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J Sch Health. 2003 Oct;73(8):300-4.

A preliminary survey of health education in Indiana home schools.

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  • 1School of Physical Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306, USA.


The total US school enrollment of 52.7 million students in 1998 excluded an estimated 1.2 million students educated in their homes. In 1989, some 1,148 home school families enrolled with the Indiana Department of Education. Just over a decade later, some 18,260 home school families had registered, and this number continues to increase. Despite knowledge about the growing numbers of families choosing to home school, limited empirical data exists of how health education is presented in home schools or the needs of home school educators who teach health education. This preliminary study examined health education content areas taught by home school educators in Indiana. An instrument was developed, piloted, and administered to a random sample of 600 home school educators. Results indicated most home school educators taught a variety of health education topics. Three topics--first aid, physical activity and fitness, and nutrition and diet--were taught most frequently in the health curriculum of home schools. Violence prevention, suicide prevention, and consumer health were covered less frequently in the health curriculum. Health was typically taught in a nonstructured, teachable moment format. Implications for coordinated school health programs and suggestions for further research are discussed.

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