Thursday, September 24, 2009


We interrupt the weekly parenting series for...


When I signed on to the TOS Homeschool Crew, I had no idea that the curricula I would receive for review purposes would include such creative and interesting items as Nutrition 101: Choose Life by Growing Healthy Homes, LLC. Co-authored by Debra Reyburn, M. D., N. C., C.H.C., I.C.A., Sara Johnson, B.M.U., Laura Hopkins, B.S. and Karen Hopkins, B.S., the book is an incredible resource for any home, private or public school teacher although it reports to be designed specifically for family use. A whopping 447 pages long, this e-book covers everything from biology to neuroscience, nutrition to fitness and many aspects of human anatomy. I received the e-book version but it is available as well in real life book format.

Being somewhat of a health snob myself, I was thrilled to have such a book in hand. Yes, I printed it because I am a sucker for the three dimensional book and my boys love multi-sensory learning. My laptop computer is just too small for the boys to read from and I wanted them to read along and/or to see the pictures as well. (We did go to the computer e-book for the additional resource links, though.)

Although I knew I would love the book, I wasn’t so sure my reluctant learners would enjoy it. To my great surprise, they did love it! They especially enjoyed the neuroscience section and the activities and links at the end of each chapter. One of them even decided to borrow library books and videos on the brain as a result of reading this first chapter in Nutrition 101.

The book is divided into six units with four subchapters inside of each. An introduction at the beginning gives ample instruction to the teacher on how to implement and design lesson plans for both elementary and secondary grades using the activity guide in the back of the book for assistance. At the end of each chapter, there were also: discussion questions, activities and recipes, and links and lists of additional resources. Behind the activity guide in the back of the book, are pages and pages of facts and supplemental material in the appendixes as well as an alphabetical index using keywords/topics in the curriculum.

Here is what the units cover:

Unit 1-Brain and Nervous System
Unit 2-Digestive System
Unit 3- Respiratory, Olfactory, Auditory and Visual Systems
Unit 4- Muscular and Skeletal Systems
Unit 5- Cardio Vascular and Immune Systems
Unit 6-Endocrine System and Emotions

Here are some of the things covered in the Appendices (You’ll have to buy the book to see the rest. These are just some of the things I liked.)

· Food Pyramid and servings guidelines
· Grocery shopping checklists,
· Detailed shopping guides for choosing fresh produce,
· Vitamin and mineral charts,
· RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) charts for all kinds of nutrients,
· Information on reproductive health and so much more!

This curriculum is unbelievably packed with FASCINATING and scientifically accurate information but it wasn’t all rote detail. It also weighed some of the pros and cons of public opinion on topics such as: dairy products for human consumption, chemical versus natural cleaners, whether or not certain types of fat and cholesterol are beneficial to the body and a few other semi-controversial topics. We found it both informative and interesting.

I use the curriculum several times per week to teach Science/Health to both boys. Since there is a fair amount of technical information in the book that could be “over their heads”, I thought it best to have them take notes as I read the material to them and explain words with which they are unfamiliar. There is flexibility in the material for presenting it as extensive or as basic as you desire with plenty of opportunity for hands-on application.

Because I do value nutritional health, we already use many of the recommended items in the recipes. Consequently, I did not put forth a big effort to make all of the recipes but we did eat many of the items listed in each chapter under the food categories for each nutrient. For instance, the chapter on brain health mentioned the benefits of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids and told us where these nutrients can be found in dietary items. We simply went to our cupboards and refrigerator and surveyed the contents, verifying that our choices were healthy. We did get to try some very tasty cookies and no one who had been absent before the cookies were made would have suspected that the ingredients were nutritious things such as prunes and flaxseed! They were baked but resembled one of our homemade no-bake cookie recipes. Although we didn't try every recipe, we do plan to try most of them. They sound so intriguing and appetizing. A few of the ingredients and combinations are even unusual to a health nut like me! Some are things I already do.

One son said, “So that is why you put the flaxseed in our bread and muffins and give us fish oil. It’s for our brains.” EXACTLY! Brownie points in my book for this curriculum!

It was a joy to watch the “lights turn on” in my boys’ eyes as they began to understand how nutrition could impact their health and learning. I enjoyed having them come to me and ask for healthful snacks due, in part, to the influence of this curriculum.

Another thing I liked about the curriculum is that it had interwoven through it, Bible verses that speak about health and taking care of our bodies. What a great way to teach them a biblical perspective on diet and nutrition without seeming contrived!

On the downside, I had wished that there were tests at the end of the chapters to help document what the children had learned. Not that I am a huge proponent of tests but I felt I needed some measure of evaluation of how much of the information they could retain. I made my own tests up and found that they indeed understood and retained the information. So, maybe the tests were not necessary after all.

Because the book is enormous and I am as thorough as a health inspector in teaching it, we did not advance as quickly through the material as another class might have but I plan to use this curriculum throughout the remainder of the year and perhaps even come back to it again later for review. This would also be a great resource for a homeschool co-op to use for home economics and/or Science and Health classes. I highly recommend it!

Now that I’ve told you how wonderful this curriculum is, you will want to know how you can purchase it too. It can be purchased as a CD ROM for $79.95 or as a book for $99.95. Better yet, you can purchase both the book and CD ROM for a package price of $129.95.

To view sample pages, visit: Be sure, also, to check out their free downloads and read up on their product called, “Gentle Babies” as well as info on speaking events and other related links.

For international orders, call 918-841-2934. Or contact them at: Growing Healthy Homes, LLC. 837 Crown Drive, Bartlesville, OK 74006, 903- 466-1564 (East Texas) or 832-298-1242 (South Texas).

CONTACT: Laura Hopkins
PHONE: 903-466-1564

To read what other TOS Crewmembers have said about this and other products, click on the banners in the upper and lower right hand sidebars of this blog page.

1 comment:

JoJo Tabares said...

I am excited to see that most homeschool curricula is quite creative and educational. I think because much of it is written by homeschoolers or others who truly love teaching.