I am a nurse.
And I don’t dissect.
I made it through advanced biology classes in high school and nursing school without participating in dissections. I will admit that I am squeamish about it and don’t plan to let homeschooling change that.
My girls, on the other hand, were so excited to dissect last year! My oldest daughter spent a year studying Life Science with my younger two tagging along for the hands-on parts. We ordered a dissection kit that included an earthworm, a starfish, a grasshopper, a clam, a fish, and a frog along with a tray and the tools needed for dissection. The kit also included detailed instructions for dissecting each specimen.
Since I didn’t plan to actually dissect with them, I found YouTube videos that the girls could watch prior to dissecting each specimen. We also watched some virtual dissections online. Our next step was to talk about dissecting tool safety. When we first started, only Anna was allowed to do any cutting, but by the time we got to the frog, Emma and Cora were comfortable and skillful with all of the tools. It was also very important to me that the girls showed respect for the animals that they were dissecting, and they really did a great job with that.
Anna’s science book included a list of things to look for in each specimen. Armed with that list and the dissection instructions, they were able to start small (with the cricket) and work all the way up to the frog. Most of the dissecting was done right at our kitchen table. They actually ended up dissecting the starfish on the back porch. That shows you can dissect anywhere! For the frog, we got together with two other homeschool families. We had all ages that day – from my seven-year-old up to a 17-year-old, along with the moms. I stayed back and took pictures.
I’m pretty sure they will always remember dissecting at home! And I think they’re ready for more as we plan to study biology in the fall.