Thinking Bigger

May 17, 2015

It all started with a homeschool Nature Study topic and two assignments from school. Our Tuesday adventure group was going to begin a trimester study on Insects. Separately, Jacob’s 3rd Grade teacher asked him to write a Research paper as well as an Opinion paper. She said students were allowed to merge them into one paper and submit a Research/Opinion paper. Loved the idea of merging! Killing two birds with one stone. Perfect. But you know what would be even better? Accomplishing 3 to-do’s all in one fell swoop! Writing a Research/Opinion paper about Insects! Yes! Yes! Yes! I proposed the idea to Jacob. He loved the idea of addressing 3 assignments with one focused attempt.

And then I added on a challenge: to study something about insects at large. To think ‘big picture’ or really big topic about insects. I know Jacob has incredible skills at thoroughly researching one topic in all of its minutiae. He loves to read about one specific topic in exhaustive detail. I knew he would do fine selecting one type of insect such as crickets or bees and researching every aspect of that one specific insect. But I wanted him to grow in his skill-set. To learn how to think ‘bigger picture’ about a topic; to study something broad and learn how to make summary statements. I gave him the picture of a funnel and challenged him to stay up at the broadest rim of the funnel by writing broad over-arching statements about insects, instead of zeroing in, with specific detail, at the most concentrated narrow end of the funnel, writing about the specific colors, body shape and habitat of one specific species of insect.

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But man was that a struggle. “WHAT?!?!?!?! You want me to study everything there is about ALL 1,000 known species of insects?!?!?!?! WHAT?!??!?! I could never do that!!!!”

The idea of studying insects at large seriously overwhelmed him, in a debilitating, anxiety-producing way.

But then he narrowed it down to the idea of eating insects as a source of protein, in a world where there are huge concerns about all the land and water resources needed to sustain cattle for our world’s beef consumption. 

And we even ended up researching which restaurant in Los Angeles serves cricket tacos. Yup- fieldtrip to eat crickets. And we did it. And wow was that an experience, feeling the spindly crunchy legs in my mouth. Maybe if as a society we taught our kids from a very young age, feeding them insects, then they’d grow up thinking it was no big deal. At my age, not gonna lie, it took quite a bit of courage to try. And as I ate those cricket tacos it was not an easy thing for my mind to be comfortable with. 

Jacob ended up doing an incredible job researching this topic! And he created a very informative poster board that he shared with our homeschool friends. 

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