach my two youngest boys using the Calvert School curriculum. They're in 4th and 7th grades, and it's a delight to teach using these well designed courses. All of the books they use, whether Calvert designed or published by other companies, are child friendly, colorful, in depth, and just plain nice. One of the things I like about these courses (aside from the fact that they give me manuals telling me how to teach the information, which I really need!) is the parent forum, in which parents ask questions and give each other ideas. Invariably, each summer, when the majority of people are ordering their courses for the next year, there is great discussion over "Why doesn't Calvert have a stand alone health course?" Well, well.
Personally, I've never thought schools were supposed to teach health to children, and I've held this opinion since I was in school. Once they taught me the "4 basic food groups", I was good to go. I understood that larger people need more food, and smaller people need less food. Gee, what a concept!
Anyway, Calvert teaches basic health and nutrition in Science. Each year, they teach a little more, in a bit more detail. But really, the child learns his health information at home. I'm not referring here to the function of muscles, for example, which this textbook covers very well, or the organ systems. I am referring to personal health and nutrition, and I think these belong in the home. I have always had a rule: dinner must include meat, complex carbohydrates and two veggies, one of which must be green. My children routinely recite, when asked to select two veggies, "One of which must be green!" And, other than on rainy days, I have always thrown them out in the yard for hours on end. Indeed, my little guys will go out after breakfast, come in to collect a picnic basket full of food for lunch (including some for Thor), and just spend the day outside if it's not absurdly cold. Balanced diet and exercise program which is just "having fun". What else is there to teach? Hygiene? Again, not the school's job.
I do overall like Calvert's approach. As the child gets older, the information in the Science book becomes more in depth. And I agree with Calvert's unstated position that they teach the basics, but it's really a parent's job to teach the child to live right.
I dislike the food pyramid. Really, that thing says "You have to eat stuff. We won't tell you how much." What's wrong with 3 servings daily of meat, fruits and veggies, starches and dairy products? If we remember that Daddy eats more than Mommy because he's a foot taller and weighs 90 pounds more, then everything is good. In my trusty old Reader's Digest cookbook, from a tag sale when I was 14, there are charts for how many calories males and females of various ages and heights should consume, and that's the best information anyone can have.
Well, I've ranted. What do you think?