Homework assignments in a new country can be challenging. Mr O Jnr 1 is nearly 14. As any parent knows, this is an age where sex probably features overly prominently in a young man’s thoughts, let alone doing homework assignments on related topics! He comes from a culture where issues such as pregnancy, sex, masturbation and contraception are not openly discussed. This week he had an assignment and was able to choose from the topics as listed in the Health Workbook (see below).
Both boys started off finding the whole thing rather hilarious. I think it was more embarrassment than hilarity, to be honest. Embarrassment at suddenly talking openly about such things. I’m not the sort that finds such discussions at all embarrassing, which is probably a good thing!
Mr O Jnr 1 chose pregnancy as his topic! We started on Sunday. Research is still a skill the younger three are working on developing. This is a topic that needed lots of research as I discovered the level of knowledge was a bit elementary! The boys knew the mechanics of sex and that babies can result, but they didn’t seem to know much of the detail. We spend Sunday looking at images depicting the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries and explaining how the whole system works. We looked at images of babies in utero at various stages of development. We discussed twins and how they come to be. We talked about sperm looking rather like small tadpoles and found pictures of real ones.
The task was to develop a flyer for distribution to teenagers discussing the chosen topic. Tonight we were
finalising working on the development of the flyer. In some respects this was also a marketing assignment. Mr O Jnr 1 was writing the technical details: I asked him to think of his audience – were his words going to hold the attention of the target audience? He agreed probably not: we needed to ramp it up a bit, give it a bit of marketing flair. Now, I don’t have a marketing bone in my body, but at least I hope I managed to help take the science out of it and scare the living daylights out of any horny teenagers!
We even looked at the legal implications and saying “it wasn’t me” just doesn’t wash in these days of DNA testing! A lot of expenses are involved in rearing a child. Do you want to save for a new car or buy nappies and baby food? Buy school uniforms? Medical expenses?
He was having difficulty putting some of the facts into English and would get the embarrassed giggles when I tried to draw words out of him. The ensuing conversation went along these lines.
Mr O Jnr 1, would you feel embarrassed talking about death?
Because it happens to everyone.
So does being born! It is not more embarrassing than death, it is just a fact of life! How do you think you got here? Life starts with conception and ends with death: two inescapable facts of life.
We managed to decide on some catchy headings and describe the mechanics of conception. Trying to explain that withdrawal is a most unreliable method of protection was interesting.
What if only a little bit gets out?
There are millions of the little buggers, one will get there!
What if they can’t?
Do you want to think your sperm can’t swim properly?
Of course not.
Well then, count on one of the little buggers making it!
They did seem to find my calling sperm “little buggers” quite amusing!
I learnt something too. From my youth I remember the diaphragm as a contraceptive device – I’d not caught up with female condoms. Sure enough, Google to the rescue and I now know about female condoms. Interesting looking devices, I’m not entirely sure I’d like to be using one, but better safe than sorry!
We found a list of teenage myths to include. I keep telling the children ignorance is the biggest problem when it comes to sex and some of these myths certainly prove it!
Without proper education, according to various websites, young people still believe:
- You can’t get pregnant standing up
- You can’t get pregnant from sex during your period
- You can’t get pregnant if the man withdraws before orgasm
- You can’t get pregnant if it is your first time
- You can’t get pregnant if you don’t kiss
and a host of other myths. So we scotched a lot of those (as many as I could think of)!
To conclude, we had a chat about research skills, how long it takes to do an assignment well and how unless it is the best one can do, it isn’t good enough! I think Mr O Jnr 1 is very glad it is finished and is now suitably aware of the responsibilities relating to the actual topic!