Thursday, August 1, 2013

Butterfly Unit Study: Planting Milkweed

Interested in studying monarchs?

We are!

Unfortunately, we don't have, in our neighborhood, a good source for the milkweed that we'd need to raise monarch caterpillars (a tragedy, since monarchs migrate through Indiana), so we mustn't make the attempt. We CAN, however, buy baby milkweed plants and put them into a sunny spot in our garden so that we can raise monarchs NEXT year!

Also popular in our yard this summer:

books in boxes
more butterflies!!!
blackberries from the most neglected blackberry bramble in the state
painting the driveway, just because they can 
I'm really treasuring these outdoors at home times, because somehow this late summer has spiraled out of control. An adult friend who was homeschooled as a child said to me a few years ago, "Oh, summers are the worst! Not only do you have regular summer stuff, but you've also got all the camps and classes that you can only get in summer, and you've got all the stuff with your schooled friends who only have all this extra time to see you in the summer."

And this is true. We've had swim classes almost every day, playdates with schooled kids, pool meet-ups, park days that last all day, day camps, Parks and Rec hikes, plus all the regular stuff. And I think the over-abundance is showing. Syd, who asked to take an aerial silks class, acted up during it last night, of course right after our long talk about good sportsmanship on the way there. This morning she acted up during the diving class that she had also really wanted to take (fortunately, it was the last class of the season. I don't know what I'm going to do about those three additional sessions of aerial silks, except have more long, apparently unhelpful talks). Meanwhile, Will managed to finish her own swim class in tears (Can a child hate Sharks vs. Minnows more than Willow does? I doubt it). 

And so I think that answers my question to myself about how many outside activities my children should be engaged in. Willow does well with bi-monthly chess club, weekly horseback riding lessons, our weekly volunteer gig, and weekly ice skating classes in season, and she may try out junior roller derby when their season begins. I also may let her take another session of aerial silks after this one, if she wants to, and if I can negotiate logistics around Sydney, whom I do not think I'll permit to take another session right away, unless she has some sort of internal revelation about perfectionism versus long-term effort. Syd did well with weekly ballet classes, although she says she doesn't want to take them this coming semester, and she does well with our volunteer gig, and well enough with ice skating and horseback riding that I'll sign her up again if she wants to. 

Daily structured activities, however, and more than one structured activity a day, have got to go. Summer is over for our local schoolchildren next week, and I think that our own outside, structured activities will naturally settle back down then. We'll have more days revolving around our own homeschool structure and our own wide swaths of unstructured free time. 

Of course, Syd does have day camp all next week, the Humane Society camp that she's been looking forward to all summer. I really, really, REALLY hope that stays fun for her the whole week through.

And just in case it doesn't, maybe I'll give the camp Matt's cell number, not mine...


Tina said...

Wow, that's a busy summer! I love the idea of planting milkweed for next years Monarchs. My mother-in-law always has milkweed growing in her gorgeous gardens just for that reason.

Good idea on giving out Matt's number instead!

julie said...

That busy summer just snuck up on us somehow, I swear! First, we picked a friend up for a playdate at his swim class; the girls saw his class, asked to do it, too, so I signed them up. Then Syd wanted to try diving, so I signed them up for another session after that one. So suddenly we've got swim class almost every day for three weeks.

Then I remembered that I'd been promising Syd for months that after we got back from our road trip, I'd let them try aerial silks. So suddenly we've got an aerial silks class every week for six weeks.

Then I started getting reminders in my email about a few Parks and Rec programs that I'd signed us up for but then forgot about when I lost my old planner, so didn't account for when making my other plans. So suddenly we've got a few days where we've got swimming, and aerial silks, and a big group hike all in the same day.

And then friends want to meet up to go to the pool or bowling. So those things get put on the calendar, too, and then all of a sudden we're all, like, "Holy crap! If we're homeschoolers, why are we never HOME?!?"