Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Growing Healthy Homes Review

It seems strange, when you stop to consider it, that health and anatomy are typically taught as separate subjects.  Why is this?  Our health consciousness is directly influenced by our knowledge of anatomy and the human body.  It would make sense to learn about human anatomy and the nutrition that supports it at the same time, but until now there was not a program developed for this. 
Enter Nutrition 101: Choose Life!  A versatile science curriculum developed by four women and it is designed to bring together the how and the why of good nutrition.  Nutrition 101:Choose Life! can be purchased either as a hardcover book, for $99.95, or a CD copy for $79.95.  I received a digital copy, and after seeing the attractive book, I decided that I wanted it printed.  Several Crew members put this on their eReaders.
Nutrition 101 is a huge book organized around units.  There are 6 units, and each unit has four chapters.  This program is designed to be used for 6 months, one chapter a week, but it is open to the homeschool tweaking that is so typical. You could really use this material in any way that you wanted, but after looking through it I thought that the chapter-a-week method looked the easiest.
Each chapter has a text, to be read to or by the student, a lot of activities and experiments suggested, additional resources, and a ‘power food’ recipe.  The text is pretty deep, with a lot of information and a lot to think about.  However, the chapters are not that pretty short, and the basic concepts are simple.  I re-worded a few of the more complicated thoughts, and the kids did fine.  I was a little worried that the text would be much to difficult for my kindergartener and first grader to understand, but there were only a few small parts that were just over their heads.  The chapters are wrote in a conversational tone, without any talking down to the children.  You can certainly feel the authors’ passion for the subjects.
The various activities are really creative and interesting, and we found that we had to pick and choose or we would have spent way too much time on them.  The discussion questions were nice, but the activities really brought the ideas home.  The activities are divided into sections for elementary and secondary children, and they are what you would consider an idea buffet- there is too much there for anyone to try all of it; rather you can pick and choose.  I thought that the ideas to try and the experiments suggested were very nice.  There is a variety for everyone- from people who love to get their hands dirty to those who normally get all of their science from a book. 
Each chapter has a recipe specifically focused on the body part being studied.  We got to make guacamole in the first chapter, and I was upset to discover, after we were finished, that we had forgotten to take any pictures of the process.  We had been enjoying ourselves so much it never crossed my mind, so you will just have to imagine our fun!  The guacamole was delicious, and we were all happy to know that it was a ‘brain power’ food.  After you make your recipe, there are even more accompanying activities to do in your kitchen, such as reading food labels, learning how to cook safely, and experimenting with fruits and veggies.  We are even trying our hand at growing an avocado, one of the suggested activities in the first chapter. 
 Growing Healthy Homes
At the end of the book there are extensive appendixes, and this part of the book alone would make it a great resource.  They have nutrition charts, health statistics, shopping guides, vitamin and mineral charts, and information about whole grains, healthy fats, household toxins, cancer, spices, and so much more.  Because I don’t want this blog post to turn into a book itself, I am not going to go into that anymore.
I love this curriculum.  It has more information contained in it then any household reference guide I have seen, even though that is not what it is designed to be.  It is thorough, interesting, and accurate.  I love the versatility of the lessons, and it could easily take one year or several, be done one day a week or every day, used in your home or in your co-op.  The children were a little swamped with information the first day I read it to them, but after that I took it slower and they liked it.  They loved shopping with me and cooking together, and they were engaged and interested in the anatomy lessons.  What more could you ask for from a nutrition program? 
You can visit Growing Healthy Homes to learn more about the program and the founders.  You can also go to The Old Schoolhouse Crew blog to read other reviews. 
           I received this product free of charge
as a member of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew,
for review purposes. I promise to be honest
and fair in my reviews, and I received no
other compensation in exchange for my review.
You can visit The Old Schoolhouse Crew blog
to read more reviews on this product.

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