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Homework and the facts of life

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!

Assignment

Assignment

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?

No.

Why not?

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! 

English: Reddy Female Condom

Image via Wikipedia - female condom

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!

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15 comments on “Homework and the facts of life

  1. […] me of a previous assignment about pregnancy for another […]

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  2. Good job and you worked so hard on it with him. Kudos! ;-)

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  3. Well done Robyn… you’ll be considered a VERY cool mother ;)

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    • I was “That wasn’t cool, Mum” the night I turned off the computer mid-Facebook one night! I don’t make idle threats – something the kids learnt early on. :)

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      • bak to boundaries…No should mean know… unless you’ve made a mistake then you ( I mean the general you rather than the individual you ) need to explain that you think you have it wrong before you go back on what you’ve said.
        It’s a good example to show that we all sometimes get things wrong.. I most certainly did !

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  4. What a tough assignment! I admire the way you could stay so detached. I can’t even begin to imagine having a conversation with a young lad about sex and pregnancy ye alone disect it and write about it!
    Good on you!

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    • :lol: Thanks Carole! I’ve just never found such things remotely embarrassing. Not sure if it from being raised on a farm or not. After all, without sex and pregnancy, none of us would be here. It is just part of the cycle of life.

      I actually think that all the “oh, we mustn’t talk about it” type stuff makes sex more attractive (forbidden fruit) and leads to more uneducated experimentation by young people, resulting in higher rates of teen pregnancy.

      Get the facts in front of them and they have a better perspective on the responsibilities that go with it. I’m thinking a video of actual childbirth might be a good idea to reinforce the knowledge of what the results can be!

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  5. Well done Robyn, my grand daughter started sex lessons at senior school age 13, when she lived with us. We could talk about anything, and i was the one who she came to ask questions, not my wife or her mother.

    But that was fine with me i was relaxed about it and answered her truthfully.

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  6. Well done Robyn, I hope all parents are as comfortable and clued up as you! Youngsters seem to become sexually involved far too early nowadays, without thinking of the consequences. A lot of peer pressure too! I recently read an article in “The Australian Women´s weekly” about how girls are losing their virginity at an average age of 14!!
    Sexual transmitted diseases are on rise, sexual practices are being influenced by pornography, with boys expecting the girls to act like in the movies they see. All very disturbing, at least my children are well past this age, as this would scare the hell out of me!
    Hope Mr O Jnr 1, can convey the message to his colleagues, and as you say “scare the living daylights out of any horny teenager”.

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