Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Monarch Butterfly

 Over our years of studies we have enjoyed many Monarch Butterfly hatchings.  This has always been one of our favorite science experiments.  First we'd hike around the yard searching out Milk Weed plants.  Sometimes it would take many attempts and then we'd find a small black and yellow striped fellow nibbling on the Milk Weed leaves.  We would carefully take the fellow and his plant home to our home and place him, or her, in a jar with a piece of screen fitted on the top with a ring, or elastic.  This had to be something easy to remove so that each day the little fellow could have some fresh Milk Weed added to the jar.  After some time the little fellow would grow into a larger, more chubby fellow.  Then he would make his trek to the top of the jar and spin a small piece of thread to glue himself in place.  After this he would hang in a "J" shape until he was ready to go into his chrysalis. Then after about 21 days out comes a beautiful Monarch Butterfly.

Yesterday I went for a walk with my friend and as I left her and continued on by myself I came across a Monarch Butterfly on the side of the road. This butterfly was very tattered. As a matter of fact, one of its wings was partially missing.  But it was flying over some flowers, probably in search of some Milk Weed to lay her eggs.  I remembered what we had learned in our study of Monarchs.  In our part of the country the Monarch Butterflies will spend the summer after hatching and then fly south to the home of their ancestors.  After wintering over in the warmer climate they will head north again to the place of their birth.  This trip is hard enough the first time when they fly south, many hundreds of thousands of miles.  But the trip back north is even harder on the butterfly, which at this time is almost a year old.  Pretty old in insect years.  After this hard trip the butterfly will return to the place of its hatching only to mate, lay eggs and die.  The next generation of butterflies will be born to continue on.  But the spring hatching is different than that of the fall or late summer hatching.  I have heard that this spring butterfly only lives for the summer.  It hatches in the spring, mates, lays its eggs and then dies.  It is incredible to think that the third generation is actually the one that heads south for the winter.  I am just awed by God's incredible design of the Monarch Butterfly.  I think He gave this creature amazing abilities.  Not only does it know where it needs to go, even the third generation, when it has never been there before but that it returns to its birth place, and that it can survive the incredible journey  it must endure.  What a wonderful picture of God's provision and love for His creatures.  How much more He loves those who He created in His own image!  Enjoy God's wonderful creation with your children this summer.  I hope you store up wonderful memories.

Happy Homeschooling!


  1. I hope to share the life cycle of a butterfly with my son this year.

    1. You'll love it I'm sure. Have fun!