Intimate Field Trip

intimate: adj

1: a intrinsic, essential
b : belonging to or characterizing one’s deepest nature
2: marked by very close association, contact, or familiarity
Today we had a field trip that was both intimately small and about our deepest nature.
We are studying human anatomy right now.  Sandra was 5 the last time I did this topic.  That’s a long time ago.  Looong ago.  What happened was that I went a little too matter-of-fact in an attempt to keep her from thinking the topic was icky.  Instead I overdid the realism and now she thinks the topic is icky.  Every time I discuss learning anatomy at a level beyond that of Kindergarten she backs away in horror.
But we need to cover this topic.  So I decided to start with the least icky part possible: the skeleton.  No ooze.  No wobble.  No hints of the dissection table.  Just Lego-like parts.  We’ve been covering the internal structure of bones themselves as well as learning their names.  Not too heavily.  We’ve focused on short and frequent lessons.  A few minutes every day adds up and we now know quite a few names in a way that we should be able to hold onto.  We’re even collecting facts for a board game we hope to design.
While I’m always tempted to invite all the homeschoolers for 100 km to a field trip (as I manage the local support group and feel obliged to make it the Funnest Ever), I kept it to just us.  I called up a small x-ray lab.  (Field Trip Tip: The smaller the facility, the less likely you are to deal with overwhelmed cogs-in-the-machine that have no time or authority to invite you for a field trip.)  I was hoping for 10-15 minutes with a little explanation of how the machine works, maybe a peek at an x-ray or two if it wouldn’t violate privacy, and a connection between the subject matter and someone employed in the field.  What I found was a man delighted to talk to us, interested in our questions, and excited to show us some of the awesome ‘I get to look at the insides of people!’ aspects of his job.  We spent 90 minutes there, taking a few breaks as people needed x-rays.
We saw breaks, screws holding bone together, sinuses, the air bubble in someone’s stomach, the growth plates on a toddler’s fingers, and a whole series of normal bones.  It’s one thing to see it in a book and another to peek inside someone’s body.  It cemented so many things for me.  Oh, and I assume for the kids, too.*
Mike is getting a thank you card.  And some cookies.  Or a pie.  Or all three.  He made my day and my skeleton unit.
*What, you think I’m not homeschooling to fill in my own gaps?!

5 thoughts on “Intimate Field Trip

  1. Christine Guest says:

    Funny coincidence, we just today had a friend from church drop by with his mobil x-ray machine, so our son’s Jr F.L.L. club could make a model of it. Our conversation was a bit peppered with – don’t pet the stray cat, don’t run into the road, how do you fit all that in your van, wow, it has a digital screen?

    He takes his equipment to prisons and nursing homes, where it’s hard to get the folks to a hospital.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I love when we come across these helpful friendly people! Yes–he deserves a card!! My two kids have unfortunately had pneumonia this winter–and have had their own x-rays and ultrasounds–and all the staff have been wonderful about showing them the equipment and explaining their own results to them. They both loved seeing their own hearts during the ultrasounds!! (Luckily enough we had covered the anatomy for their age level and they were aware of were/what their lungs were, etc…)

  3. Jen says:

    I have the coolest set of MRIs from my own boy’s last trip to the neurosurgeon.

    I was lucky to be taught Anatomy and Physiology by a person absolutely passionate about the subject. I had my hands in all sorts of guts from a few different mammals. It is incredible what you can learn when the person who is teaching you loves the subject and wants everyone to share his or her enthusiasm.

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