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Birds and the Bees and Santa

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    Birds and the Bees and Santa

    So, this morning we were covering several Enrichment titles. One was Russia ABCs. In Russia, there is a different version of "Santa" who apparently doesn't come on Christmas Eve but New Years Eve. I didn't pre-read this stuff so I'm reading it out loud to my kids and realize what I'm reading and its implications. I start to read fast to turn the page as quickly as possible. No one picked up on the differences all that much, focusing instead on the picture.

    Then, we read "Where do Chicks Come From". There's a page talking about how the male fertilizes the egg and mating and his sperm joins the growing eggs. Yikes. That's 2 Yikes in the same 30 minutes.

    Last weekend, my 8 year old went with me to the grocery store. He's chattering on about something while I'm perusing laundry detergent and I tune in to "Then, you get a male horse and a female horse to breed them". Three people nearby stop what they are doing. It got very quiet. I don't even look at him as I casually ask my son, "What does that mean? Breed them?". He responds, "It means you give them food". Without missing a beat I tell him, "Yes it does.". People were snorting and chuckling and why I get these weird scenarios in the grocery store, I'll never know.

    I'm just wondering at the "when" of it all. When do you start honestly talking about the birds and the bees? When do you start really talking about family mythologies of Santa and others? I adore the Enrichment of MP, but I know the more their lives are enriched, the more knowledge of the world will unfold. I know it's coming and I also know that when I explain it to my oldest, there's probably no way to avoid my middle son also. Is there a point of no return in the Enrichment - or any other point of the curriculum - that this will be addressed? Or is this left up to the parent to find resources? I'm not asking if there is a "***-Ed" class, but a general knowledge of nature and life cycles. When we start talking mythology in 3rd grade, is that where some of these family stories about Santa have to be revealed?

    Santa is an actual visit in our house in a very literal, physical way. My husband tells the kids that he sees Santa across the street, and all the kids rush upstairs. We put out 4 presents in special wrapping paper from Santa just before we go up so the kids will have seen the absence of the presents and the big "Wow" will be evident. Hubby even steps outside and throws a small trash can on the roof and jingles some bells outside. He runs upstairs afterwards telling us that Santa is on the roof. Then, while we are all upstairs, we set of of WAV file that I recorded on the computer to play on our surround sound below. The speakers boom the sound to the room upstairs so they hear Santa chuckling and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and the jingling of bells kind of ends it all. The whole thing lasts about 3 minutes, but it's a very big deal. I ache at the thought of any year being the "last year" but I worry that when the mystery is over for one, it will be for all.


    DS (MP4M) - 10
    DS (MP3A) - 8
    DS (1) - 7
    DD (Adorable distraction) 4

    Ahahaha. I laughed so hard that everyone around me stared. We're at a splash park.

    I laugh because I told my daughter that St. Nicholas was a real person who loved God and served his fellow man, and people get great joy reenacting the sacrificial love he showed to poor and needy children. So, with all of that understood, my daughter asked if she could still believe in Santa so that she could get presents from him and a candy cane from the mall Santa. We told her she could, and she will write her letter to Santa, hug the costumed ones and then wink and thank us for gifts "from Santa." When you do tell your kids, I hope it transitions smoothly like that. There is no bitterness or lack of joy in our house. IME, older kids love that special knowledge that comes with being older. Tell them when you're ready. I haven't seen anything in the Santa-themed books in MP3 that would undermine a family's narrative.

    Now, as to the birds and the bees, talking about the biological act of plants and animals each producing after their kind, I don't know how quickly 8 yo's catch on to the human side of things. Our philosophy is that we never tell a lie, but we also only answer the questions asked. What does breed mean? You know how God said each animal produces its own kind? Well, horses make baby horses. Breed means to make baby versions, just like we breed roses to make new baby roses.

    We've read tons of Gail Gibbons books about animals, and those questions don't ever seem to arise from the books. They seem to arise from all the animal documentaries we watch where mating actually happens on screen!

    When my eldest asked how the humans accomplish this, we quoted Jesus in Mark 10:
    "At the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’
    ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

    Of course, this reminds me that I wanted to ask if and what HLS uses as a human reproduction curriculum, if they do at all. In the rare moments my children catch a YouTube ad or commercial on live TV when we're at restaurants, airports, hotels, dr. offices, etc, it'd be nice to have a Biblical, Christian perspective on gender identity, marriage, and the body's perfect design for procreation.
    Mama of 2, teacher of 3

    SY 21/22
    5A w/ SFL & CC Narrative class

    Completed MPK, MP1 Math & Enrichment, MP2, 3A, 4A
    SC B, SC C, SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1


      Good afternoon,

      This is tough for most parents. I will have to say as a classroom teacher, it was tougher! Families celebrate the same holiday with very different traditions. Within my classoom were those who didn't celebrate with Santa and openly told their children Santa was the moms and dads. Then there were students who fervently believed in Santa without question. Of course they all would share their opinions whenever it occurred to them. If a parent called concerned I had to remind them that their children are going to encounter people who believe differently, if they are in public at all, and that they need to explain that people have their own beliefs and opinions but "our family believes ______" then leave it at that. When you address it as a matter of fact then act as if no big discussion is needed, your child will likely move on. They will take their cue from how you react. If you make it a big deal, it will be a big deal. Having said that regarding topics such as Santa, Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy, ***-ed is different.

      After having been through this with 4 children now, I understand your concern. We need to protect the innocence of our children and ensure we don't introduce concepts (related to above topic) before they are ready to process. There are things we can and should do to prepare for the time this conversation occurs. These facts are non-sexual in nature and have nothing to do with a specific act but have more to do with the fact that females have eggs or that it takes a male and a female to get a baby. In kindergarten we talk about the fact that mammal babies drink milk from their mothers. The fact that a male must fertilize an egg is common to any study of animals and in fact this was not so uncommon to very young students in the days when most lived on farms. Part of the shock I think is the terminology used means more to us who have full knowledge than to a child who has no background. So again, the talk about the rooster fertilizing the female hen's eggs to make a chick is very basic and does not include any specifics. It is very general. First graders will think nothing of this other than the text. They likely will not even ask questions. Your reaction here again is key. Should a question come up a simple "we will address that at a later time" is all that needs to be said. Students will move on. But it is important to provide carefully worded material that references age-appropriate aspects of these topics. MP endeavors to avoid any specific references as we feel parents are the ones best suited for these topics. Public school will introduce these concepts to students in middle school. Around 6th grade students begin talking and sharing with each other, at least in my personal experience.

      In a nutshell your reaction is most important in both these situations. It is good to think through this and have a ready response to the Santa issue but for the ***-ed you will most likely be able to gloss it over with no consequence and the student will hear only the basics they will need much, much later. In 7th grade we study King Arthur which includes the story of Lancelot but the teacher reads through this and only remarks that a man should remain faithful to his wife. We use it as a reinforcement of what is the right thing to do. Any further discussion can happen at home. This is an appropriate age to encounter these tough life issues. MP will not introduce these concepts too soon and will leave reproduction education to the family.
      Last edited by Michelle T; 05-01-2019, 02:55 PM. Reason: Clarification of last sentence.



        We do not deal with reproduction at all at HLS. It only gets as complicated as Charlotte having baby spiders. When our students are in high school, they have a biology class in 9th grade and an Anatomy & Physiology class, and those are handled impersonally and scientifically. We never teach *** ed. We leave that to the families.



          'As complicated as Charlotte having baby spiders ', love that! Sounds like the perfect school setting to me! You should hear what my friends have told me that their children learn in fourth grade health class in our area! I'm sure HLS parents have such peace of mind sending their children off to school each day! My compliments to the wise decision makers at MP whom we also get to glean from.


            Hi Melissa,

            For what it's worth here's my experience of this so far.

            Santa in our family is 'a fun game' that we play because we are remembering St. Nicholas. We love the book 'The Story of St. Nicholas,' and read it each Advent. My second child really likes the 'Santa' thing...but we are so focused on remembering Jesus birth and all the Advent things, and the Christmas Eve service at church, and the stockings 'for St. Nicholas' to put up at Grandma's...that 'the fun game' of Santa, isn't much of a 'thing' anymore.

            We told my 9 year old daughter all about the 'birds and the bees' last year, when she was 8 1/2. Her body is developing early. She also is a very curious child. When I was pregnant with babies number 3 and 4 (when she was 5 and 8) she was asking lots of questions. At 5 she kept asking me *how* the man's sperm fertilised the egg and also how was the baby going to get out of my body. I had a line I've used about this and other things "I'll tell you when you're older." I planned to tell her about birthing etc. before I had my third child, but she figured it out (kind of) herself.

            We had been watching 'All Creatures Great and Small' (based on the James Herriot books) where there are cows that give birth. One day sitting the car I heard a disgusted 5yo voice saying 'I know how the baby is coming out. It's going to come out of your a COW!' We also had a really great book called 'Hello Baby.' It a picture book about a home birth. There's a picture of a mum birthing her baby in a standing position. It's got a really lovely tone about birth and family, and I absolutely love it. I used to be a midwife, and if I was one of those women who were comfortable enough with giving birth to have their kids in the delivery suite or to have a home birth then I would have...but I am someone who wants no one around me, no one to touch me, it is all really intense and fast and I am not feeling that is not really the ideal situation to see a birth.

            Anyway I had been researching resources etc., wondering how to give the talk perfectly. Then one day my husband said "we need to give M the talk.This weekend." I knew he was right. I was so nervous. But my husband ended up saying it. With me there, adding bits here and there. No resources. He just told her the facts, the way that we believe God wants us to use the gifts He has given us etc. He told her about getting feelings about boys. She continued to come to us with questions quite a bit. Actually to the point I felt pretty uncomfortable. But we have just tried to be as matter of fact as possible without being inappropriate, and the questions settled...but she does come and tell me about how she has feelings about pretty much every boy at church and her friends brothers. Whilst at first I felt uncomfortable, now I'm used to it and I'm just really matter of fact about it. My daughter is *SO* different from me. There's no way I would have talked like that with my mum, not in a thousand years. But she's not me, she's herself! She doesn't want a boyfriend (and that is not even approaching anything I would find remotely appropriate for her now!) she is just feeling that she has these feelings and sharing them!

            One thing about timing is that I think we do live in different times, even though we do homeschool, and I'm glad we told M when we did because I think it makes her less vulnerable to predators. She knows what body parts are called, she will know better if anyone ever tries to do something inappropriate with her. And her body is changing, she is having 'feelings' and I think that it's right as her parent that I be informing her of what's going on, in the same way as I tell her about other things.

            Also she knows that she isn't to share anything with her younger siblings, or with other children as they may not know and that it's for their parents to tell them these things. She LOVES that she knows about the 'birds and the bees' and that's actually what she calls it! She'll say 'mum, can I have a talk with's about *the birds and the bees* so I don't think you want the little kids to hear.'

            So, that's how it worked for our firstborn and my only experience of doing this talk...but I'm really pleased it worked out this way. I never would have pictured it happening like that, and just being so matter of fact, I was so proud of my husband, he wasn't even being 'brave' or anything. He's just very much like 'well, she needs to know, so we need to tell her.'

            I hope it all works out really well for you having these discussions with your kids when/how you decide have them.

            Last edited by sarahandrew; 05-02-2019, 05:33 AM.

            Aussies from Sydney, Australia
            Miriam 10yo
            Jonathan 8yo
            Elissa 5yo
            Thomas 2yo
            Caleb 2 months


              We take it differently with each child, because they have each been so different about what they want to know and when. One of our children pieced it together by reading the dictionary, of all things, following from one unknown term to the next. But that was a perfect way for that particular child, and then we fleshed in with the faith perspective of how to use such gifts. Another we dealt with it slowly, only offering what seemed necessary at each different stage. I apply the adage Jessica P has often offered, “don’t answer a question that hasn’t been asked,” but mixed with a parental sense of prudence and caution too.

              One other thing I will add is that the special dignity of being male and female, marriage and the family, and our gift of human sexuality was a particular area of concern for Pope Saint John Paul the Great. He gave a weekly homily on these topics every Wednesday for a large portion of the time he was Pope. These have been collected into the teaching known as “The Theology of the Body.” Whether you are Catholic or not, they are beautiful and help us understand God’s plan. It can be one of those things that teach you, so that you can better address these topics and questions with your children. Christopher West has made it his life’s work to become well-verses on the TOB and communicate to us “ordinary” folk. . So anything by him is probably a good choice.

              16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
              DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
              DS, 17
              DD, 15
              DD, 13
              DD, 11
              DD, 9
              DD, 7
              DS, 2


                Originally posted by KF2000 View Post

                These have been collected into the teaching known as “The Theology of the Body.” Whether you are Catholic or not, they are beautiful and help us understand God’s plan. It can be one of those things that teach you, so that you can better address these topics and questions with your children. Christopher West has made it his life’s work to become well-verses on the TOB and communicate to us “ordinary” folk. . So anything by him is probably a good choice.

                Agreed! Good stuff. My husband is reading through West's "beginners" version currently as my son will be going through this course with a group several peers and parents soon. Very easy to read and understand and does certainly help the questions from our children.

                A book I am reading through currently is "Made This Way: How to Prepare Kids to Face Today's Tough Moral Issues". Also by Catholic writers, but excellent information on many different topics such as Natural Law, marriage, reproduction, modesty, and more. What is great about this book is that it is broken into what the church/bible teaches, and then advice and how to talk to Big Kids regarding each topic, and a separate section for Little Kids. So it keeps it very age appropriate.

                DS 17: Senior!
                DD 14: 10th
                DD 10: 6th
                Twin DD's 8: 3rd
                Mix of MP, Co-op, TAN and traveling the U.S


                  Yesterday, in the car with us all my 7.5 yr daughter asked so just how does the baby start? How does it get in your belly in the first place? What did daddy have to do with it?

                  I said, it is a combination of genetic material and the design of God's will and that was enough of an answer for now... my 9.5 yr daughter giggled from the backseat. We haven't fully talked to her, but she has picked up a bit more details and has been around for everyone else's birth. I know more questions will come, but we keep it pretty scientific.

                  Last year, my best friend texted me in a panic because her daughter had just turned 3 yr and her husband didn't want to "lie" to her year after year about Santa, Easter Bunny, and all the rest. He apparently suffered some trauma about being lied to and finding out poorly. I didn't miss a beat and told her to tell her daughter the honest truth about tradition and legends all over the world and how people believe this or that about the original St. Nicholas and St. Patrick and on and on. Let her run with the joy of remembering tradition and legends and my friend found lots of peace in it. She is a very theatrical person and storytelling is part of it and now she is pleasing her husband and not crushing the spirit of holidays or the imagination of her children.

                  I do much of the same with my children. We have said the Bible is what we believe, there once was a real man who... that tradition and legends follow, magic is a world we use but miracles belong to God in truth. They currently believe in the Easter Bunny, Santa, Tooth Fairy and so on, but we always answer about tradition/legends and with direct questions about fairies and the like, we tell them we've never seen a fairy, but legends say... and God only knows for sure.
                  Margaret of GA, in west TN – Enginerd’s wife & Mama

                  Trekking along at a student self-pace...
                  DD Summer 2009 · 7th
                  DD Summer 2011 · SC
                  DS Summer 2014 · 2nd
                  DD Summer 2017 · Preschool/SC
                  DS Autumn 2019 • Tot-preschool
                  MP, Seton, Sonlight, Beau. Feet, Notgrass, IEW, Saxon

                  Memoria Scholé Academy 2011-2022
                  Blog: Creative Madness Mama
                  @ CherryBlossomMJ


                    This came up today in the local homeschool enrichment gathering I lead. We read 'Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent'. Immediately after I introduced the book and read the title a little one asked if sea monsters were real. I answered it just as Margaret said, "some people believe so, but I've never seen one" and that was enough of an answer for the group.
                    DS12- Simply Classical mash-up of SC Spelling 1, intensive reading remediation, and MPOA 4th grade math.
                    DD10- Classic Core 4th Grade w/ 5th grade literature
                    DD8- Classic Core 2nd Grade

                    We've completed:
                    Classic Core Jr. kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade
                    Simply Classical levels B, C, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5/6


                      Originally posted by CherryBlossomMJ View Post

                      Last year, my best friend texted me in a panic because her daughter had just turned 3 yr and her husband didn't want to "lie" to her year after year about Santa, Easter Bunny, and all the rest. He apparently suffered some trauma about being lied to and finding out poorly. I didn't miss a beat and told her to tell her daughter the honest truth about tradition and legends all over the world and how people believe this or that about the original St. Nicholas and St. Patrick and on and on.
                      I've stayed out of this conversation so far, but this is largely how we've handled it at our house with our caboose kid. Our lives at the time didn't make any of it natural since we often were traveling over holidays and such. No harm done. She loves holidays.
                      Last edited by bean; 05-09-2019, 05:09 AM.
                      Bean. Long time MP user. Almost retired homeschool mom and university faculty/ librarian. Teaching a "Children's Lit for Educators" class this semester!

                      I apologize in advance for my typos and grammatical mishaps.

                      DD (16) Graduating May 2022!
                      Mechanical Engineering

                      "School Administrator" to niece (9): MP 3A