Blood, Guts and Fellowship: A Homeschool Mom Science Retreat
We all do crazy things in life. Jump off cliffs, go sky diving, learn to fly. I wish I could say that I’ve done those things, but I did something more radical. I signed up for a retreat I knew little about.
Two days of the unknown awaited me as I drove toward my destination. The words “I can turn around and be home by nightfall” and “I have lost my mind” were my mantra.
One thought propelled me forward. Science.
A few weeks ago I came upon an intriguing e-mail. A Homeschool Mom Science Retreat. The facts. I homeschool. I am a Mom. I’m passionate about Science. I need a Retreat. Too many words in the the title screamed called to me, beckoning me. After reading what was included in the $25.00 price tag, my fingers moved like lightening to secure a spot.
Everything! For $25, you’ll get two nights accommodations, five or six meals, all the hands-on science you can handle, lab supplies, lots of stories, door prizes, lab manual, access to experienced science teachers, freebies to take home, t-shirt, great fellowship with other homeschooling moms.. and relaxation.
So, I found myself driving down a one land road to my destination.
Smiles-genuine, honest, pure greeted me when I registered. I started to breathe again. I wasn’t going home tonight.
I checked into my bunk cabin, selected the lower bunk and squealed in delight when I saw an electrical outlet. City gals like me tend to fear the loss of electricity. It’s the small things that matter. Soon my roommates arrived and my journey began.
Blessed is the only word I can use to describe my adventure over the weekend. The benefits of my experience outweighed my initial fears of blood and guts for it was the fellowship I experienced that pulled me through.
Fellowship with Homeschool Moms
Inspirational is the only word I can use to describe the Homeschool Moms I encountered. I wish I could have written down everything I was learning from these precious ladies. We all want the best for our children and it comes in many forms-different curriculum, activities, daily structures. I sat late into the night absorbing their stories, sharing in their successes and feeling their struggles. At the end of the retreat emails, pictures and Facebook profiles were shared as if it was graduation day. Friendships were forged, no one left truly alone.
I’m not as freaked out about biology
If you already love biology, just skip this section. Please allow me to confess-biology was the bane of my existence. I barely survived it in high school and let’s just sweep my college experience under the rug.
However, at the retreat we learned about the interconnections of minuscule structures and how God designed us so elegantly. To study biology is to study God’s handiwork. The intricacies required for life are mindboggling.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah 1:5 ESV
Through multiple hands on activities and discussions God’s Creation was seen in a new light. Extracting DNA, investigating blood type, even dissecting (from far away) has made me eager to learn more.
I am stronger than I think
If you are like me and blood makes you queasy you might discover that an inner strength does exist deep within you. If you love biological functions, then I just tried to sit near you at the retreat hoping your strength would rub off on me.
I did hear a concerned voice whisper “are you going to vomit?” as I pricked my finger for blood typing. I guess I’m not so great at hiding my fears. With a deep breath, several missed attempts (I really don’t know why my finger kept moving away) success was mine! Yes, I cheered as red oozed onto the testing paper. Victory!
Pricking my finger was small potatoes compared to what came next. Sheep dissection. It was a miracle that I was able to remain in the room when they started. Yes, I wrote “they”. I stood far away-eyeing all the exits. However, I stood my ground, I did not run! Victory again! I feared something that needed no fear, no matter how icky I thought it looked. Learning is messy at times, but the benefits are phenomenal. I am strong! I am brave! Uh, why are you coming toward me with scalpel in hand, baby steps please.
Every single person who spoke had passion. The material was engaging, rich and memorable. I’ve attended my share of scientific trainings over the years, some are memorable, some you trash the papers the second you leave the room. I still have my activity book, I still have my notes and I will be referring to them as time passes.
To further our knowledge links to websites were abundantly shared. Nothing was held back. Biology resources, equipment companies, articles, homeschool groups, recommended apps, Facebook pages. No question was too small, nor insignificant. A life size skeleton was given away, tables were loaded with freebies, some took home the results of their dissections and we all wore necklaces showcasing our extracted DNA.
Our hearts pulsed as one while God’s Word was proclaimed. We were retreating to the One who fearfully and wonderfully made us. Scripture was shared as we engaged in action steps toward our future. Power filled the room. The beauty of full and complete worship still lingers in my mind. I might have left the retreat, but it has not left me.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139:14 ESV