Please Note: A Beka does not sell their materials to Exodus Books. The following overview is meant to help you evaluate A Beka as a curriculum, and give you some other options to consider as well.
A Beka’s health program is a complete curriculum for grades 1-12. The consistent style of the books makes this an easy course to use, and because it isn’t teacher-intensive many prefer it to a more involved series (like Horizons). The authors’ extremely conservative views come through more strongly than in other texts, but for the most part the material is common sense personal care with supplementary background information.
How Do These Work?
For grades 1 and 2 there is a consumable student worktext and accompanying teacher edition. Grades 3-12 each come with a student text (consumable until grade 6), teacher edition or alternate answer key, test/quiz/worksheet book, and test/quiz/worksheet answer key. Teacher editions contain answers to all in-text questions, as well as brief lesson plans and supplementary material for presentation; the answer keys contain answers only. Multiple-grade charts emphasizing important concepts are also available.
This is one of those courses that lets you simply hand the book to your students and let them read the text and complete the work on their own. While you could also lead them through each chapter, there isn’t a lot of teacher support (even in the teacher editions), so unless you have specific information you want to add it’ll mostly just be rehash of what they’ve already read.
Elementary and middle school students will learn mostly about diet and hygiene, while the high school texts focus on sex education (nothing explicit), drug and alcohol abuse, dating relationships, etc. Each of these topics is given a lot of space, in some instances a seemingly unwarranted amount, and some of the authors’ conclusions will sound unduly dogmatic concerning issues that are topics of debate among Christians.
Our Honest Opinion:
Each text is colorful, though the pictures, in typical A Beka fashion, are out of date (the Flock of Seagulls ceased to be an accepted hairstyle a decade and a half ago). The text is easy to read though stilted. Most of the material covered is standard personal health and manners stuff, though it is from a Christian perspective and the authors relate concepts to Scripture passages whenever they see fit.
The greatest value of this course is its uniformity. You don’t need to relearn how to teach the course every other grade level, and it follows a progression of ideas, from basic to more complex and mature. The downside is that many of the authors’ ultra-conservative ideals are dogmatically asserted rather than thoughtfully explored. For instance, alcohol is consistently vilified, despite Scriptural support for its moderate consumption. A Beka’s health curriculum will do the job; but if you don’t mind putting a little more work into it, Horizons Health for K-8 is a more well-rounded choice, and Total Health for 7-12 is more balanced.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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