For science this homeschool year, we are using Apologia’s Young Explorer Series.  This semester, we are studying the Anatomy book.  I have to tell you, I LOVE this book!  I LOVE the way it relates everything (so far) to God and Biblical creation.  I LOVE the way it goes right along with everything we are trying to teach our children about how the world and humans came to be.  I also love the way it brings everything we learn to life.  There are a number of hands-on, simple experiments in each lesson, and a big project at the end.  We are only on lesson 1 so far (a single lesson is designed to last 1-2 weeks, depending on how you break it up).  I did notice that, because it is written to be used with grades K-6, my younger children tire quickly of the lengthy reading passages.  I have found if I skip around a bit, discuss the important topics on their level, and then move into the experiment, they seem to retain it much better!  I figure we can always study it again in 3-4 years, and go word-for-word.  Flexibility is one of the keys to homeschooling, right?!

Anyway, Lesson 1 ended with an in-depth discussion of cellular structure.  First, we got to break open an egg to look at one of the largest “cells” known.  Then, we had to build a cell out of jello and candy.

Each child got a bowl of jello mixture and a selection of candies, each intended to represent a different cellular function.

As we discussed each part of the cell, the kids took that particular candy and carefully inserted into their bowl of jello.

The jello, of course represented the cell membrane and the jelly-like cytoplasm.  Red Mike & Ike’s represented the mighty mitochondria “power plants.”  Green and Orange Mike & Ike’s represented the lysosome “policemen.”  Then we had one color Nerds serving as the Golgi Body “grocers” and another color nerds serving as ribsomes. 

We used Twizzler Pull and Peels as the endoplasmic reticulum “delivery boys” and cake sprinkles as centriole “mothers of the city” (they assist the cell in dividing/reproducing). Finally, we had Riesen chocolate carmels that served as the nucleus (the chocolate was the nuclear membrane, while the carmel was the interior RNA and DNA).  At last, their cells were complete!

The only rule I had was that they had to wait until Daddy got home and explain their cells to him BEFORE they were allowed to eat them.  Of course, by the time S got home from work, they had pretty much forgotten all the scientific names.  Then, since they aren’t used to lots of sugar and artificial flavors, they were only able to eat a few bites each before throwing the rest out (I assure you, I didn’t mind that one bit, as I can only imagine the dental bills it will save me later!)

This afternoon, however, while I was doing some chores, I overheard the kids playing.  Each child had aquired a box large enough for 1 child to sit in, and they were pretending to be “Golgi Body” and “Lysocomes” scattered around the basement, transporting needed supplies to the body.  I guess they learned something, anyway!  

I love when homeschooling is fun, and I get to see that shine in my childrens’ eyes as they ENJOY what they are learning, and even get excited about it.  It’s one of the biggest keys to keeping this homeschool mom going on those tougher days, because I can always remember that joy.  I am so thankful God led us down this path!