Beautiful Butterflies!

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If you have the chance to watch butterflies develop I highly suggest it.

In spring we order caterpillars from Insect Lore’s website

(http://www.insectlore.com/cup-of-caterpillars)

And then set the butterflies free after a couple of days of observations.

Through books and hands on experiences, the kids have learned all about the butterfly life cycle.

They also have learned to be very gentle with butterflies.

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And maybe the butterflies know my kids are gentle or maybe it is their bright clothing, but for whatever reason, butterflies seem to land on and allow my kids to hold them often.

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Here are some great supplies to consider if you are interested in learning more about and raising your own butterflies:

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Update On Us

We homeschool year round, but I have the summer off to some degree. My kids have planned it all out and will be dictating their routines for the most part. A few things are mandatory they must stick in here and there, drum lessons, horse riding lessons, piano lessons, volunteer work, etc…and they have decided to have specific days. ie: Monday is math day, Tuesday is history day, and so on…they plan to make their tv shows, iPad apps, board games, outdoor play, kitchen experiments, etc revolve around the theme of the day. Example, today is spanish day, so they will switch the language to spanish on the DVDs they watch and instead of their go to Pig Latin kid talk, they will attempt to speak spanish when possible, etc…

I do feel like I need to give an update since it’s been a LONG while since I’ve shared what were up to.

A while back I decided to do an experiment and give the kids what we called a “FREE WEEK”…

…in a nutshell, the kids were responsible for their sleeping times, eating times, food choices, entertainment and education. In a very free willy nilly sort of way. I was here to help them when they asked but overall they were in charge of themselves. I deleted everything from the calendar for a week. (Including canceling lessons they did not want to attend)

The point for me was to get a good idea of what they were capable of, how they handled their choices, where they still needed me to guide them, where they were more self sufficent, etc…

I do think much longer then a week is needed for a true assessment. Because a week does feel in some way like a holiday rather then a time to put on your boots and get to work.

I discovered (and more importantly THEY discovered) there were still many areas mom was very needed! Which is a good thing IMHO!

They were very curious why no friends came over to play. I asked them if they arranged any play dates. Hmmm might be the reason. Planning is needed to make things happen. Good lesson for them to learn.

Why they don’t have any clean pants. I asked if they did their laundry? Hmmmm must wash clothes in order to have clean clothes. Another good lesson…but mostly they just realized mom does the laundry and didn’t this week, so they opted to wear alternative outfits over the favorites until mom washed again. (Which spurred mom to buy separate laundry baskets for each child and unknown to them, they are slowly learning to take over their own laundry washing, drying, folding and putting away! Darn sneaky mom!)

Aside from a few really good learning opportunities/discussions. And great examples of what could be handled better, it was a blissful week for ALL of us.

We all were doing exactly what we wanted all day long for an entire week! Yes I did not hear one single bicker from the kids. They were so happy doing their own thing. I accomplished a ton because they didn’t demand as much of my attention as they normally do.

HOWEVER the amount of Minecraft they played was insane for my liking. (I fondly refer to Minecraft as Mindcrap, even though I know there are lots of great learning opportunities around the game…it’s the intensity of time suck I don’t like)

Since it was free week, I figured eventually my son would have his fill, get a neck cramp, something and stop playing…nope, he played the entire week nearly all day every day! My daughter would stop mid day and go do something else, but come back to it in the evening.

They did build some amazing structures, learned a bunch from tutorials online, took on challenges and played well in each others worlds. But like I said the intensity of the Minecraft take over was not a long term OK thing with me, so we had a little Minecraft detox the following week. We are now back on a healthy level of video games from mama’s perspective.

Aside from free week, we’ve had horse riding adventures, rock climbing adventures, and a bunch if fun with friends. Spring time always sheds away the winter chill and gets us outside and active.

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I think repelling is what they love the most!

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And shortly after this adventure they wanted to practice bouldering (no harness, height they are comfortable with jumping down from)

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Recently, my daughter took some of her girl friends on a trail ride (some of her friends had never been on a horse, so you can see trail walkers near each horse for the riders safety) my son played Mindcrap with his friends (the brothers of the horse riders) it was a perfect day for all involved. Haha!

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While school kids are finishing up their last few weeks of school, I hear my public school mama friends tell me about their busy end of school year calendar chaos. It reminds me how very blessed we are to be homeschooling. We are enjoying all this warm weather having fun with friends and not in a busy chaotic frenzy.

Spring is here…Fuzzy Butts and Bud Fuzz

We are sure seeing signs of spring around here.

Our fuzzy butts (aka baby chickens) are settled into their brooder. We have 13 chicks this spring. We will be eating and sharing a lot of eggs with family and friends come this fall.

This year our flock will consist of a variety of breeds, which will hopefully give us a fantastic variety of colorful eggs. We sure have missed having fresh eggs in the house. Unfortunately two years ago a predator made a dinner out of our entire flock one night, leaving not much evidence behind except a couple of feathers from our more feisty hen…named FLOWER haha!

We are also seeing some bud break in the vineyard

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I’m laughing a bit, because I had thought I finished this draft and posted it eons ago…but apparently didn’t and now I can’t find the photos of our darling little fuzzy butt chicks (who are nearly grown now!) nor can I find the vineyard bud break photos…sooo here is what middle of spring looks like around here haha!

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Homeschooling is apparently keeping me busy, but summer is on the way and schooling gets pretty relaxed during the summer months.

Maybe blogging more consistently will be my summer time goal? ( fingers crossed)