Monday, July 1, 2013

Nature Study Monday: Butterfly!

Well…after only 8 days our butterfly emerged from his chrysalis!!    We had given it 2-3 weeks, so we were blown out of the water that it happened so fast.   That morning, I had just cleaned out the leaves in the bottom of his box, since they had gotten pretty yucky just sitting there for the last week and didn’t really notice anything too unusual.    About an hour or so later, we were having our regular morning tea-and-reading time and I asked one of my normal questions: “So, does anyone have anything that I should add to our nature log?”   Michelle looked up and was the first to spot that something had changed….
Needless to say, the original plans for the rest of the morning were thrown out the window so we could sketch and observe before he was ready to fly away.  As best as I can tell from the online research that I did, I am pretty sure that he is a “Wandering Donkey Acraea” or more properly an Acraea neobule.   (You can read more about the Acraea genus here, and specifically about the Acraea neobule here.)
Closer-up look at the empty chrysalis.  You can see where he burst out at the head, and the silky threads he used to attach the other end to the lid of his container.

 Around 3 o’clock that afternoon, we noticed he was trying to climb out of the container and opening and closing his wings.   We took him outside onto the porch, Michelle’s friend who was playing at our house coaxed it to climb onto her hand, and a minute or so later he flew away.
This is Michelle’s journal entry.  I love that she added the little border across the top that basically shows all the stages in the life-cycle of the butterfly.  I didn’t tell her to do this.  Nor did we do a formal lesson about it.   She was just inspired to add that by the informal discussions we’ve had as we observed this little guy over the past couple of months.  This, my friends, is yet another thing that I love about Charlotte Mason education!
I also loved this little conversation between my two younger ones, ages 5 and 3:
James (age 5, spoken very seriously and matter-of-factly): “Chewleaf [the name given to the caterpillar] did something different today.  He became a butterfly.”
Elizabeth (age 3, spoken very loudly and exuberantly): “GOD DID IT!  God made him a butterfly!!”
Her little comment resonated with me too.  That very same morning I had just been reading in Romans 12:1-2 where Paul reminds us not to be conformed to this world but be transformed.  The commentary I was reading with it (RC Sproul’s St Andrews Expositional Commentary)  reminded me that the Greek word for transformed is “metamorphosis”.   Sound familiar?   The commentary goes on to say: “We use that word to describe the transition a caterpillar undergoes in order to become a butterfly.  The word indicates a radical change of form….The prefix ‘trans’ added to the word ‘formed’ means “above and beyond the forms of this world”…We are not conformed to this dying age, but our lives are transformed by the power of God.”
Yes, little one, God made Chewleaf the Caterpillar into a Beautiful Butterfly.   And when we trust Jesus to be our Savior, He sends the Holy Spirit to work the same kind of transformation in our lives.   He promises to complete the good work that He has begun in us and to make all things beautiful in His time.   What a beautiful reminder the butterfly is of this promise!


  1. Beautiful! We did this one year, and our boys just loved it!

  2. I love this post. Thank you!