Health as a school subject is often ignored, or relegated to a position of little importance and focused simply on physical well-being. Susan Boe’s Total Health for middle and high school students is a complete health curriculum rooted in scientific and Biblical truth and bringing together aspects of physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health.
The middle school and high school courses are separate, each with a student textbook, teacher edition, and test/quiz book; the middle school program also includes a consumable student workbook. Basic Skills has also put together a Health Packet for the high school student to help them officially earn one or one half credit.
Each program can be completed in one semester, one year, or two years, depending on your needs and goals. Detailed lesson plans are not included, though the high school teacher edition contains outlines of each chapter that make creating your own lesson plans much easier.
The middle school teacher edition includes each reduced student page with commentary and supplemental information in the margins. The high school teacher edition is more complex, containing chapter-by-chapter outlines, reproducible student workpages, supplemental information, and a long introduction explaining the author’s philosophy of education.
The publishers encourage use of the teacher editions, though many people use the student books alone; the middle school teacher edition isn’t necessary, but there is enough excellent material in the high school teacher edition to make it worth buying (though if you really need to you can get by without it).
Some of the features of the high school teacher edition include answers for all in-text questions (appearing at the end of each chapter in the student textbook), chapter-by-chapter outlines, reproducible student workpages, supplemental information, and a long introduction explaining the teacher's philosophy of education.
Basic Skills has produced a packet designed as a less expensive alternative for making the Total Health course complete without necessitating the purchase of all the items. Three small booklets are included: a Testing Targets book for test-prep which includes study strategies; a study guide which includes short essay-length questions for each chapter in the textbook; and an answer key for the study guide.
The packet also includes ideas for grading and credit attribution for transcripts, with outlines offering either a test-based or non-test-based approach to the course. If you choose the non-test-based approach you won't need the Total Health Test Master book.
This series was designed for use in a classroom, though it is easily adapted to home school use. It’s up to the teacher/parent to decide how to approach delicate topics like sex education and drug and alcohol abuse. Pertinent information in the student books is handled tactfully and thoughtfully, the author refraining from dogmatic statements that could potentially alienate her audience.
The test/quiz books are reproducible and include answers to all questions. For the student workbook for middle school there is a separate teacher’s answer key which is simply a full-size reproduction of each student page with answers filled in; the student workbook is not reproducible. For high school students, answers to in-text questions and reproducible workpages are included in the teacher edition.
Boe writes from a biblical Christian perspective. Specific attention is paid to the integration of all forms of personal health—physical, hygienic, emotional, mental and spiritual. Kids are encouraged to develop not just good exercise and eating habits, but good study habits, character traits and communication skills.
This is the best stand-alone health program for middle and high school students we’ve seen. The information is clear and easy to read, the author doesn’t talk down to her audience, and the activities and suggestions for further study easily facilitate individual investigation. While the student texts aren’t flashy—just text with occasional black and white illustrations—the tone is engaging, and much more interesting than the average boring health textbook.