I distinctly remember the very worst assignment I ever received in grade school. In the sixth grade, every student was required to turn in a bug collection at the end of the year - the magnum opus of sixth grade science.
I was an over-achiever. (Clearly, not much has changed.) I couldn't receive a grade lower than an A. I did the work, but I still remember vividly the torture I endured. Anyone who knows me is aware of my ridiculous fear of bugs. I run, I scream, I stomp, I spray an entire can of bug spray at them. I've gotten better in the years since I've started gardening, but bugs are still definitely not my favorite thing.
Quite the opposite for my darling eldest daughter. "See Mom? Even someone who's afraid of bugs like you are can raise a kid who is courageous and brave!" Gee, thanks, kiddo.
It all started when our Really Cool Neighbor brought over a dead dragonfly he found while out hiking. We bought some foam core, some straight pins, and rustled up some "bug collecting gear" - a little jar of alcohol, a couple of pairs of tweezers, and a magnifying glass.
The process is simple - drown the bug in alcohol, then lay it out on the board and impale it with a straight pin. I hate bugs. I find this process somewhat appealing. It's the actually acquiring the bug part that's a little hard for me to face. Thankfully, I'm no longer in the sixth grade, and I can make my kid do it herself, like my mama made me.
The funny thing is, my kid's only in second grade, and she's doing this solely because she wants to.
This monster of a spider has been hanging out in the middle of my green beans for several days now. I've been afraid to pick beans, but not any more. My crazy kid just scooped him right into the alcohol, and he was dead as a doornail in seconds. I about screamed just watching her get him, though!
We found this yellow jacket already drowned in the wading pool - a prime spot for finding stinging insects that won't cause harm.
We'll be on the look out for more cool bugs now - fall seems to be a great time to find them. The nice thing about homeschool is that she doesn't have to be done when the school year is over, she can just keep on going with it as long as the creepy crawlies interest her.
And meanwhile, I'll try get creeped out at the thought of all the dead bugs on a shelf in my basement.