For nature study on a terribly overcast, rainy day we poked around my Areca Palms and tweezered an unsuspecting ant into a clear bug box and read from Anna Botsford Comstock’s, Handbook of Nature Study. It is such a pleasant companion and so enjoyable to read! If ever you are in the nature study doldrums, her writing is the perfect pick-me-up and will enrich your observations.
These little minuscule creatures are so vastly complex and indefatigable! They are mostly female and they work, work, work! We were most surprised to find out that they are as particular about their appearance as cats! They will actually take at least a half hour cleaning their feelers and maintaining themselves. They have little brush pads on their legs and a teeny tiny tongue that will even act as a wash cloth!
Although not all ants become mothers, they are all incredibly maternal. The workers are mostly female and care for the young the moment an egg is laid!
I thought that this too was a wonderful aspect to consider. Sometimes as mothers we’re so busy caring that we overlook the necessity to take care of ourselves. Saturday found me refusing to fly through my shower and taking the time to make my toes look a tad more civilized! Thank you, ants!
In our journals we listed food for thought.
Do ants have a brain? What is in their abdomen? Do ants have muscles? Do ants have taste buds on their tongue? How do they hunt for food? Does each ant in the colony have a different job?
In Charlotte Mason’s words, “The question is not how much does a youth know?… but how much does he care?” When the attention is piqued, when curiosity is roused, when the stage, from this-is-what-I-have-to-know alters to what-else-can-I-find-out? This is when true education takes place. If my student is thinking of the questions, then he is subsequently formulating the answers. I do not have to spoon feed the questions. Let him have the broad view and he will find questions that surpass mine to allow him a closer, detailed observation on the matter.
We were glad we obeyed the Biblical exhortation! Definitely in comparison to this tiny insect that plays such a large role in the ecological maintenance of the soil, we truly felt like we were sluggards! We gave our Creator thanks for not leaving out the little guys to teach us the big lessons!