Outdoor Hour Challenge #4 - Choosing a Focus Area - Insects
Once again, I feel as if we are "out of order" with our Outdoor Hour Challenges but I want the children to be able to enjoy them all and not miss out on any of Barb's wonderful ideas. This worked great for us because we started "school" last week and our first term's nature study "focus" is going to be insects. I love Barb's ideas so much - we essentially created our term "focuses" based on what she had planned :).
So - we have been focusing on insects. You can see from our last few blogs about the squash bugs, butterflies, and moths - we've been QUITE enjoying it! I can NOT wait to work on this week's Bee's Challenge! They are fascinating to me so I'm excited. I think today will be a library trip for more books on bees since our Outdoor Hour Challenge happened accidentally last night!
If you read many of my posts - you will see that I prefer the Charlotte Mason method of homeschool. And the more I pray on my homeschool decisions and topics - the more natural things seem to occur. As a mom who feels "called" to homeschool - this only encourages me and I LOVE IT! There is nothing better than feeling the Lord's presence in important things that you do! And for all homeschooling moms -- what WE do to me - is one of THE most important things that women can be called to do!
What does this have to do with our Virgin Tiger Moth? Not much :) but since I have been so incredibly blessed to have these challenges fall into our laps almost - I wanted to give praise to our Creator for making things so clear to me - and hope that helps someone else!
Our focus then is going to be insects and we have been blessed to have Barb's challenges every week for an extra "umph" to help us out! The kids have really enjoyed it and just like with every other Nature Study term - hop right in! I'm always amazed at the knowledge they soak up when we do indeed use the CM methods! From my son identifying the squash bug nymphs to all three of them narrating to me the differences between arachnids and insects during our nature study on the golden orb spider last week simply because the Lord put the beautiful creature there so we caught him to sketch and observe and then it NATURALLY led right into the discussion about the differences in our spider and the insects we'd been learning about.
I can not express to you (especially those that have never tried the CM method before) the joy and peace that I find when they absorb so much information from the "gentle art of learning" style!
As my husband is getting a drink last night, he looks out of our kitchen windows and exclaims, "What is that big bug on your van?" I (of course lol) take off to the window PRAYING its a NEW insect to study!! Afterall - this is our FOCUS area! Sure enough it was. And it was rather large - I'd say a good 3 inches. I immediately (to my husband shaking his head as if to say, "I should have known better." lol) take off outside in my bare feet to my van and WOW! I was so glad I did!
Here was a BEAUTIFUL moth! And large to me - at least larger then the others we'd been watching around our lights at night. It was just striking. I grabbed the bug jar and brought it in so I could WAKE UP ;) my children to see it! They were ecstatic and not at all upset to be awaken.
It's a great feeling to get "Wow! Thanks mom!" at the end of the day over a part of our Creator's world.
Again- I feel so inclined to say - letting me know in MY HEART that the Lord is at work in our studies! After they were able to look at it- it began to flutter around in the jar and we were PLEASANTLY surprised by a brillant red color on its hind wings and body. It was quite an amazing moth. Probably the most attractive we've seen. I allowed them a few minutes to ooh and aah and talk about it then told them I'd get pictures so they could sketch it in the morning and put them back to bed.
The children's nature journal pages.
I could not find this moth in the HNS but I did find some fairly generic moth observation ideas on page 324 which I used to discuss it with the children.
1. Where did you find this moth? Was it flying by daylight or in the dusk?
2. What is the shape of the moth's body? Is it stout or slender? What colors has it? How is it marked?
Since my children are so young (5, 5, & 6 yo) I used these to get us started in our conversation as they are sketching their journals and we went from there. I had downloaded a free lapbook about butterflies just yesterday from Homeschool Free Share for those of you that enjoy lapbooks. I have never used a lapbook but had been contemplating one over the weekend to add to our studies - we normally notebook but I thought it might be fun and considered giving it a try. We used the Venn diagram to discuss the differences in butterflies and moths.
The kids really enjoyed it! I think we will continue to use this lapbook as we work on our butterfly and moth studies. Here is the excerpt from Homeschool Free Share for this topic:
Butterflies Versus Moths
Butterflies and moths may look alike, but they are very different insects.
-most butterflies fly during the day while most moths will be out and about at night
-butterflies have knobs at the end of their feelers (on their antenna), but a moth's antenna end is feather like or plain
-most butterflies rest with their wings held up above their bodies while moths rest with wings spread out flat
-butterflies usually have bright wings and moths usually have dull colored wings
-most butterflies have slender bodies; most moths have fat abdomens
-butterflies are usually hairless; moths are furry
-butterflies form a chrysalis during the pupa stage of their lives; a moth's chrysalis is usually contained inside a cocoon
-insects, birds and spiders eat butterflies; bats eat moths
Lapbook Component: Butterfly vs. Moth Venn Diagram
I also created an insect "running list" sheet for the back of my kids' nature notebooks. I created one for my son and another for my daughters. I do not have the latin names on here although there is a space for "information". This is more for younger children as mine are 5, 5, and 6 yo's. Please feel free to use it as a running tally for your own kids. :)
Thanks, Barb, for another great study!!!!