It was early October of 2005. We were at one of the local outdoor malls on one of those days when winter is drawing closer to its appearance; it was cold and rainy. While we were walking, we saw a monarch butterfly on the sidewalk looking completely bedraggled. We found a cup in our car, and once the butterfly got into the dryness and warmth of our car, she immediately came back to life, fluttering around wildly. We decided we didn't want to turn her back out into the cold and damp, so we took her home and temporarily let her free in our bathroom, where she had room to fly. We had stopped on the way for a better temporary carrier for her, and some hummingbird food, the best thing we thought we could provide to nourish her. We did some research to discover that Mona was indeed a girl monarch, and that butterflies drink with their long tongues, and taste with their feet. Here you see Mona checking out the hummingbird food.
I contacted via email a group involved in tracking the yearly migration of the monarch butterfly, and was told that Mona could still make it to Mexico if she was released. So we simply waited a few days until the weather was sunny, and warm enough, and set her free, after a few pictures to remember her by.
She flew right up into the sky until she was over our house, and then headed almost due south. We like to think that she did indeed make it to Mexico, and that her descendants are still flying around somewhere.
What really brought her to mind was a comment that the Dancer made about a month ago. She is excelling in her math and science classes, and is taking Honors Geometry and Honors Biology in high school, next year, so we're not ruling out a STEM career of some sort in her future. She mentioned that she might want to have a job studying butterflies, because of her experience with Mona. That surprised me, because of how long ago our butterfly adventure took place, but it made me happy that it had left such an impression on her.
Tying it in to the article above, however, the author asserts that public school will kill the enthusiasm of the "wandering bug-studier." Granted, we were homeschooling when this all took place, but it was completely extra-curricular and spur of the moment. We could have done all of the above even if the girls were attending a public school, especially since we discovered Mona over a weekend. And the kids that my girls were friends with before we started homeschooling would at the very least not have shot down their interest. They might have thought it was interesting themselves, even if they would not have enjoyed the experience so much. The Dancer had even done a very simple "lesson" on butterflies in her preschool class.
I hate to see myself becoming an advocate for public schools, but the continuous stream of articles describing public school as nothing ever but a soul-sucking waste, make my contrarian nature want to respond that while public school is not perfect, it is in no way one hundred percent the same for everyone, everywhere. I'll probably respond more to this article in future posts, but this one was mostly to use as a jumping off point for another adventure in learning that I wanted to share.