Friday, Fleas and Body Worlds
January 30, 2016 by Amy Welborn
- Prayer: Catching up on 2 Samuel. Bathsheba story is sort of awkward, but ah, well. It’s the truth, so go on through. We read tomorrow’s as well, which finished this narrative with Nathan’s parable and David’s response. Read the Gospel, prayed intentions and Lord’s Prayer. Had him, after, recite the names of the books of the OT through 2 Kings. To learn them in bits like this makes the task not difficult at all.
- (I’m an advocate of having kids memorize the names of the books of the Bible. I had to do it in Catholic high school, and I had my students do it. They just need to know that when someone says “Isaiah” they think “Old Testament” or “Philemon” they think New. Did I ever tell you about the time I was teaching 9th grade theology to kids who’d been through 8 years of Catholic grammar school, and I was dramatically retelling the story of Cain and Abel and the class gasped when I said, “And then…Cain killed Abel.” I don’t think it was because of my dramatic skilz, either. In fact, I know it wasn’t, because I was stopped short and asked them, “Wait..did you guy really not know how this was going to end?” Nope, they didn’t. But they knew God loved ’em and that Jesus was nice. Had that down cold. Winning!
- Friday, as you might remember, is the day he illustrates copywork instead of writing it. Today, he asked if he could finish another drawing – the instructor of his homeschool history of science class had taught them about Robert Hooke week
before last, and this week, as a continuation, given them a copy of his flea drawing from Micrographia, and then a copy with only the front half copied – their task over the week being to sketch the back end themselves. So, sure!
- By the way, this collection of e-books at Adelaide Unversity is quite interesting and beautifully presented. If you click on a book and go to the first page of said book and scroll to the bottom, you can see links on how to download and do so for the Kindle or Kindle app as well. Today’s great discovery!
- A tiny bit of math – reviewing multiplying fractions and then finishing up Beast Academy on integers. Those were tough ones, as per usual. Next week: expressions and equations.
- I realized that although we had been all about the worms for the past week and ah a half, we hadn’t actually been very intentional about invertebrates. So I printed out a couple of handouts – this one was a good, basic chart – and then we read through the intro to invertebrates in the fantastic Animal book. He’s pretty familiar with most of the information, but I tried to be more systematic – he has to have the six invertebrate phyla memorized by Monday, correctly spelled, with an example for each. Spent some time looking through the book, talking about sponges and coral and such.
- Looked over the worm jar and saw how much they’ve mixed the soil – quite a bit in just a few days. We’ll set them free tomorrow.
- Constitution time: read the chapter “What is a Constitution?” in The History of US, then the matching section in From Sea to Shining Sea. Went over the basics several times, just in conversation. He did one of the workbook pages for the text. And yes, we watched the Schoolhouse Rock Preamble segment – which didn’t impress him, sorry kids of the 70’s.
- Finally, some writing – the Writing and Rhetoric exercise asked him to rewrite the G. Washington/cherry tree thing in the first person from his father’s perspective. This child appreciates a strong narrative voice more than anything else in the novels he reads, so first person composition is right up his alley. Mr. Washington was not pleased.
- Then what on a Friday afternoon? I had a couple of ideas, but I asked him. “How about we go see the new dinosaur at McWane?” (news story here). So, sure! We’re members so there’s no admission.
- Note: Always go to the science museum in the afternoon after the field trips have left or are on their way out. We drove up at 1:30, saw scads of buses outside, but knew, given the time, that they were probably loading up for departure.
- Well. We arrived at the museum and I noted, to my dismay, that the Body Worlds Rx special exhibit had, indeed begun. I knew it was coming, but in my head I had it opening early next week. Nope.
- He saw the signs and asked what it was. I said (brilliantly) that it was a special exhibit about the human body. Interestingly, the museum has a FAQ handout at the ticket counter, clearly anticipating questions, although I have to say, there’s been not a peep about this. Remember when these exhibits were controversial?
- So we went and saw the dinosaur bones and a few other things (we know the place by heart by now..it doesn’t draw us the way it did when they were younger) and he said something about the Body Worlds…and I took a breath.
- I said…well, I’ll let you decide if you want to go, but to tell you the truth, I don’t like this exhibit, and I think it’s unethical and I’d rather not. He asked why, and I told him the history and the questions raised about the sources of the bodies early on. The FAQ for this exhibit says that the bodies and parts are all donated by consenting individuals, I told him, but that doesn’t quell my unease, for “consent” doesn’t equal “right.” Anyone can consent to something that’s wrong. I said that an exhibit like this objectifies the human person and deprives the dead of their dignity. But if you really want to…
- He shook his head. Firmly, I might add. No, he didn’t want to. “I’m more interested in zoology anyway,” he said as we went downstairs to the aquarium.
- I was relieved. I had wondered, this time around, if I was overreacting. I got home and read the Family Guide and decided I wasn’t.
- As we drove home, I was thinking: What if the children’s science museum announced, that for science, they were putting eleven human cadavers on display – you know, just laying them out, maybe some opened in the abdomen, others with the top of the skull removed, others with the heart and lungs exposed. They’d be under glass and preserved in whatever way cadavers are, but there they’d be, just lying there the way, say, medical students would encounter them. We’d probably be horrified and think it was weird and hardly any of us would take our kids to see that type of display.
- But this plastination process distances us from the reality of the person, even as it reveals their bodies more intimately. I think that’s a metaphor for something, or maybe I’ve just read too much Walker Percy.
- Timeframe without museum: 10-12:30. With, 10-2:30. With library 10-3.