I've mentioned -- probably too often -- about how I'm working on designing a science curriculum for our kids this year involving the human body and stuff related to the human body. Part of this curriculum will involve learning about various individuals related to medicine and science applicable to the human body. So I have been doing a lot of research on these various people and then writing up short, hopefully kid-friendly biographies for each person.
Meanwhile, as I gather materials to put this whole program together, I'm trying to make it somewhat uniform so that eventually, after testing it out this year with our own kids, maybe I can post this online for other homeschool families who might want to do a similar study.
I envision this whole thing as being really cool when it's done. You'll have to trust me on that -- and it has many revisions to go through before I'll be willing to post it online for others.
Anyway, right now, I've completed first drafts of the biographies for these people: Hippocrates, Clara Barton, William Harvey, Charles R. Drew, Frederick Banting, Louis Braille, Galen, Charles Bell, Gregor Mendel and John Henry "Doc" Holliday (what? he was a dentist first!).
That takes us into Week 11 of the curriculum so far. Only about 25 more biographies to write! I know I won't get them all completed before the school year begins, but if I write one per week(end) while school is in, I have an 11 week head start, so it should work out fine.
I think the most interesting pattern that has emerged in my research so far is the variety of backgrounds from which all these people came. All of them are brilliant in their own way -- some were born into wealthy families and others were born into poverty; some were first born, several were last born and some were middle children; many of these people were white males, but others were of other races or females; some were excellent students and others failed out of school. They were from all over the world, too. It doesn't seem to matter, but God is still able to use anybody to further an understanding and appreciation of His Creation.
I think we're taught in Sunday School and church services that God chooses our leaders by allowing them to be in the role or not. That's why we're directed to pray for them -- even when we don't agree with their politics. But it's not only the leaders. I think he handpicks which people will get to be remembered in history as contributing to science or the medical field or whatever, too.
He creates each one of us with our various abilities and gifts and interests and dreams. It is because of these things that we follow a path guided by these factors.
So Gregor Mendel, who was born to peasant farmers in what is now the Czech Republic, grew up learning about and appreciating nature. Later, as a monk, walking around the grounds of the monastery, he started to observe subtle differences in nature. Then he ran with this idea about how genes pass from parents to offspring and tested his hypothesis like crazy until he could prove his theory. It's because of him that we, as a society, know how different diseases or disorders can be passed from one generation to the next (among other things).
For better or worse, God allowed us to gain this knowledge and He used Gregor Mendel to set us on that path of understanding. A poor monk from somewhere on the other side of the planet, centuries ago, has helped me understand why two of our sons are colorblind. And it goes beyond that, but I'll keep it at that.
Not every biography I write will be about some saint, but each of these individuals -- no matter their beliefs -- has qualities I want our children to learn about. It's not just about learning the history and where the science comes from. It's about understanding another layer of complexity in God's Creation of humans.
This is more than a science curriculum really, when it comes down to it. I just hope God is glorified by my work on it. It's bringing me a lot of joy doing it.