Even though we learn at home all year, during the summer we focus less on book learning, and more on personal projects.Â This year the children took archery classes and Mark and Allan worked on a few projects together.Â Audrey learned a lot about butterflies.Â Adrian learned how to ride a bike.Â Andrea did different things she was interested in.
But we always have one special day that we call “the first day of school”.Â Today was our official first day of school.Â Megan is a preschooler, Adrian is in third grade, Audrey is in sixth and Andrea is in seventh grade.Â Mark is a tenth grader!
We are looking forward to a fun year!
Audrey has spent the summer learning moreÂ about raising butterflies.Â As a family we have been raising them for seven years, but she has done most of the work for the last two.
Early this summer, she found a caterpillar she never raised before anchored to the shed.Â When it formed a chrysalis, she wanted to bring it in so she could watch it, but we could not figure out how to safely bring it inside.
We researched on how to move chrysalises safely and a few days later we went out to bring in a new chrysalis.Â We discovered that something had come and eaten it.Â She was very disappointed.
So she began practicing moving chrysalises.Â Audrey rescuedÂ two chrysalises that fell from the aquarium wall she keeps them in.Â She practices anchoring those whose cremasters are on leaves that dry out or on flimsy sticks.
Now, when we find our next chrysalis, she will know how to bring it safely inside.
Isaiah 26:3-4 (ESV) You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
The wonder of releasing a new butterfly never grows old.
One of the many benefits of teaching my children at home is that we discover a lot of fun poetry!
A Song of Toad
By Kenneth Grahame
The world has held great Heroes,
As history-books have showed;
But never a name to go down to fame
Compared to that of Toad!
The clever men at Oxford
Know all there is to be knowed.
But they none of them know one half as much
As intelligent Mr Toad!
The animals sat in the ark and cried,
Their tears in torrents flowed.
Who was it said, â€˜Thereâ€™s land aheadâ€™?
Encouraging Mr Toad!
The Army all saluted
As they marched along the road.
Was it the King? Or Kitchener?
No. It was Mr Toad.
The Queen and her ladies-in-waiting
Sat at the window and sewed.
She cried, â€˜Look! Whoâ€™s thatÂ handsome man?â€™
They answered, â€˜Mr Toad.â€™
The motor-car went Poop-poop-poop
As it raced along the road.
Who was it steered it into a pond?
Ingenious Mr Toad!
It has been cool this summer so the kids have not enjoyed playing in the water as much as normal.Â However, it was nice enough for water play yesterday and Megan entertained me with her silliness for a long time.
The bugs in our garden seem awfully big this year!Â Must be the wonderful weather.
Megan found this butterfly sunning itself in the grass.Â She watched it for awhile before attempting to catch it.
Audrey has been letting a few butterflies go every couple of days. She waits until she has five or more and then she releases them all together.Â Since she has been finding so many caterpillars, most butterflies only stay in the house one night.Â Usually, when we release butterflies, they fly away quickly. So learning to take pictures of them as they fly away has been a fun challenge.
Audrey released three Monarchs and two Painted Lady butterflies yesterday.Â While we were in the field, I found a huge caterpillar.Â Audrey voiced my thought thatÂ it would be neat to get a picture of the butterfly flying above the caterpillar.
It was fun trying to get the picture we were attempting.Â I was on my back so I could focus up.Â Audrey would place the butterfly and then move her hand away. The butterfly would fly away and then stop for a snack.Â Audrey would bring it backÂ so we could try again.
I ended up deleting a bunch of pictures. Audrey and I had a lot of fun and I learned a lot.Â The most important was that Monarchs fly a lot faster than you think!