Up until recently, there was no comprehensive health textbook written specifically for Christian day schools and home schoolers. Now we have two texts, Talking About Life’s Changes for middle school and Choices for a Winning Lifestyle for high school. Both books are definitely written from a Christian perspective. Spiritual principles emphasizing our relationship with God play a major role throughout both books. In addition, both books are similarly divided into four large units on physical, mental, social, and spiritual health.
The Parent Connection is a book for parents only! It correlates with topics covered in both texts, supplying background information, discussion topics, problems to watch for (e.g., depression, eating disorders), and suggestions for dealing with touchy topics like contraception and masturbation. Note that the topic of contraception is not addressed at all in the student books. The Parent Connection touches on different forms of contraception, how they work, and their relative effectiveness, but the issue of the morality of contraception, even within marriage, is not raised.
The Choices text is 464 pages. Although there is a teacher’s edition, you shouldn’t need it. (The Teacher’s Edition features chapter outlines, suggested course plans, vocabulary exercises, worksheets, transparency masters, activity suggestions, and discussion questions.) The Test and Quiz Master Book for Choices includes fairly brief teaching instructions plus quizzes, tests, and answer keys.
Choices covers all of the topics addressed in other health texts, although the amount of time devoted to many of the topics is very different. For example, human reproduction is covered very briefly without full details or illustrations. Instead of spending pages and pages describing various types of drugs, it discusses drugs and drug abuse in a more general fashion in about eight pages. For many home educators, this approach makes far more sense since we spend more time on positive health and nutrition issues and less time on the negative issues that seem to require so much attention in public schools.
Also, while other texts address physical, mental, and social health, Choices adds a section on spiritual health. Social health deals with personal care, first aid, attitudes, responsibility, and relationships, including dating. Although very conservative in approach (encouragement to group date and avoid sexual activity of all kinds), the author treats dating as acceptable.
Treatment of topics such as health, fitness, and nutrition is generally mainstream--no discussion of homeopathy, herbology, alternative medicine, etc. While this course might not be as radical in some of its positions as some home educators are, it does seem to be the most comprehensive, conservative alternative designed with home educators in mind.
The layout makes it very easy to use. Chapter reviews focus on both comprehension and application, providing natural opportunities to expand on topics of special interest.
Talking About is very similar in many ways to Choices, although, at 336 pages, it is less comprehensive. There is also a greater emphasis on the changes young teens undergo than in Choices.
You don’t need to use both texts, and I think Choices would be the better one to use if using only one. If you want to use Talking About, the middle school level, there is a 700+ page Teacher’s Edition, student book, a Test and Quiz Master Book that includes its own answer keys plus keys to chapter reviews, and a companion workbook and answer key.