Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

On science

I was a French major. I ended up with a Humanities minor, which was an amalgamation of art history, philosophy, and literature (read: hooey). I got the minimum required 12 credits of science in geology (lots of field trips!), astronomy, and psychology (required for teaching certification anyway).
In high school, I loved biology. I understood it. Physics made sense to me and I could memorize the formulas pretty easily (force equals mass times acceleration, gravity is 9.8 meters per second squared). Chemistry was another story. I maintain my teacher was making it all up, as neither his lectures nor the text made any sense to me.
Liking biology was a carryover from seventh grade when we first really studied life science. I was such a geek that I asked for (and received!) a microscope for Christmas. Seriously. 100, 600, 800, and 1200 power. It came with some made-up slides with rabbit hair and a goldfish scale, but my favorite things were those I made myself. Letting some rain water sit outside, then putting a drop of it under the 'scope and watching the little paramecia swim around... It was so cool.
I have long recognized my academic shortcoming in the whole science arena and have made a deliberate effort to make up for it since before we decided to homeschool. Sure, from those 12 or 16 pages of newsprint I could get a host of sticker books, merchandised stories, media tie-in lift-the-flaps, but I didn't. I gravitated toward the Usborne's, First Reader Planets, kindergarten workbooks.
Then came the homeschooling decision and a new host of worries. I didn't want kids who could quote Shakespeare and Augustine but don't know Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species. I mean, it's great if they can list the popes of the last century and their important encyclicals, but if they have no idea the structure of an atom I'll have missed something.
I happened to be shopping at the local mecca of modern civilization (24-hour all-inclusive grocery store) and I found Parragon Publishing. Here were hardcover books, about 9x12 and an inch thick, with titles like: The World of Science, Earth & Space, Wild Wild World (animals), Mighty Machines, and My First Encyclopedia. That first one has seven chapters--the last of which is all experiments. Then we saw 150 Great Science Experiments discounted to $7 at the bookstore. That's one a week for three years. Including summers.
Plus our umbrella school has a brand spanking new science text series (okay, copyright 2005).
And my old microscope? My mom found it right where I asked her to look, under my bed. With a new pair of AA batteries, we were set. I'll bet Rachel is the only two-year-old I know to have seen microorganisms.
I said I had overcompensated.



At 9:06 PM, Blogger The Mom With Brownies (The story of us) said...

As I read your post I thought about "Ami." He is the Tattoo Artist on the TLC Television show "Miami Ink."

He has ADHD and is functionally illiterate. However he has a talent that allows him to make $1,000 per DAY!

We will never teach our children everything there is to know. Public and Private schools won't either. God gives them their potential. He guides their path and when the time comes, He allows them to shine.

As time has gone by in our homeschooling adventure I've stopped worrying about whether we miss the science boat or the language boat. I worry more about whether we miss the God boat. I hope that we can teach them to let Him lead their life. If that happens everything else will fall into place. :-)

At 9:15 AM, Blogger Diane said...

You know they've added a level to the hierarchy since we were in high school? It really threw me for a loop when I found out there were Domains above Kingdoms. I had to add another adjective to my mnemonic :)

At 12:55 PM, Blogger Heather said...

Okay, the Kingdoms I knew were Plant, Animal, and Protist. What are the Domains, .com and .org?


But seriously, Diane, thanks for the update. That's exactly why I post stuff--to get the updates and corrections! :)

At 7:28 PM, Blogger Diane said...

The domains are Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya, and then the four kingdoms (Plantae, Animalia, Fungi, Protista) are all part of Eukarya. Of course, Plantae is the most important one :) (although if you ask my students who are currently slogging their way through photosynthesis, I don't think they'd agree with me!)

At 9:41 PM, Blogger Heather said...

I thought bacteria fell into Protist. I'm glad I have a little while before we start that whole area of study.

With this, the declassification of Pluto, it makes me wonder what else I'm going to get to learn!


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