Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Toads, Grasshoppers, and Fireflies

I like for my kids to spend as much time outside as possible. Aside from how stimulating it is and how good it is for them developmentally and creatively, the sun and fresh air is the healthiest thing. I also love how much they learn from their explorations. During the school year, AJ in particular spends hours outside exploring with our next-door-neighbor, Adrien, finding various subjects to study.

This past year, the Lord often had AJ's discoveries parallel what we were studying in homeschooling. For instance, one week we got a bunch of books out on frogs and toads. And then the Lord sent a tree frog to sit on our window and croak at us two days in a row. The kids were climbing over each other to watch it on our window. Below, AJ found a really large toad in the backyard:

There's Gracie in the background eagerly watching over her brother's shoulder.

Another week, the Lord sent two different turtles to lay their eggs before the children - one in our backyard and one in our front yard. We found the one in our front yard just as I was going out to pick up Gracie from her morning kindergarten bus stop. We were mesmerized by how deep the turtle wiggled its legs into the dirt as it dug a hole. And then how the turtle replaced the dirt and grass on top of the hole, so that you couldn't even tell that the grass had been messed with. This makes sense in terms of camouflaging the hole from predators. 

For a few weeks, AJ was obsessed with studying and watching ants. So we got a couple of books on them and anywhere we were, even if we were inside a building, AJ would notice an ant and tell me what he read about ants in his library books. And as he would hold my hand as we walked to the backyard together, he would say, "Mom, have you ever noticed how the dirt around ant hills are different than regular dirt?" And he explained how the anthill bricks you see outside an anthill is dirt mixed with ants' saliva (I think?). Anyway, I love to listen to AJ explain to me all these amazing things about the world around us, even if I don't retain the infomation as well as he does =P

This week, AJ found a grasshopper. While I was in my room changing, apparently, he ascertained a water bottle, inserted the grasshopper, and I found him outside with a fork, poking holes into the foil he had covered the top of the bottle with so the bug could breath. Since we were planning a library trip for that day anyway, he then begged me to immediately take him so he could find some books to tell him what he needed to feed the grasshopper. (Don't worry. We did release the grasshopper by the end of the day.)

And in July in New Jersey, one must always catch fireflies! We caught the male ones flying around and Gracie found a couple female ones in the grass. And the fireflies lit up for each other, as we watched them before bed.


  1. It sounds like all three of you are having fun homeschooling! I wish I could just pop over to see you and catch up with each others lives.

    1. wish you could just pop over too! maybe you should some time =)

  2. I love it that AJ is so inquisitive and that he can explore and read up on what he discovers! Wonderful!

  3. So cool...makes me want to go research ants ;-) And I LOVE the new heading...you look stunning!