(written when Jboy was aged 6)
Jboy is particularly fond of insects so we use this interest to teach him the following learning tools. With these tools mastered, he will be able to learn anything he sets his mind to.
- Habit of attention/concentration: He has to pay attention to details – sometimes it’s just one dot on the back that distinguishes one insect from another (and Jboy wants to know exactly which one it is!)
- Habit of excellence: We expect him to do his best – when he records information in his Creation Journal it is to be accurate as well as neat and tidy.
- Habit of orderliness/neatness: He has to put his tools of the trade away in the right place when he is done – home management skills! His journal should be neat too.
- Habit of truthfulness: We can use an interest in insects to help train Jboy in truthfully assessing what he actually knows and what he yet has to learn.
- Habit of self-control: Jboy learns self-control as he tidies up when he can’t be bothered or makes the effort to print neatly or treats his catch gently.
- Habit of diligence/redeeming the time: In the face of distractions, he is spurred on to work hard.
- Habit of love: We have encouraged him to use his skills to bless others, sharing what he knows with younger siblings and letting them have a turn with the butterfly net or magnifying glass.
- Habit of obedience: Through following mama’s directions over the years about how to handle the insects and where to look for them, the great outdoors has been a great training ground in obedience for Jboy.
Good appetites for literature, art, music and video
Jboy is fascinated not only by the songs of insects, but by the compositions of the Masters too. Tunes such as The Wasps are particularly popular!
Jboy’s interest in insects has even affected which books he likes; non-fiction about his subject come top of the list, but there are others too – The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Busy Spider and other Eric Carle titles, and Little House books with their plagues of locusts are all favourites.
(Although that is not to say he doesn’t like other things too – this just shows how we can use his interest to develop his learning).
How many legs does it have? Why is there a stripe on that one? What noise does it make? How does it make the noise? What does it eat? How far can it fly? What happens to them in winter? What kind of a home does it make?
All these questions have arisen naturally out of time spent collecting bugs.
Insects crop up frequently in Jboy’s creative exploits – when he tried his hand at soap carving the subject was a bee, paintings are often of butterflies or ants, drawings of spiders or their webs etc.
He has also been inspired by the achievements of such people as Sir Edmund Hillary (who was a beekeeper before he became famous!).
Writing skills are developed as he keeps a journal of insects he has discovered. He has also written letters to an entomologist and the National Bee Keepers Association.
Reading occurs as he reads identification books and bug newsletters.
Speaking skills are honed as he teaches some of what he has learnt to younger siblings. He frequently uses the telephone to ring someone who might have the information he is looking for.
Listening is important when he is at an Entomological Society meeting or field trip.
Reason can be developed by dialogue and that certainly happens in the great outdoors as we amble along together. Mama asks probing questions to stimulate thinking.
Problem-solving is another way of developing reasoning skills and this, too, occurs naturally in the context of caring for insects – will this butterfly survive with holes in its wings? What sort of shelter should we build it? What will happen to the spider if I take its web away?
When a child forms an opinion on something their reasoning skills are further developed, so we encourage Jboy to persuade us why his opinion on a matter is correct or at least reasonable! This often occurs as we are wandering together.
We have been able to use Jboy’s interest in the bugs to introduce him to older people who share his passion – he loves going on Entomological Society field trips, working alongside professors and other bug-nuts, foraging through forests and fields for new finds.
So far, Jboy has had opportunities to work out and compare the costs of keeping bees and buying honey. We envisage extending this to him being capable of doing the shopping – in the role of shopper, he will be able to exercise stewardship. Quite probably he will end up funding his own bee keeping enterprise (he had his first money-making business at age seven).