A paper published on how Grade 10-12 kids respond to the school life sciences curriculum concluded that more emphasis needs to be placed on what learners are interested in.
The most important aspect of science and environmental education is to tap into children’s natural curiosity.
As homeschoolers we know that children love to learn. They are programmed to learn. Tell them interesting stuff, in an interesting way, and they want to know more.
The better we know something, the more we appreciate it. And the more we appreciate it, the more invested we become: we want to protect it, preserve it. “Why do we harm nature? Because we are ignorant.” (P Cafaro*)
Insects make up well over half of all known life forms. They are also the most accessible of wild animals: they are everywhere, no trips to game reserves required. They are small enough to get close to and handle, but large enough to observe clearly. And they are infinitely fascinating.
So I reckon telling kids – as many as possible – about insects, is the best way to breed the next generation of keepers of Mother Nature. And she will need many many keepers to survive.
* PS: The full conclusion to Philip Cafaro’s brilliant essay reads: “Why do we harm nature? Because we are ignorant. Because we are selfish. Because we are gluttonous, arrogant, greedy, and apathetic. Because we do not understand our obligations to others or our own self-interest. We falsely assume that we can keep separate harms to nature and harms to humanity, harms to others and harms to ourselves. We do not see that environmental vices do not just harm nature; they harm us and the people around us. As I have shown in this essay, many of these harms are scientifically verifiable; the rest can be understood by anyone with open eyes and an open heart. The environmental vices are bad for us and bad for the Earth. For better and for worse, we really are all in this together.”