Although different states require home-school parents to cover different subjects according to their specific home-school laws, in Washington State where I live, there are eleven required subjects. Most are pretty straightforward, such as English and math, but some subjects require a little more thought, such as occupational education. We are also required to teach Health at some point during K-12, but the law doesn’t specify which year, or how much health is necessary.
Both of these subjects seem to consistently stump people when they see them on the required list. So many people have asked me what occupational education even means! I read a thread about this topic recently on a home-school forum, and it was actually quite funny to see what some people thought occupational education meant.
Occupational education includes anything your student does that will help them to get a job later on. This could include job-shadowing, baby-sitting, dog-walking, yard work, teaching seniors to use computers, learning about careers through some career class, and just about anything that gives your student some kind of work skills.
Occupational education is actually by far the easiest class that you will ever teach. Here are the simple steps:
- Wait until the child becomes motivated by money
- The child will seek (or be forced to seek) a job
- Count hours on the job
- When you get to 150 hours, call it a credit
Retroactively write a course description, as necessary.
Unless your state requires it, you don’t have to teach Health every year of high school. Some states want Health to be a requirement for graduation, but colleges generally don’t care about it much. Some colleges want to see students who take health as a separate course, while others assume it is included in Physical Education (PE) classes. More often, colleges don’t mention it as a requirement at all.
In our home-school, we really liked two books by Susan Boe. Written for Christian Schools, these books assume that the student lives in a reasonably healthy environment. They cover physical, spiritual, and social health.
For Junior High or Middle School: Total Health: Talking About Life’s Changes by Susan Boe
For High School: Total Health: Choices for a Winning Lifestyle by Susan Boe
When our children were younger, we used “Passport to Purity” for a discussion about healthy dating from a Christian perspective.
Take advantage of the freedom that home-schooling provides to tailor your studies to your child and your family. You don’t have to follow anyone else’s curriculum, or teach your children things that are not consistent with your family’s values. Both health and occupational education are great opportunities to incorporate your child’s own interests and passions into their home-school course work; just make sure to capture that learning on their home-school transcripts and records!