There are many perks to being a home educated kid, like getting to start, stop, and start again in a subject as needed. Emily has not been following the traditional trek through High School science, as she started with Anatomy & Physiology, then went to Biology, took a break to study some Geology, then Chemistry, and is back working on Biology again.
This circuitous route through science has offered some great experiences, one of them being able to fit dissecting in when its convenient for the whole family. Last month Emily had a couple of dissecting sessions with her friend Adrienne. This means Emily didn't have to do all of the cutting of the gross, formaldehyde-filled frog by herself. It also meant Adrienne's parents didn't need to get her a frog. For me, it meant I could sit back and chat with my friend Linda (Adrienne's Mom) while the girls followed directions from their Biology books and cut up the frog, then a fish, and then looked at slides under the microscope.
Why be thankful for variety? Because our life is never the same two days in a row, and that is usually a good thing. Why be thankful for dissecting with friends? Because Emily didn't complain about doing it it since she had a friend to help. There was some commenting about the smell of the frog... but that was to be expected.
When we bought the dissecting supplies for Emily, we knew she would be using more than one animal, so we got the bigger set of specimens. In the end, Emily & Adrienne spent the first session working on the frog & then looking at slides. The second time we went over for dissecting (thanks again to Linda for offering to let the girls cut up stinky animals at her house,) the girls were supposed to cut open the fish and then compare the systems in the fish to the systems in the frog.
How much did they actually learn? I'm not sure, but they did try, and now they have stories to remember it by. On the second day, after the girls were done, they decided to go bury the frog & fish in the back yard. Being the always creative types, the girls had plans for a lengthy, but humorous, grave-side service, but the cold and the wind changed their minds. The girls were joined by the younger sisters (Arlene and Anna) in their trek to the backyard. I'm not too sure how good of a job they did on the burial, because Linda and I stayed inside sipping tea. Sometimes it's good to be the Mom!
Once they all came back inside, the younger sisters decided (with some prodding) to dissect some of the other specimens. Arlene and her friend Anna first dissected the clam. Then they decided the shell was more appealing than the mussel, so they cleaned the shell in vinegar and each kept a half. Then they attempted to dissect the starfish. Poor thing, more like they hacked it to pieces...I think it had been sitting preserved for too long while waiting for someone to get around to it.
When the younger girls were finished, all 4 of them again trekked to the backyard to dispose of the critters. If they didn't do a good enough job on the burial, I'll need to apologize to Linda's husband for the things he runs over with the mower come Spring. Remains disposed of, dissecting equipment cleaned & put away...the girls got out the cards and started playing euchre until it was time for lunch.
So what am I most thankful for this week? Friends! While it was important for Emily to get experience dissecting, it was more important to me that she get to spend time with a friend. It was good for Arlene to get to spend time with her friend too. The older girls have diagrams of frogs and pictures they drew of the slides for their biology notebooks, but more importantly, they have memories of doing something together. The younger girls had time just to be kids, to be silly, to talk, and to laugh at the smell of the preserved animals. I had time to talk with my friend Linda, and a reminder that homeschooling, like parenting, is long on days, and short on years.
May you be blessed with a friend that loves you enough to help you dissect a frog or a clam... or to let you bury evidence in her backyard! Have a wonderful week!