" Do not keep the children day after day repeating what they already know; give them something new to call forth new interest and wonder." -R. Durning
While doing research on Charlotte Mason's view of citizenship, I stumbled across this Parents' Review article by Robert Durning titled, "Characteristics of Childhood." In it, he gives a Handbook of Nature Study-esque lesson on bees. He suggests that lessons be given on the bee as an architect or on the government of the hive as a symbol of citizenship! What a great jumping-off point for further discussion on this topic with children. Mason talks about characteristics of a good citizen - singleness of purpose, absence of self-consciousness and absolute attention. All of these are easily observed and illustrated in the bee hive.
Here are Mr. Durning's suggestions for a lesson on bees. Enjoy!
One of three or four points may be selected in giving a lesson on the bee.
I. We may take the bee as distinguished from other insects; consider:
A. Its (special) habits.
B. Its mode of working.
C. The organ with which it works.
II. We may take the bee as an example of an insect, to show how they are distinguished from other animals; consider:
A. Its principle parts
B. The different stages of life. We may take the bee as an example of industry:
1. Compare the habits of the bee with those of the butterfly, with reference as to different periods of the year.
2. Lead the children to draw an inference as to the future destiny of man.
III. We may take the bee to show the distinction between instinct and intellect:
A. Compare a honeycomb with the house in which the children are-the cells alike, the rooms different.
B. Compare several honeycombs with houses known to the children. Houses differ-all cells are alike.
C. Lastly, compare the work of the insects at different periods with the work of man-the former never varies, the latter improves by practice, and imitation of the work of others.