I can only imagine what undergrads wandering by thought. But we still have the horse skull in a tupperware in the basement.
She teaches comparative animal anatomy now. For a few years she kept a colony of flesh-eating beetles in her lab for cleaning skeletons. They were delivered by FedEx — yes, you can order flesh-eating beetles online. Unfortunately the box had a puncture, and beetles were coming out. The FedEx guy who delivered it sprinted into her office, threw the box on the desk and sprinted out again without stopping to ask for a signature. I wonder why...
In any case, I found this post  about the various ways to clean animal bones. Interesting reading.
Another co-worker piped up with, "When I was in 5th grade my mom used a pressure cooker to clean the bones of a dead sheep I found"
Intrigued, I had him finish the story. They lived in a farm area and there was a small sheep that had been hit by a car. He took it home, and they followed a similar process to clean the bones and he used some wire to put the skeleton back together for a school science project.
But anyway, in the article a crock-pot is used, while bluedino mentions a pressure cooker, so I was just clarifying that a crock-pot is not a pressure cooker. But maybe I only added confusion. :-(
It doesn't mention, but implies something I found important. That is that as a parent I had to invest my own time in equal to theirs in their learning. It lead to push back at work when I would insist on being home so that we could all have dinner as a family and then work on family projects in the evening, but for me it was rewarded by kids that were engaged and thoughtful and willing to dig into questions deeply.
I have no idea if that would work for anyone else of course.
We find the hardest part of homeschooling so far is that a lot of the infrastructure for homeschooling is christian. There might be a market for a startup that caters to scientific-minded people who home-school. It seems to be a growing trend.
One of the activities my kids participated in was the Riekes Nature Studies program. Once a week a group of about 20 similarly aged students would spend all day (9AM to 3PM) at Huddart Park (a wooded nature park near Woodside) and study different aspects of the park. They would count bird populations, identify tracks, identify plants and their properties, relationships between water and plants and animals, Etc. They also did camp trips to nearby places, once as far as Death Valley. All the while teaching camaraderie, respect, and how to socialize with your peers. We also did a 'science roundabout' with 6 other families home schooling where all of the kids would go to one of the parents houses for a half day of science curriculum. We had a Doctor, a couple of engineers, a couple of Chemists, and a biologist I believe. Two days a week. each day one of the parents would host the group, so while the group met twice a week each parent saw them once every three weeks. That was a good amount of time to work up a concept/lab for the next group session. They also participated in a bunch of other activities as group, whether it was Church related or softball or scouts.
What they didn't have to deal with is bullies in middle school and uninterested adult supervision. Or being traumatized by kids that were attempting to establish dominance through social stratification. When one of those negative patterns surfaced in one of the kids in our cohort it was pretty clear pretty quickly that either they could learn to be an adult about this stuff or not participate. That is really effective on 10 and 11 year olds who are trying to figure this stuff out.
 In my area the other question that competes with this one is "Can my kid get into a good university if they have been home schooled?" and the answer is yes, and sometimes more easily if they have a lot of activities and projects.
First, OP is specifically asking about their child, who is autistic. While I would generally suggest that the average person is incapable of providing an education equal to that provided by a whole school full of teachers, it's often the case that if one child requires more attention than the rest of class, they might benefit more from additional attention and 1-on-1 teaching than they might from having more skilled teachers without additional time to spend. So it is a reasonable suggestion.
I'll start at the end, with the question: can you get into a good university? Sure. I didn't really apply to a lot of universities but I did get a full ride at the best engineering school in the state. It hinged more or less entirely on my GPA and standardized test scores. There's probably a whole book you could write on how poor these criteria are, but that's tangential to my point.
I was homeschooled through high school. In general, it was a negative experience. Primarily, I would say, it was because I didn't socialize much. That's not to say that I didn't have bs activities that my parents came up with, I did. We were a part of the local home school group, I took classes with a group of other home schoolers at what I pejoratively referred to as "homeschooler public school." I even managed to join a sports team for a tiny christian school that couldn't get enough players for a full team (I did enjoy that). I think that probably my parents would have said that I had all the social interaction that I ever needed. But actually I spent days or weeks completely alone. I had essentially two friends, that I saw every few weeks. In high school I basically taught myself all of my classes, then studied and took the tests. It sounds like you're doing things a lot better than that. But this isn't meant to be a critique of you(I don't know enough about what you're doing to even attempt that, even if I wanted to), it's supposed to be a cautionary tale.
I don't know if my experience was "average," but taken from my acquaintances (all home schooled) my results were actually better than average. Many had no outside contact for even longer periods of time, and lived in more isolated areas. Most did very little after high school and then joined the family business. I suppose it's likely that this is a difference between rural Missouri and SF.
>What they didn't have to deal with is bullies in middle school and uninterested adult supervision.
I my experience, that's not really a plus, it's just another overextension of supervision which has become so common these days. The world doesn't stop functioning the same way just because you don't experience it. You just wind up with kids that don't know how to deal with that sort of thing- or worse, try bullying themselves when they think they can get away with it. I personally witnessed this on multiple occasions at ostensibly supervised events where the adults were on the other side of a room or we had gone out back.
My parents were very strict and I was virtually never away from them until after I got a job, but that didn't stop me and my five siblings from breaking rules, instead we worked out systems to help us break our parents rules with no or minimal repercussions. We would have whole fake storylines of what we were doing going on that we would switch to if we got caught and post sentries. The sentries would frequently have codewords so that they didn't get caught helping others disobey. My point, so tangentially made, is that kids sometimes need a chance to interact with others without omnipotent but less than omniscient judges interfering.
In summary, what I am attempting to say is that homeschooling certainly can work well but from my (admittedly quite limited) sampling rarely does. That's not to say you shouldn't do it- just make sure that you want to, and that you're ready to spend the time to do it right.
I particularly resonate with this sentiment; "... just make sure that you want to, and that you're ready to spend the time to do it right."
Plus, it's somehow satisfying that the story is being told on a old-fashion (what am I writing) blog. I strongly believe it wouldn't have been as structured, as accessible if it had been told through instagram or facebook (too much noise, not enough authenticity (this is the media guy in me talking).
The gallery works, the text works... there is no noise on the page.
I don't have any data but I wonder if the amount of independent blogs is quietly and slowly growing. Maybe it is just my wishful thinking-they really are a great internet medium.
Err, depending on your location (in the US), there is a risk of raccoons carrying rabies as well. It's generally isolated to the east coast, but worth noting.
However ... taking your comment in the spirit in which I'm guessing it was intended, my wife and I have had a lot of fun helping the kids try almost anything they were interested in. There's simply no reason to limit a child's curiosity (and I'd argue that many of us here are those whose childhood curiosity survived somewhat intact). Kids interests can change weekly and we just let that happen. We did usually require that they finish a project once they started it.
One example is that I was digging fence-posts and commented to my wife that, under the top-soil of what was once our farmette, there was a layer of clay. Of course my daughter pictured the type of clay that artists use (and a pottery wheel) but did you know that, with the right amount of water added, you can mold Pennsylvania (US) clay just fine. And you can do a reasonable job of firing it on a patio grill (don't try glazing it).
I was brought up helping my dad around the house and we also extended this to our kids ... if we didn't know how to do something we learned it together. And so now our kids (the two who are adults and out-of-the-house) will do much of their own maintenance. My daughter's first car is a '71 Super Beetle in which she completely restored the interior. I helped her weld new cooling manifolds which was the only exterior/mechanical problem with the car.
Finally, there are lots of kids that don't have parents (and plenty that have absentee parents. Here in the US you can volunteer with Big Brothers / Big Sisters and "borrow" a kid for a limited amount of time. Volunteering is also a great way to help the next generation of "makers" grow in their craft!
The other thing we did was optimize our house so our kids and their friends would want to hang out here. It's much easier to keep an eye on them when they're not off somewhere else (thinking back, there were a lot of times my parents didn't know where I was). A few of their friends could be problematic but by treating most of them as adults, they tried to live up to it.
As I was leaving my lab, carrying the crockpot, my department chair saw me: "Ooh, what delicious thing are you making?"
Me: "Uhhhh, Cecilia and I are going to deflesh a raccoon this weekend."
Him: "Ew. Now I'm not hungry anymore."
They actually mentioned that the crockpot in question was brought home from a lab, and it was used specifically for cleaning biogoo from bones.
But otherwise, I totally agree on the ick factor. I'm a little surprised that a crockpot with detergent, and then hydrogen peroxide, is all it takes to sufficiently disinfect dead critter stuff.
(Then again, I toss raw meat in a crock pot and then shove it directly into my mouth, so I don't know why I'm surprised.)
And then the next city downstream gets that water and drinks it anyway.
Depending on where you live (i.e. near a large river) reducing water usage doesn't really make much environmental difference, as long as you dump it in the sewer: The water gets reused many many times on its way to the ocean.
>She put all the bones into the crockpot that I brought home from my lab as well (which we keep for the express purpose of defleshing stuff that, well, still has squishy/hairy bits on it):
I feel much better now.
There's also a great guide to cleaning bones from animals (in various states of decay) on the blog Jake's Bones that I've referred to a couple of times: http://www.jakes-bones.com/p/how-to-clean-animal-bones.html
When I was little we would bring in little things we'd found out back (frogs, mice, birds etc) and my mum was always happy to say, "lets open them up and see how they work". For the frog we used some vodka in a margarine pot but after that she kept some ether in the fridge (also useful when castrating the cat).
She was pretty happy when I sent her a photo of her grandson, scalpel in hand, dissecting a dead bird he had claimed from the cat. Unfortunately the only book he had was on human anatomy but we were able to find gross parallels and gross differences and that was pretty educational too.
When I was a kid, I read a book about Eugenia Clark (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenie_Clark) who defleshed a dead animal she found as a kid. I found a dead bird and tried to do the same using an old coffee tin over our camp stove in the garage. My parents were nonplused (my dad was a biologist too, but he studied plants so I don't think he was into defleshing dead animals...) and that was the end of my biology experiments.
I'm glad to know to actually do this. Maybe someday my daughter and I can do the project.
NB: as I recall, it takes 2 chickens, some tools, and a lot of patience