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March 17, 2011

Last night we watched in wonder and amazement as our cat gave birth to four beautiful kittens. The children have been waiting and praying for the kittens to be born healthy, and we were hoping that the much anticipated event would occur while we were at home, despite our constant busy schedule. While my son & I cuddled up to marvel at the scene, my book-worm daughter grabbed her science notebook & began jotting down anything noteworthy about what was happening. (Something I am sure only a homeschooler would do…) As the sun came up, I reveled in the sounds of early spring outside our window, as our cat purred contentedly in the box before me, four delicate balls of fur suckling away. New life will soon be blooming all around us as another spring unfolds.

Spring is an ideal time to learn about nature and the cycles of life. While not everyone has an animal at home that is bursting at the seams with new life about to break forth, learning about life and the cycles that different creatures go through can be a stimulating project for this season. Last year, my own children learned about the life cycles of butterflies at their weekly visits to Grandma’s house. They watched the caterpillars triple in size before carefully forming their chrysalis, and then they waited patiently for the butterflies to emerge. Even with only weekly check-ins on the delicate creatures the excitement was evident throughout the whole cycle, and still talked about weeks after releasing the insects to start the cycle anew.

Even now, a year later, they can remember and reflect on the things they learned. They have each written a small piece to share their memories of their experience a year ago:

Butterflies are smart insects.  They fly to warmer places in the winter and always know when it’s spring here so they can return.  They lay their eggs on the way back home.  The eggs hatch in to Larva and begin to eat a lot so they can store up food for when they have no food to eat in their cocoon.  As the larva eat they change in to the next stage, Pupa.  The Pupa stage is when they make their cocoon.  After several weeks in their cocoon,they emerge in their adult form, a butterfly!

Butterflies are good projects for people who stay at home a lot.  It’s also a good project for children to learn the life cycle of a butterfly.  I liked watching them grow.

by Allyson – age 7

We had a project last year at Grandma’s house about butterflies.
I liked to see the butterflies and caterpillars .
I learned that caterpillars poop
a lot .
After a little while, caterpillars go into a chrysalis, then they come out as butterflies.
You would have fun learning the life cycle of butterflies too.

by Jonathan – age 6

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