God bless the BBC

I haven’t had much time to play on our new piano lately. I did master Jingle Bells with two hands, but I confess I’m finding it a bit daunting to read music on two lines at the same time and work with two hands at the same time. It isn’t enough to memorize fingers with notes because the fingers you use to play any given key changes depending on where your hands are. This makes it seemingly much more complicated than violin. I suspect I will soon tire of learning to play the piano properly, and instead resort to just rote memorization of songs I enjoy playing. Oh well!

We recently purchased the complete set of Blue Planet DVD’s from BBC and the Discovery Channel. DD is completely hooked on The Deep episode (admittedly my favorite). The creatures that live in the deep ocean are amazingly weird and wonderful. DD’s favorite is the Gulper Eel, a creature whose mouth takes up a quarter of its body size. I like the hairy anglerfish. I also give props to the usual kind of anglerfish for Coolest Mating strategy. The male is tiny compared to the female and lacks the glowing lures and cool shiny spots of the female. His job in life is to find a female, bite her on a special part of her body, and become permenantly attached to her. Their circulatory systems actually become joined. He stays there for the rest of his life, providing a steady supply of sperm. Very cool. Though I’m glad we humans went with a different reproductive plan!

DD now says when she grows up she wants to be a scientist who goes down in special submarines to explore the deep ocean. How cool is that? Anyways, as with many homeschooled kids she seems to get obsessive over a subject and this one has even surpassed the dinosaur obsession for now. I heard her telling my mother last night that you can’t dive in the deep because you’ll get squished. We’d been talking about pressure and how the air presses us all the time but we are used to it, but deep down the weight of the water is so great it would squish us. My mother actually used to belong to the Hong Kong Underwater Club back in the ’50’s and so DD was thrilled to talk to her about all the sea creatures she’d seen, like a manta ray, though DD was a bit disappointed to hear that Mum hadn’t tried to take a ride on it.

This evening DH downloaded an episode of another BBC program, Planet Earth, about caves. It was stunning and the three of us watched in awe. DD was fascinated by the glowworms of New Zealand’s caves and even more surprised when I told her I had actually seen them myself, when I went Blackwater Rafting (that link is the actual tour we did) many years ago with my brother and cousins – an experience that was undoubtedly one of the most amazing of my life. It’s wonderful to share my fascination of Nature with her. And one of the wonderful benefits of homeschooling is getting the opportunity to learn new things myself, things that I might not bother taking the time to seek out for myself. I’ll Google things for her (“let’s look it up” is one of her fave sayings) when I would normally be too lazy to do it for myself. The whole family learns together and that, my friends, is why we do what we do!

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