When I was growing up, science was not my strong suit to say the very least. I’m talking about high school science in particular, because my experience with science before that was mostly “clouds exist,” “praying mantises are cool,” and “don’t eat the mushrooms in the backyard.” It was the serious sciences in the higher grades that threw me for a complete loop. Homeschoolers don’t get time in a hands on laboratory setting, or at least the ones I knew. Except for that family with a meth lab in the basement. KIDDING. Kidding.
Without the real life interaction of a teacher and fellow students, high school science was a frustrating subject to me. My mother used a “video high school” Abeka Academy curriculum for my brother and I while we were in high school. These videos were filmed in a “real” high school environment at Pensacola Christian Academy in Florida. If you can call Pensacola Christian School a “real” school. If you’re curious about Abeka and Pensacola Christian School, please feel free to do your own research. I can’t talk about it very long before I end up on an angry rant, so I’ll spare you that today. Spoiler alert: ignorance and bigotry abound! The important part here is that I watched a 45 minute video per subject every day in high school, and I absolutely hated it. It was badly filmed, taught by monotone teachers who didn’t teach very well, and filled with very uncomfortable teens at an intensely conservative Christian school passing microphones around the classroom. To my knowledge the exact same series of videos (seemingly filmed in the early to mid 90s) are still sold to homeschoolers today. Hours and hours of these videos every day.
With the help of these riveting science lessons, I managed to retain two things about science: one from biology and one from chemistry. Behold my wealth of mind!
Biology! My parents ordered dissection kits through a catalog, and my father helped me cut these mail order dead animals up on the back porch. I honestly do not remember what they were. Was there a pig? Was there a rat? Have I blocked these experiences out? Who can say? All I know is that I didn’t retain a single fact as pertaining to animal dissection. What I do know about biology is that platelets are the tiny things that clot blood and stitch you back together when you get a cut. I’m not sure why this stuck out to me, but it did, and we recently discovered an anime called “Cells At Work” that depicts platelets as adorable children.
Chemistry! After memorizing half of the periodic table and realizing how useless memorizing half the periodic table was, I spent the rest of chemistry building alien creatures out of the molecular model kit pieces. The only thing I actually remember from chemistry are colloids. Colloids are when particles are suspended in a second substance. This knowledge has had absolutely no practical application in my life so far. Someday if I’m ever a contestant on Jeopardy, and colloids are the answer to a question, you will know that the planets themselves aligned just for that moment.
Who knows why we remember what we do, but if you ever need to know what platelets or colloids are, I’m your gal. And if you forget, I’m your gal again! I like for my friends to know what I bring to the table.