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Comparing Middle and High School Health Classes

Moms often want to know the different levels of detail and content between the Middle and High School Course.

The short answer is: the High School Course delves into topics that probably wouldn't apply to Middle School Girls.

For instance, both levels cover what hormones change during the menstrual cycle, how these can affect mood, energy, and appetite, how to prevent and manage cramps, and some common causes of cycle variations. The High School discussion of cycles also touches on Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Endometriosis, and herbs and vitamins to help painful or irregular cycles. Most girls in middle school are just getting their cycle, and it's often irregular in that first year. But by High School they have a sense of what the patterns are and whether the standard advice to be active and eat well is sufficient for a comfortable cycle - for them.

In the class on Mindset, the Middle School class discusses how to salvage a "bad" day and reset their mood, how sometimes thoughts repeat in our head without our awareness, and why gratitude is so important for our brains. We continue to discuss empathy, forgiveness, how to look at a situation differently, and how to use productive and positive words in our thinking and speaking.

The High School Class on Mindset covers more tactics for changing thought processes and analyzing feelings like anxiety, worry, anger, and sadness. It addresses the awkwardness we can feel when accepting gifts, help, and compliments. In addition, it describes the tendency for some people towards impulsive and addictive behavior, and how this can be managed when it strays beyond creativity and spontaneity and interferes with life. These are questions that older high school students have asked in previous classes, and topics worth considering before they graduate and take the next steps in their lives. In many cases, girls have a family member whose life has been impacted by anxiety, depression, or impulsive behaviors, and they are making sense of the effects.

It sometimes happens that a girl in Middle School has a question or comment about the material that could lead into a more serious discussion. For example, middle schoolers may describe feeling anxious and overwhelmed, so we discuss how to manage those feelings and reach out to people who can help. But more often the discussion stays lighter and more general.

Part of the purpose of live discussions with each section is to see what order of topics comes up naturally, and to respond as needed to the girls' questions. Each section tends to develop rapport over the course of 8 or 10 weeks. I refer to previous discussions to emphasize what we've learned together, and use examples from the sports, hobbies, and stories that the girls have shared which have become the common knowledge of the group. I was fortunate to be taught this way, and taught online sections in various subjects, and it's natural and fun to foster the group spirit. Also, I hope this is a model for productive discussions about health with their friends, because we learn habits from each other, including the habits of respectful listening, staying with the thread of a conversation, and kindly offering our suggestions.

Here are a couple of chapters from each Health Handbook so you can compare the length and details. Feel free to reach out to or use the contact form if you'd like more information.

Middle School Chapter 2 - Community

MS Chapter 2 - Your Community
Download PDF • 45KB

High School Chapter 2 - Community

HS Chapter 2 Your Community
Download RTF • 30KB

Middle School Chapter 7 - Cycles

MS Class 7 - Cycles
Download RTF • 6KB

High School Chapter 7 - Cycles

High School Class 7 - Cycles
Download RTF • 14KB

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