DIY Homeschool Health

I had a running joke my first year of homeschooling: Yeah, we cover health. We wash our hands everyday. While I knew health was important, our child-led learning, let’s-forgo-formal-curriculum approach meant I wasn’t going to shell out $50+ for fancy book covers and unnecessary worksheets that no one would want to do.

So, I did a little research to understand what exactly makes up a health curriculum. Come to find out, health covers more than just the food pyramid – Just Say No – and pregnancy prevention.

The Center for Disease Control identifies 9 core topics that should be covered in health classes for kids. They include:

  • Healthy Eating
  • Personal Health and Wellness
  • Mental and Emotional Health
  • Physical Activity
  • Alcohol and Other Drugs
  • Tobacco
  • Safety
  • Violence Prevention
  • Sexual Health

Having a sense of umbrella health topics, it was easy to start brainstorming age-appropriate ideas of specific “lessons” I would want to cover. Instead of trying to create 13 different lists (one for each year of K through 12), I focused on topics that I wanted to complete over a period of 3-4 years.

As I started creating lists of learning objectives, it became more and more apparent that much of what we call “Health Education” is really practical life skills. Teaching these skills doesn’t require a textbook. It requires hands-on practice with learning how to take ownership and responsibility for one’s life.

Take Safety, for example, and how to handle a situation if you get lost. We homeschooled Health on one of our first trips to an amusement park when the kids were about 5 years old. After getting our tickets and before our first ride, I found a security guard walking by. We stopped the person to say a friendly hello and I asked (in one of my Mamma voices), “Are the person we would ask for help if we got lost from our group?” After a few more friendly words we were on our way.

We also reviewed our general rules for what to do if you’re lost in public.

Me: If we get separated, do you run around and look for me?
Kids: No.
Me: What do you do to get help?
Kids: We plant our feet like trees and we don’t leave with anyone offering to help, except a police officer.

By middle school, that conversation morphed into: “Where do you think is a good meeting spot, in case we get separated?”

Over time the list of Health learning objectives grew. Sometimes I didn’t even know we were homeschooling Health until later when I was making some notes for our portfolio and I realized, “Yeah, learning how to pick fresh fruits and vegetables from the ones on the verge of going bad in the grocery store definitely falls under the Healthy Eating umbrella.

If you’re short on time but still want to DIY Homeschool Health – you can find the complete list of hundreds of Health learning objectives that I’ve put together for different grade levels.

How are you teaching Health to your kids today?
Share your ideas below!



Alessa Giampaolo Keener, M.Ed. homeschooled her children from kindergarten into college. Over the last 15+ years, she has also worked with families in creating individualized learning plans. As a professional curriculum developer, Alessa has created afterschool youth development programs for a Baltimore-based nonprofit, as well as teaching materials for homeschool parents and brick and mortar school teachers.

4 thoughts on “DIY Homeschool Health

  • September 27, 2015 at 9:34 am

    These areas of health are so important to teach. Education covers so many subjects, and these should not be forgotten.

  • September 28, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    This is great. I really hadn’t stopped to think about just how many objectives you can cover in all these area. I usually just focused on nutrition

  • October 4, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    I think Health tends to get overlooked in education as the back-burner subject we get to when we get to. I like how you’ve broken up this (much larger than I’d realized) set of topics into very practical and attainable learning objectives.

  • October 13, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Health really does cover a lot of different areas. I love how you integrated it into your amusement park trip. What a great learning experience!

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