When Butterflies Land on Your Wrist

When I began homeschooling my children back in the 1990’s, I dreamed of creating Moments and Memories and Magic.  Some of the time I was successful, but there were lots of “3M” attempts that were royal flops instead.

I had always thought that field trips to bring history to life would be the cat’s meow.  Then we went on a few, and found that all of us — yes, that includes mom — were bored because we didn’t really enjoy studying history unless it was ancient.  (Please, don’t hate!)

We studied mosaics in a co-op once, and it was going to be SO cool to make our own mosaics.  Well, I don’t know how I managed to buy virtually unbreakable mugs for smashing into colored pieces, but it was literally HOURS of violence trying to get those pieces small enough to use in our mosaics.  And then we discovered that those little pieces were sharp!  It was not the magical-memory-making-moment I’d envisioned.

Sometimes, we try hard and there’s a wonderful homeschool payoff.

Sometimes, we try hard and all we have to show for it is a day marked off as “school day.”

But SOMETIMES the moments we never expected to be magical come to life and create a memory all by themselves, without our brilliant hard work.  They are just gifts from God.

A few days ago, my hubby and I visited a botanical garden while on vacation.  He is a landscaper in his heart (and on the side, vocationally), and whenever we travel we try to find a garden place to visit for ideas and inspiration.  I enjoy these trips, but nowhere near as much as Fred does.  I was happy to be there, but I wasn’t expecting magic.

We visited the Children’s Garden (Hershey Gardens, Hershey, PA, for anyone who’d like to visit…) and saw that they had a butterfly house.  I have visited lots of butterfly houses at botanical gardens over the years, and they have always been….eh.  Oh, look, there’s a couple of butterflies hiding on the ceiling.  I’m pretty sure we saw more butterflies right outside the door to the butterfly house than we did in here.

But THIS butterfly house was….OH!  They were everywhere. There were so many varieties.  They were glorious!  There was, of a course, a sign that said, “Please do not try to touch the butterflies.”  Being a respectful sign-follower, I kept my hands to myself.  (My mama raised me right!)

But a few minutes into our butterfly house visit, a butterfly landed on my wrist.  I don’t know if it liked my skin lotion or what, but that little critter just settled in and stayed put.

For close to ten minutes, I got to observe it as closely as I wanted, to feel the tickle of its movements, and to enjoy the feeling that this butterfly CHOSE to sit on my wrist!

For a few moments, my butterfly's friend landed on my other wrist!

Those moments in homeschooling are the best, aren’t they?  They are moments of normal life that are transformed because something we didn’t work for happens….and we are blessed.  Those grace-filled moments make memories.

What unexpected moments have graced your homeschool?

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  1. says

    Once our co-op kids re-enacted being slaves on the underground railroad (a course of “quilts” through a state park laid out by the co-op moms), had to avoid being caught by slave-catcher (Marilyn), and ford a small river to (hopefully) “freedom” in the North (I was the one in charge of deciding what run-away slave laws were being enforced with each group of slaves). Maybe not magical, but it was memorable and terrifying at the same time. The kids still say that was their favorite field trip of all time.

    • Maureen says

      Sabrina et al, wasn’t that particular trip when we found out that “snakes fear me” and some of the rest of us fear snakes?
      And we had a ball during our first Gettysburg trip when we stayed at the hostel and shared our spaghetti with an interesting fellow traveller.
      Overall, we had lots of magical, memorable moments with co-op, basically because we are all pretty fabulous (and humble).

      • says

        That was the one! While I may not love the history like many homeschoolers do, that trip was, indeed, a very special one because of the bonding time the moms from our co-op enjoyed.

  2. says

    We once raised 3 monarch butterflies. A friend brought them and a bunch of milkweed to us. We soon had 2 crysali (what is the plural?) and eagerly waited for the big day.

    Butterfly #1 came out , pumped it’s wings full and we soon released it from our back porch!

    Butterfly #2 came out, pumped it’s wings full but just wasn’t ready to leave us when we tried to release it. It eventually came with us on a road trip and decided to fly free in Lancaster, PA.

    Butterfly #3 came out, pumped it’s wings up but they never filled up, just remained crinkled and halfway raised. Our eldest came up with the best name – Walker! Walker lived in our house in a cardboard box and drank juice and soda from a cotton ball in a bottle cap. He was a wonderful pet!

  3. Marilyn says

    Our co-op trip to Gettysburg is one of my favorites. Of course, the boys liked climbing and jumping on the rocks at Devil’s Den as much as any of the actual history, but it was still memorable.

  4. Maureen says

    Way back in the day, 12 years ago?, I was teaching a co-op middle school group about image making in the literal sense – pixels, MRIs, CAT scans, etc. While perusing my local newspaper, I came across an article about a local company that put holographic images on paper products. Glenside Pulp and Paper was a family owned business with a boring name but really cool products. The proprietor was a graduate of my high school and was trying to bring his second generation company into modern relevance by creating holographic paper. So, like any self-respecting homeschooler, I called and asked if we could do a tour. They had never done one before but decided to give it a shot. That was one of the best homeschool field trips ever! Not only did we see trig on a white board (“That is why you should learn trig…so you can have a cool job like this!), they created a holographic image of our group on a roll of mylar. Totally cool! Their usual charge to create the original image was $1000. Not only did they do that for us for free, they also gave us samples of other products with holographic images. The rest of the field trips didn’t go as well; my eldest daughter fainted during the MRI tour – a memorable moment, but not magical. Of course we did learn that the medical field was probably not for her.

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