Teaching How to Treat Life (When It’s Not Human)

22 06 2009

You think PETA was pissed about the White House fly-killer? — what about South Florida’s cat-killing kid, and what does it all mean for “education?”

Posted on Mon, Jun. 22, 2009
Should schools cut animal dissections?

. . .Some classrooms are carving up dead fetal pigs, sharks, rats and cats.

Advocates say there is no substitute for learning about anatomy than hands-on experience, and many states, including Florida, allow students to opt out if they are uncomfortable with animal dissection.

Nevertheless, critics, including educators and animal rights activists, say dissecting animals — which goes back to the 1400s — is archaic. They say more humane, cost-effective and high-tech alternatives are just as educational.

The debate has been rekindled with the June 13 arrest of a former Miami Palmetto High student accused of slaughtering 19 cats across South Miami-Dade. Tyler Weinman, 18, who faces multiple counts of animal cruelty, dissected cats last year as part of his anatomy class.

While there is no evidence that dissecting cats — or any animal — will lead a student to violence, the crime has raised questions about the necessity of asking students to pick apart specimens that resemble many of their family pets.

Does anyone reading do dissection as part of a home education study? Would you opt your student/s in or out of it at school?

“The Unschooling Guinea Pig” Part One

22 06 2009

. . .and how she Magically Turned Into More Than We Ever Could Have Conjured Up From Curriculum.

Poking around in our family papers and pictures this morning, I came across the handwritten “home education” journal I first kept as a recovering public school official turned late-in-life SAHM.

It’s as if someone else wrote it! I don’t recognize my own thoughts or most of the events, just the handwriting and the historical characters. 🙂

I guess I was thinking that since I so boldly refused to “do curriculum” that this was radical unschooling. Yet now it’s so schoolish that I wince, and with the hindsight of almost 15 years, it’s both funny and a little sad to see what came of various efforts to stealth-school her.

(Let me save you the 15 years — that doesn’t work!) 😀

So here it is FWIW. I hope some laughs at our expense will help someone out there, especially if you recognize your current self in these notes!


Summer 1996 – FavD is six years old

FavD entered a contest sponsored by the Tallahassee Democrat. She submitted her handwritten original story/poem of the celebration she shared with Grandpere, a few weeks before he died. We had color snapshots of that day to include, but she also drew a portrait of Grandpere with her gingerbread house as the bottom border, using Prismacolor pencils and her sketch pad from summer art camp at LeMoyne Gallery.

The contest was open to ages 6-11. The newspaper returned her entry with an encouraging letter and a gift certificate for a free kids’ meal at ChikFilA. She was pleased and decided to sponsor her own contest and solicit entries from the family, so she could be the judge.

– Usual morning activity – addition and numbers practice (writing numerals on lined paper)

– Usual morning activity – swimming approx 45-60 minutes with beginning diving, from pool deck at deep end; freestyle stroke (crawl) is strong now; good underwater


– After reading some of the American Girl series, FavD was excited that “Molly” was the same age during WWII as her grandmother DiDi was at that time. She interviewed DiDi who was visiting from NH for a week, and wrote a (phonetic) report of what she learned – see portfolio.

– FavD’s contest entry was published in the Tallahassee Homeschool Group, see portfolio

– Lots of train track building this month, her choice; when time weighs on her, she Read the rest of this entry »