Thursday, July 7, 2011

Coral Reefs and Sex

I seem to see two themes in each post lately. This time: coral reefs and sex! Ahem...

One of our favorite families hosted a wonderful class this week on coral reefs - courtesy of an interesting and creative learning kit from the Academy of Science. The kids enjoyed two days of learning about all kinds of things I never knew, but they somehow seemed to have acquired knowledge about - how does that happen, anyway?

Their agenda included building a edible coral polyp, naming who lives on a coral reef (30% of all species of fish in the ocean), examining coral specimens (they seemed to like the brain coral best), defining an symbiotic relationship, and understanding what plant the coral have such a relationship with (zooxanthelle). All so very cool.

One of the best things about it was the lovely setting - in a friend's home, with a gifted friend/teacher/mom who knows all of the kids so well and so beautifully shares her love of knowledge with them. We are so deeply appreciative of our network of friends who have become extended family, sharing so much together. This cozy picture of the group examining coral specimens together captures so much.

Within this environment, the curriculum raised some mom eyebrows with interest when we realized that it included sexual reproduction. Only the moms knew that this topic causes concern among some; the kids reacted to it with pure scientific interest. Kids within our little group have different levels of knowledge, but at five through eight seem to be too young to recognize the mixed-up emotions that this topic can lead to among older kids and even adults. In murmured side conversations we did get to share some stories of our own sexual educations (or in some cases, lack thereof) and I was reminded of the wisdom of my mom's own perspective, which was "the more you know, the less you need to experiment." Fewer questions means fewer distractions and a better ability to discern appropriate moral decision making. Or so we hope and pray!

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