August 18, 2015

Horizons Kindergarten Health {Curriculum Review}

One of the areas that I am not teaching with curriculum right now is health. I want our introduction to health to be a gentle God centered approach--something a lot of programs do not have. I have been seeking out some ideas for this subject and I was happy to have a chance to review Horizons Kindergarten Health Set by Alpha Omega Publications.
Horizons Kindergarten Health Set: Product Review

Product Information

Alpha Omega Publications is a popular award-winning company, offering a full line of products including online, digital, student-paced, teacher-led and unit studies for Christian curriculum. A few of their more well known curriculum include: Monarch, Switched on Schoolhouse, LIFEPAC, Horizons, and Weaver. 

Our review team was given the opportunity to review several of the Horizons products including the following:

*Horizons Preschool for Three's Curriculum Set
*Horizons Preschool Curriculum Set
*Horizons Math Sets for Kindergarten, 1st Grade and 2nd Grade
*Horizons Phonics & Reading Sets for Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd Grade
*Horizons Health Sets for Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd Grade
*Horizons Spelling & Vocabulary Sets for 1st grade and 2nd Grade
*Horizons Penmanship Sets for 1st Grade and 2nd Grade
*Horizons K-2nd Grade Physical Education

Because our family isn't using a health program yet, I opted to choose the Horizons Kindergarten Health Set with Baby Britches (age 5).

Included in this set:
Soft-Cover Teachers Guide
Consumable Student Workbook

The teachers guide contains 48 lessons and is recommend to be taught 2 or 3 days a week. This provides roughly 16-24 weeks of lessons depending on how fast you go through the program. The program includes information on body care, family, friendship, safety and more.

The program is geared for the Kindergarten grade level and retails for $23.00 USD.

How Did We Use It?

When the program arrived, the first thing I did was flip through the teacher manual to get an idea of what to expect. Everything was very clearly documented and laid out. One thing that really jumped out was that the program was geared towards a classroom setting, so I had a feeling I might have to make some adjustments to the activities.
Regular classroom activities in the lessons
I really felt the scope and sequence pages were very useful to see what was going to be covered in every unit.
This lays out the scope and sequence for K-8th grade Health program!
Every unit also had a few pages where it talked about the goals for each unit, the background for each unit, the new vocabulary for each unit, unit resources and lesson resources. I thought these were very helpful for planning to use each lesson.

The lessons themselves provided a section noting any preparation/materials needed, the objectives to be completed in each lesson and some bakground relating to the subject matter. The lessons follow a basic pattern:

* Introduce the Topic
This is done with just a generic discussion to get the children involved with answering. So it's usually a fun or easy discussion. A new vocabulary word might be introduced/used. Next, the discussion starts to gear towards the actual lesson and might incorporate a scripture, poem, story or song.

*Circle Time/Circle Activity
This is where you find more of the classroom lesson notes, as it has the teacher use a circle time to get the children to interact with on another relating to the lesson.

*Student Activity
This is usually either a page from the workbook or an arts/crafts. It includes a discussion relation to what they are working on.

A summary of what the days lesson taught including any reviewing of new vocabulary, songs, poems.

*Related Activities
Every lesson has a list of related activities to match the lesson. These might be more crafts, more worksheets, more discussions, literature, or even field trips relating to what was learned.

Not every lesson has the circle time/circle activity and/or student activity, but there is always a closure and related activities that can be done.

There are 7 units included in this book:

*Unit 1: Knowing About Me and My Body

*Unit 2: Living in a Family

*Unit 3: Getting Along with Others

*Unit 4: Knowing My Body

*Unit 5: Taking Care of My Body

*Unit 6: Being Safe

*Unit 7: Preventing Health Problems

The units do not have to be completed in order which makes it very nice if you want to gear your child towards a certain thing. There are 4-10 lessons in each unit for a total of 48 lessons.

I decided to work through from the beginning. I knew that since we were on summer break, we would not be following a regular routine, so my goal was to use this program at least two times a week. Baby Britches enjoyed having school just for him and cheerfully began with me.

I will share some photos from unit 1: Knowing About Me and My Body.

We learned a new song about being unique...
Sheet Music was provided, so we learned it at the piano
We learned about fingerprints and drew a self portrait...

Self portrait...with lots of "freckles"
We met our new sock puppets Sal and Hal who introduced us to feelings...
Simple addition of buttons got these odd matched socks new life
Learning about our major feelings...
Masks made for the four main emotions: happy, sad, angry, scared
Working in the student workbook...

Reading some books about feelings...
Talk about sob fest...I cried...and then realized that there is a stalker factor in this book. Bwahahah
We continued into the next unit once our unit #1 was done. Because we stuck to about a 2 day a week plan, AND because we reviewed a lot. We completed 1 1/2 units (11 lessons).

What Are Our Thoughts?

Baby Britches really enjoyed it. He liked learning about the feelings and making the feelings masks most of all. One of the activities included talking about scenarios and holding up the feeling mask that you would feel if it happened to you. He really liked this. He also liked holding up masks to match facial expressions in the stories we read.

I think this program worked well for us. There WAS a lot of classroom related activities, but they were simple to either adjust for us, or skip all together. The related activities at the end of each lesson contained plenty of suggestions that could be used for homeschool, which allowed me to swap in new things. I appreciated having the lessons so well laid out in advance with the preparation and materials noted as well as the objectives. This gave me a great goal for comprehension.

While some people might not like it, I actually enjoyed adding in the sock puppets. Our family has imaginary "friends" named Mr. And Mrs. Hand that I do every morning with the boys, so adding their "neighbors" Hal and Sal was simple. The lesson gave me a guideline about the dialogue for the puppets and I was able to fill in the blanks to go with the lesson.

I really like the way that God is worked into the lessons. It is very subtle and not overwhelming, but every lesson directs the student to God and how He created us and loves us. I appreciated this since we are a Christian family. I appreciated the addition of the songs with sheet music and scriptures as well.

I loved the short lessons. LOL. Seriously though, the lessons were short and sweet, which is ideal for this age.

It was really nice that you could start with any unit, and/or do them in any order. I found this was great if I really wanted to touch on something relevant to anything else we've studied.

I think it was nice that the workbook provides extra things, but there isn't always a student activity from the workbook with every lesson. The first page doesn't even get used until Lesson 7.

Okay, any cons?
*Sometimes the lessons were almost TOO short. But this usually happened for us when the circle time activity wouldn't work for us.

*There was a lot of referencing to posters or resources of what children or families around the world looked like. It would be nice if there was a basic poster included for this. It was extra work to have to find what I wanted on my computer to use and I had to do it every time it was incorporated. Having a pull out page or poster would be a great asset.

*This is kind of random, but since it is a health book, I was a bit surprised that the girl riding the bike on the cover isn't wearing a helmet. It jumped out at me as soon as I saw it.

So, will we be using this curriculum in the future?
Yes! I think it fits our style very nicely and Baby Britches enjoys it. I plan on working it into our Kindergarten curriculum this year and we will pick it up where we left off when we start school back in September.

Would We Recommend This Curriculum?

Yes, actually I would. I think it would be IDEAL for a kindergarten co-op situation where you wanted to teach health since it is written for a classroom setting. But I believe that it is full enough to work for just a homeschool setting. There isn't too much book work and it is presented very much at a level for Kindergarten. I actually think that though you can purchase the 1st grade set, you could adapt this one for the next grade up--and it would even work for older preschoolers. It is a very gentle approach to health and body awareness which is perfect for what I would desire in a health curriculum at this age. I also appreciate that it is very reasonable at just $23 for the curriculum materials.

I am actually considering purchasing the 4th grade health curriculum for us to use this year for Little Britches as well, which tells you what I think about the program.

Want to Know More?

We reviewed Horizons Kindergarten Health Set by Alpha Omega Publications. You have seen what our thoughts were for this product, but what did others think? Did you know we also had people reviewing products for preschool, math, phonics and reading? Make sure you check out what others on my team thought!
Alpha Omega Review
Here are other ways you can stay up with what's going on at Alpha Omega Publications!

I am so glad that this program worked for us. I am currently evaluating whether or not I want to invest in the 4th grade version of the same program to use with Little Britches, but I am definitely going to be adding in this Kindergarten version into our school year.
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