Colin’s Butterfly Journal, Day 17

I have observed that the caterpillar cup is on top of the oranges. I think it might be because the butterflies are so strong the lifted up the food cup on the oranges!

I also think that the butterflies bit on the cup and flew and dropped it on the oranges so the juice would squeeze out!

Asked for an alternate explanation: I think the cats pushed the habitat to one side and the cups slid.

Asked which explanation is most likely: I think the one with Shelby [Shelby is our naughty kitten].

The above was dictated by Colin and transcribed by his mother.


Crafty Time!

This is a “topographical map” of the Sea of Galilee. Our Bible story for the week is “Jesus Controls the Weather” and this is one of the supporting activities suggested in Telling God’s Story, the Bible curriculum we are using currently. We like it very much.


The Train That Did Not Want to Be Turned Into Rust

an original story by Mark Edman

One day a train was chugging along when another train met him and gasped out,

“You are going to be turned into rust!” Then the train stopped and said to his driver,

“I’m going to be turned into rust!” Then the driver suddenly gave him full steam and they chugged away at a very fast speed. Then they screeched because somebody was on their track! And he was run over, but that was good, because he was The Junk Man. And the train would not be turned into rust anymore.

The End

Colin’s Butterfly Journal, Day 15

I have observed that the oranges are still in there, but they look a little dry. I think it means that they have drunk some juice.

The above was dictated by Colin and transcribed by his mother.

Colin’s Butterfly Journal, Day 14

I have observed that the caterpillars have broken out of their cocoons– all of them! And one has his wings open. We sliced up a clementine and put it in the habitat for the butterflies to go and drink the juice.

The above was dictated by Colin and transcribed by his mother.

Colin’s Butterfly Journal, Day 13

I observed that one butterfly just broke out of his chrysalis! We are going to transfer the butterfly to the habitat.

Mommy adds: We are moving the other chrysalises as well– we were preparing to move them all this morning when the first little stinker beat us to the punch. Hopefully we can move him without killing him.

A History Narration

The following is Colin’s narration after we read page 113 of the Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of World History. Colin’s answers to my questions are in boldface.

How did there come to be kings in Sumer?


Was there always a king at first?

No. Back in ancient times kings used to be only allowed to rule until a war was done.

Who ruled during peacetime?

Groups of noblemen ruled during peacetime.

Where did Sargon come from?

Sargon came from a city whose name I forgot.



What did he conquer all of?

He conquered Sumer and Akkad.

What did he create when he did that? The world’s first what?

The world’s first empire.

What can you tell me about royal tombs in Ur?

Royal tombs had the dead kings buried with their servants.

Math Frustration Moment Dodged

So this was pretty cool.

Today I was working with Colin on functions and using the number line to demonstrate them. At this level in Miquon, it’s strictly an introduction of concept, not notation, so I wasn’t using the word “function” or the fancy italicized f thingummy. Instead, per the recommendations in the Lab Sheet Annotations, I called them “number games” where I gave him a number to put in a box and then the box had something done to it. So I would write [_] -> [_] + 2 to indicate that he should make a two unit hop on the number line from whatever number I gave him. Example: I give him the number 2, he adds 2 and makes a hop on the number line from 2 to 4 to show it. Easy, right?

We went into this a little handicapped since I have a morning Bible study on Wednesdays, plus then I had multiple errands, and then the salmon needed to go into the marinade for supper, so by the time we got to math it was already 3.30p or 4p– frankly, a terrible thinking hour for anyone.

Colin. Did not. Get it. He was zoning out all over the place and kept asking me to repeat myself and I could feel both of us getting frustrated. I tried using Cuisenaire rods to demonstrate but made the mistake of saying, “Let’s pretend the blue rod is 1 for now.”

“But the blue rod is 9, Mommy!”

Just confused everyone further. Ugh. I was near tears when Colin wailed, “I’m BAD at this math game, Mommy!”


And I sent up a barely coherent, silent prayer for help.

“Nobody is good at first,” I told him, “That’s why we practice.”

I struggled a moment to think of a different way to describe the function without actually calling it a function. Then came a gift, a grace, an inspiration, and I realized that I should call them functions.

“They’re functions,” I said, and he said,

“What’s a function?”

“It’s an instruction that you carry out the same way every time, like [eee, brilliance!] a robot.”

Colin’s entire body stiffened, his face lit up, his arms bent into right angles, and he said, “Ching!” which is his standard “I just transformed into a robot” noise.

“This. Is. Your. Function.” I said in my most nasal, stilted robot tones, “Please. Carry out. Your function. For the number. 2.” Boom. He went at it with glee. We did several repetitions each of four more functions (every time we moved to a different number line and function, I tickled him and said, “Now. It is time. To change your function,” while he cackled) of increasing complexity, and there were only a couple of times where he put down the wrong answer. Even then, he wasn’t discouraged– he just giggled when I waved my arms mechanically and said, “Malfunction! Malfunction!” and then asked him a couple of clarifying questions to help him figure it out.

I was so relieved and he was so relaxed and happy at the end of it. I knew teaching math would challenge my math skills, but I don’t think it would stretch my creativity anywhere near what it has. First honking like a goose, then talking like a robot– perhaps next week I’ll be roaring like a dinosaur. And this is only first grade.

Colin’s Butterfly Journal, Day 8

Today’s entry includes a narration of relevant reading:

The name of the book I just read is Houdini, the Amazing Caterpillar. First, Houdini was an egg. Then he grew up to be a caterpillar with bold stripes, a big smile, and a hearty appetite. Then he performed acts and upgraded them when the people who wanted to see them at first stopped looking. Very few people came. Then he decided to do the most amazing trick of all! He turned into a chrysalis, or a pupa, as you might want to call it. Then he opened his eyes, smiled, broke out of his chrysalis, and he was a big butterfly!

Today the chrysalises look like little plantains hanging from the ceiling.

The above was dictated by Colin and transcribed by his mother.

Colin’s Butterfly Journal, Day 7

I have observed that the caterpillars are all almost in cocoons or already in cocoons. That’s it.

The above was dictated by Colin and transcribed by his mother.