There is irony in the fact that the summer my family opted to review the WAY Comes Home Kit by HomeSchool Scholastics, an i4 Learning Company is the same summer we ended up being plagued with health issue after health issue. I can assure you, though, that our less-than-well state has been no fault of the learning and review offered in our WAY Comes Home Kit.
In fact, just the other day, as my children and I re-watched video clips from the DVD provided in our WAY Comes Home Kit, we could have dummy slapped ourselves for not being more attentive to the health and wellness tip in the video about not sharing combs.
Trust me on this, folks, unless you want the tedium of making stroke-after-stroke with a nit comb through each of your children's hair, do not continue to share combs ... or beds. While doing so may be habitual and seemingly easy for a family to do, it can result in the spread of - gross alert - little critters! For, yes, I do not know where the bugs that I've been combing out of my children and my heads this week came from, but I have no doubt that they passed from one of us to another through comb and bed sharing. Yuck!
Luckily, we have listened to time-proven advice about hand washing, that is reiterated in WAY program materials better than we have that about not sharing combs. Thus, we were able to avoid having all five members of our household pass the terrible high-fever virus that some of us came down with earlier in the season and, using hand-washing in combination with other preventative measures, are currently being proactive about not sharing the sore throat and cough that one of my children seemed to have developed overnight. Even though, we are quarantined together so as not to pass any sneaky lice to onto others, we are being quite careful and fully intend to get our one throat-sickie healthy instead of ending up with the rest of us joining him as sickies (Wish us luck!)
With healthy habits, nutrition and exercise, I think we can succeed. Indeed, I am convinced that by placing more focus on keeping our "Inner WAY", "Interactive WAY", "Physical WAY", and Nutrition WAY" healthy this summer, we have managed to get through unplanned setbacks with more grace than we have when faced with similar things in the past.
Case in point: This summer, my son contracted Lyme's disease and I faced a second bout of it. Years ago, when I was on meds for Lyme's, most of my days were filled with nausea and complaint. This time around, only a few days have been "bad" days and life has continued on mostly "as normal". Having better attitudes, activities, and nutrition already underway helped my son and I cope with meds and recovery better. (And, for the record, yes, we do frequent tick checks in our home, but, oddly, the people who we removed ticks from are not the ones that got Lyme. One son and my daughter have had ticks caught and removed. However, my son and I, who had no visible ticks found during tick checks, ended up as the unlucky ones with bullseye rashes and other symptoms.)
But, enough about what has ironically ailed my family this summer. Now, onto sharing more about how we have been and can continue to enjoy learning about health and wellness with our WAY Comes Home Kit.
A Plethora of Resources
The WAY Comes Home Kit was field-tested by homeschoolers and designed with families in mind. It is well-organized with portions aimed specifically at K-1, 2-3, and 3-4 grade level students. That means families with multiple elementary school-aged children's can study health and wellness together.
Lessons are divided into five modules:
- Getting Started establishes to value of learning about health and wellness and introduces the idea of journaling.
- Where Do You Begin helps student document where they are as they start the program, doing self-analysis and enjoying age-based tools and activities.
- Let's Get Active motivates children and their families to get moving.
- The Nutrition WAY stressed the importance of eating fruits and vegetables and introduced MyPlate Guidelines. (This is the only part of the program I do not relish, since I am not a fan of MyPlate, preferring to move my family toward a more nutritarian way of living. However, I found that there was enough cross-over between the ideas and activities in this section and in what I teach my children is healthy eating for this portion of each module to still be helpful to us.)
- Health-It's Personal focuses on everyday hygiene and health practices and ways to evaluate health behaviors.
Each module offers a wide variety of written and hand-on activities for each themed age level of the program. The themed age-levels are Health Safari for children in grade K-1, WAY Me Mysteries for children in grades 2-3, ad WAY Innerspace Adventure for children in grades 4-5. There is enough within these plans to do something every day, including weekends, for five weeks, to abbreviate lessons, or to stretch the program out to use over the course of a few months.
As the Parent Guide for the program stated, "You're in charge!" Lessons are prepared and field-tested so that the sections in each lesson deliver a complete elementary health and wellness program for children, however "YOU will make all the final decisions as to whether or not to do a lesson, how to do it, and how much time to spend on it."
In making those decisions, you can rest assured that you won't have to chase down any special materials to enjoy lesson activities. The WAY includes all specialty items in the kit! Honestly. There is so much there.
The kit comes with:
- a 144-page softcover, full-color, color-coded Parent's Guide
that includes clear instructions for teaching all three levels of the
program and has wonderful supplementary suggestions, including a handy
(I do love booklists!)
- 3 consumable journals, one for each age-level
- a DVD with program segments for each grade level, including basic workouts
- a packet of WAY Vocabulary Cards and Illustrations already printed on cardstock and ready for cutting
- a plastic balance scale (Which is fun for math, sceince, and playtime, too.)
- 2 foam balls (We love tossing these around.)
- a bunch of plastic eggs (like Easter eggs)
- 3 plastic baskets (So handy!)
- a tape measure
- an ink pad
- a colorful poster
- counter chips
Truly, all you need once you open the box is a place to store the materials when not in use, some pencils and coloring utensils, some scissors and a few other common items.
Such a Complete WAY
As I already mentioned, lessons are presented at three different age levels and can be used with one level a a time, or with multiple levels together, but with different video clips and journals. Each lesson is written with a clear 10-part layout:
- Parent Prep offers a quick overview of what the lesson is about, giving background on the subject.
- Lesson at Glance offers a brief summary of what the lesson is about.
- Get Things Ready provides your "brain" for prepping for delivering an actual lesson - listing tools and supplies needed from the kit and your home, as well as optional recommended reading, etc.
- WAY Vocab Words are listed. Displaying these conten-correlated words can help children with reading, writing, and journal assignments.
- What To Do offers step-by-step instructions for each grade level as well as "Include Me Too" ideas for using activities with other age groups.
- Art Attack encourages the joy of artistic expression through connected art activities using markers, scissors, and such.
- Weekends with WAY provides fun extension ideas to get friends and family going in healthy WAYs, too.
- Pray/Reflect (a favorite bit of mine) provides Bible verses and inspirational quotations to add spiritual and moral value to lessons.
- WAY More Resources lists related websites, ideas, and investigations.
- WAY More Fun offers "odds and ends" to enjoy as you see fit, like the poem below, which I had never heard before, but loved!
Truly, there is a ton there for you to pick and choose from or just follow along with step-by step! If doing the latter, the WAY provides the extra bonus of being proven to increase academic performance in math, science, reading, and writing in addition to, of course, health and wellness studies. Love that!
The WAY Our Way So Far
As I described at the beginning of this review, our family has had health bump after health bump this summer between Lymes', fevers, an ear infection, a throat thing, and lice. We have also had both our laundry machine and dryer break down and our kitchen pipes explode, among other things. So, the way I intended to use the WAY and the way I actually did have have differed some.
I had hoped to use our WAY Comes Home Kit slowly in order as written, as a relaxed and fun cross-curricula summer study. Instead, I have been pulling bits and piece to use between bouts of sickness, disease, and mini-disaster.
On a healthy day, I introduced the kids to the first module and they made their journal covers.
Then, we proceeded on, only to take a break, and, then have a marathon viewing session one day when the kids were not feeling up to anything but watching lessons.
On other germ-free days, we used the hands-on supplies freely, did some of the exercises, and proceeded with other activities and journal pages.
Then, just the other day, we had another marathon (re)viewing session of the video.
So, for us so far the WAY has been a rather hodge podge experience, not because of the way the WAY is written, but because of the way life has been going. Some days we has no energy to move much. Other days we were too germ-ridden to touch things. Still, because the WAY Comes Home Kit offers so much, we were able to carry on doing something from the kit regularly and ended up dipping into portions from every level and module of the program (albeit not in order and not completely).
Approaching the WAY this way may not have been ideal, but it has proven one thing for certain: the program is flexible. The WAY can be done YOUR way (or in whatever way life allows). With leveled journals, the DVD, hands-on supplies, extension ideas, and more, there is plenty of room for customization. With well-organized and complete lessons plans, there is also a map for structured learning.
My family has been enjoying fun and learning in a flexible way this summer, and, I look forward to using the program again in a more structured way again later, filling in our experience with some of the hands-on activities and extensions we have yet to enjoy together.
GET A DISCOUNT and Learn More!
The complete WAY Comes Home Kit with all print materials normally is well worth checking out if you're looking for a fun, interactive way to present health lessons to your elementary-aged children. It sells for $49.95, but is on sale for $39.95, plus an additional discount of $15 when you apply the Coupon Code: GC0737011.
Forty Schoolhouse Review Crew families tailored the WAY Comes Home Kit to their own family needs. Read how by clicking through the banner below.
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Might using the WAY Comes Home Kit help you and yours focus on health and wellness with flexibility and fun?