Friday, September 21, 2012

The Human Body (by the books)

My goal for the summer was to fulfill our health requirements for the school year.  For our first few homeschooling years, I'd panic at year-end when it was time to record what we'd done for health (a state-required subject).  Usually, I would remember reading a biography of Helen Keller and learning about being blind and deaf...or I'd jot down a few notes about learning hygiene. 

Now I'm more proactive about it.  We choose a topic to complete in the summer and then we put the whole health thing behind us until the next year.  Last year, we learned basic first aid.  This year, I chose the human body.  We all became so fascinated that we read enough to count for health and a good chunk of science, too! 

Our Book List For Studying

The Human Body


The Way We Work
 (Chapters 2-3) by David Macauley 

We began with this book.  From the beginning, I intended to skip Chapter 1 which had very technical information on cells that I knew would be way, way over my kids' heads.  I also planned to skip the last chapter which had technical information about reproduction.  It was tastefully done, but not appropriate in mixed company. 

As it turned out, there was so much detail in the book that it lost my youngest listeners and even had the older ones struggling to keep up.  It's probably more suitable for readers ages 12 and up. 


Under Your Skin: Your Amazing Body
by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

After enduring the first book, I let Owen choose our next book and he chose this one.  A quick, fun, visual read, this book had numerous flaps, illustrating the body on the surface and what lies beneath.  From the nasal passages to the skeleton, the kids loved it all. 

Our Bodies (A Child's First Library of Learning) by Time-Life Books

Don't be fooled by the cover.  It may look dull and textbook-y, but the inside is filled with the answers to fun questions kids ask like, "Why are we ticklish?" and "What are hiccups?"


Yikes Your Body Up Close by Mike Janulewicz

This was another fun selection.  Maddie thought it was a little gross, but the boys were thrilled at the super-magnified photos of hair and skin and blood.  

100 Things You Should Know About the Human Body by Steve Parker

This book was meaty, but still on an elementary level.  Divided into sections based on topic, we learned about teeth, medicine, the make-up of blood, muscles, and each of the five senses.  This book included 4-5 easy experiments.  One had us testing the difference in sensitivity between our palms and our calves.  Another had us watching our pupils in changing light. 


Charlie Brown's 'Cyclopedia: Super Questions and Answers and Amazing Facts, Vol. 1: Featuring Your Body

I had this book growing up, but sometime through the years, we lost track of it.  My friend, Mary, talked of having a copy for her son and I asked if we could borrow it.  Then, to my extreme surprise, I found the entire series (minus Volume 12) on the shelf at the Goodwill for less than $5!

By the time we got to this book, we had already learned so much that some of the information was a repeat, we still enjoyed the question and answer format.  My boys couldn't wait to get to "Why do we burp?" but there were also more serious questions like "What is a fever?" and "Why will I only get the chicken pox one time?" 


I have been pleased with how much my kids learned about the human body with so little effort.  When I say, "What's a bruise?"  they can say, "It's blood under the skin that lost its oxygen."

Or if I say, "What makes your stop bleeding?" they say, "Well, I know that plasma makes you get a scab."

Or if I say, "Why doesn't it hurt when you get a haircut?" they say, "Because we don't have nerves in our hair."

They may not be able to name every bone in the body, but the practical knowledge they now have is priceless.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great ideas. I recently saw The Way We Work at Ollie's, but passed it up because it looked like something we couldn't use for quiet some time. We'll have to check out some of your other suggestions.


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