“The veins were blue, not red. It was too gross to touch.” The Butterfly (age 9) made a face as we walked to the car after her Young Scientist Class.
“Did you still learn a lot?”
“Oh, yeah,” she said with more enthusiasm than I expected.
I am so glad I don’t have to be present for this class. When I signed her up (at the last possible moment), I had no idea what they meant by hands-on learning. It could mean anything really. It could mean cutting-and-pasting pictures of an animal’s body parts on a sheet of construction paper, labeling it and calling it a day.
Not in this class. This is gloves-on.
Last week, she came bouncing out of class, unable to contain her excitement. They dissected a cow’s eye and she was thrilled that she got to hold and examine the lens up close. This week, they dissected a sheep’s brain. She watched, but couldn’t bring herself to touch it.
“I understand completely,” I told her. I was the girl who stayed home when my biology class dissected frogs. I stood far back when the class dissected an earthworm. I don’t even like to touch dead animal flesh to cook a meal. It’s all too gross for me, which is why I never became a neurosurgeon.
Okay, that’s not the only reason I didn’t become a neurosurgeon, but let’s not get into that now.
My little woman wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up. She has known this for as long as I can remember. The closer she gets to following this dream, the happier she becomes.
If I tell her that she has to work hard on her math skills so she can excel on the SAT’s so she can get into a college that has pre-vet program…that doesn’t feel like following her dream. At 9, that doesn’t really mean much of anything.
Learning how a cow’s eye works in a way that she will never forget? That’s exciting.
Truthfully, it isn’t always easy to find just the right class or teacher to help a child explore their interests. It’s not easy to find a group of kids that are jumping out of their skin with excitement over the same topic.
Sometimes, when following a dream (or homeschooling!), we get lucky and find that perfect match that helps us move forward. It’s a beautiful thing.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
- Eleanor Roosevelt