Wednesday, August 31, 2016

WAY Comes Home Review

I am a firm believe in making learning fun. Kids learn best through play. They need activity and hands-on experiences. HomeSchool Scholastics, an i4 Learning Company must believe the same, because their WAY Comes Home Kit is all about learning about health and wellness in a fun, active way.

The WAY (Wellness, Academics, & You) was designed specifically for elementary homeschool. The resources provided help you teach your child all aspects of health through physical activity and fitness, nutrition and healthy eating, health communications, emotion heath, social skills, and critical thinking skills.

The kit comes with everything you need for an entire unit of study for 3 different age groups.

  • Parent's Guide --  This book contains everything you need to teach the material. It includes detailed lesson plans for each of the 3 levels, including step-by-step instructions, art projects, fun activities, additional resources, and more.
  • Student Journals -- Journaling is a main aspect of the curriculum. It encourages creativity, critical thinking, and language development. The journals have sections for recording personal information, writing reflections, and charting progress. There are blank pages for writing and drawing pictures, but there are also many pages with activities like coloring, marking choices, and more.
  • DVD -- The DVD has video clips that enhance the lessons and motivate the students. Each level has its own clips that match the themes. Each theme has an introductory video that allows the students to meet the characters and establish the personality of each program. There are also physical activity videos. Each "deskercise" segment allows is set up so you can be active and healthy while in your homeschool room, the living room, the kitchen, anywhere.
  • WAY Comes Home to MyPlate -- The food pyramid has been replaced with a practical, life application-based icon called MyPlate. This booklet breaks down the components of MyPlate and explains them in an easy-to-understand way. It takes the five food groups--fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, dairy--explains their nutrition, benefits, examples, and amounts. Charts are included so you can see how much of each group is an appropriate serving for all age levels. 
  • Vocab Cards & Illustrations -- Many flashcards are included. All pages are printed on card stock and provide dashed lines to show where to cut. The vocab cards feature various words to further your healthy journey, like fitness, nutrition, respect, endurance, consumtion, and more. Each word is printed in blank block letters so the student can color them as he chooses. There are also flashcards depicting good choice/poor choice, animals, transportation, and actions. The final illustrations are face masks that can be colored, cut, and attached to string to portray the characters from Health Safari level.
  • Equipment Tools -- Various supplies are needed throughout the lessons. Common household things like scissors and crayons are not included, but instead the kit contains items that are harder to find. It includes a stethoscope, stamp pad, 2 foam balls, 3 small baskets, fulcrum balance scale, glitter, vinyl tape measure, eye chart, plastic eggs, and clear counter chips. 

The curriculum is written for 3 ages levels, each with its own theme. Because it was written for homeschoolers, there are tips and activities to expand each lesson to involve children of various ages. Each theme also has its own colors to make it easy to find the sections throughout the book.
  • Health Safari -- This section is geared towards kids in kindergarten-1st grade. The theme follows Samantha and the Safari Land animals as they promote physical activity, healthful nutrition, and general wellness. The videos are animated. 
  • Me Mysteries -- This level is for 2nd-3rd grades. The detective theme encourages the students to explore everyday health issues through communication skills, physical activity, healthful nutrition, and critical thinking skills. The videos feature kids.
  • Innerspace Adventure -- This module is for the 4th-5th grades. The WAY TEAM helps them learn about personal health and wellness. Students will develop writing skills through journaling and focus on important health issues. These videos also feature kids.

My kiddos range in age from 10 years down to 4-years-old. Since we like to do as much schooling together as we can, I chose the Me Mysteries level to use because it's right in the middle range. This curriculum is jam-packed with information and tips. Each lesson is written in the same format: Parent Prep, Lesson at a Glance, Get Things Ready, WAY Vocab Words, What To Do, Art Attack, Weekends with WAY, Pray/Reflect, WAY More Resources, WAY More Fun.  

The kids and I have enjoyed learning about health through many fun activities. Adding clothespins to paper plates to show inner way and interactive way, exercising and charting our pulse rates, coloring a model of the human heart, balancing the calories we eat with the energy we use by placing marbles on a scale, being detectives and figuring out how germs are spread with the help of glitter are some of the ways we learned.I personally found the acting in the video segments cheesy and a little over-the-top, but the kids enjoyed them. I appreciate all the varying activities throughout the book. Even though we used just the one module for all the kids, we did implement some of the ideas of the other levels, like inspecting our thumbprints and noting cause and effect actions.

The kids' favorite part of the study was the physical activity videos. We had so much fun exercising and getting active! Even the toddler joined in on the fun and was dancing around trying to imitate both the kids on the screen and the kids in our house.

One "extra" that I think is pretty neat is the WAY More Fun sections. We liked reading through the facts and learning fascinating new things. Do you know why apples float, which direction Charles Dickens slept and why, eating which food will burn more calories than you consume, or which activity doubles the number of germs on your fingertips? You can learn all these and so many more with this book.

The WAY kit is great for teaching health and wellness for multiple ages. It's multi-sensory format appeals to every kind of learner and keep them engaged. There are many additional resources that will help you stretch out the learning activities and make this a full health curriculum for your family.

You can connect with WAY Comes Home on the following social media sites:

If you'd like to see more fun through the WAY Comes Home kit, please read the reviews on the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

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