|"The Pharaoh" from "Chickens of the World" by Matthew Meyer|
We have been using The Story of the World curriculum (which I adore) for our history lessons this year. One of the suggested activities for the lesson on Egypt was to get a chicken from the grocery store and send it through the mummification process. This sounded so cool to me, and without really thinking the whole process through or what would actually be involved in mummifying a chicken, I eagerly jumped into the project.
My first sign that the mummification process might not be as smooth sailing as I'd thought was when I went to purchase a chicken. Our grocery store is a bit old fashioned, and you have to buy your meat from a butcher at the meat counter. The activity manual had said that the smaller the chicken you could get the better, because it would fit in the bag better. So I was a bit discouraged that all the chickens at the meat counter were on the largish side rather than the smallish side.
"Do you have any chickens smaller than these?" I asked the man behind the meat counter.
"Hmm... a small one? " he asked, as he smiled and sorted through the pile of poultry, " usually people are asking me for the biggest one, not the smallest one."
"Yes, I know", I chirped enthusiastically, " but we are going to mummify it, and so I need it to be small so it will fit in the bag."
The meat counter man froze, with a chicken in his hand, and just stared at me.
"Oh, yes, well, we home school," I hurriedly tried to explain, "and we have been studying Egypt, and our book suggested to make a chicken mummy, and so um... yea and it is a suggestion in our book... and um... because it will be educational...." The more I tried to explain the more bewildered the look on his face became. He stared at me, the gaggle of children around my cart, and then back at the chicken he was still holding in his hand. I realized I probably sounded like a crazy lady and that it was time to grab my chicken and run.
"Thanks, that one looks just great. It's a bit big but I think I can find a box instead of a bag," and I took the largish chicken and ran off as quickly as I could, trailed by a line of squabbling children. As I hid myself in the chip aisle I realized that my recent interaction hadn't done much to improve the stereotype of homeschoolers as being socially awkward or weird. So, fellow homeschoolers, sorry for perpetuating that one.
Like I said, my experience at the grocery store should have been my first indication that this project was destined to be strange.