Thursday, October 20, 2011

Critter Zoo

Rogue learning got in the way of my scheduled plans for this week. We woke Tuesday morning to a glorious fall day. I threw the boys outside to enjoy the weather while it lasted. Rain was predicted for most of the day Wednesday and some of Thursday, but Tuesday was perfect. The forecast was a bit of a bummer considering the fact that a homeschool day at Hershey Gardens was scheduled for Wednesday after being re-scheduled due to rain about FOUR times. They finally gave up and permanently canceled it.

Close to the time I wanted the boys to come in for our work in the classroom, I realized they were in the midst of a massive project. They were creating various habitats for animals they had found in the yard and making their own critter zoo. The exhibits included pill bugs, millipedes, woolly bear caterpillars, ladybugs and a red-backed salamander. They had set each up with exactly what they needed, even coming inside for their various handbooks to research what each animal needed for food.

salamander habitat

I realized there was no need to drag them in the house to sit and 'have school' when they were learning with wild abandon on their own. And then they made a fantastic discovery! EM found a northern ring neck snake under a paving stone. It was only about 6 inches long, probably born this spring. We managed to get it into a jar. The picture here is not very good. I just couldn't get a clear shot because he was hiding.
camera shy snake

After doing a little research to identify our snake, we found that he might make a good pet for our classroom. That meant a trip to the pet store for supplies. Tonight we moved Grima (named for a Tolkien character in The Two Towers) into his/her new home.
classroom terrarium
Our classroom is starting to be a bit cluttered. Between the terrarium for Grima and the critter cage for Zim, the hissing cockroach, it's starting to look like a menagerie!
When we were checking out at the pet store, the boys were telling the clerk all about our pets. He said, "You are lucky to have such a tolerant mom!" I had never really thought about it, but I guess not all moms are happy to have the kinds of pets we do. I'm happy to continue sharing in their wonder of the world, just as long as they never ask for a spider...

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