If I am being honest, when homeschool friends would push to get outside and learn about nature--- I would just roll my eyes. It's hot 95% of the year here. It's sticky. Humid. Nasty. I mean, what can you really learn from a leaf? or tree? or in this case.. a spider.
Well, now that I've given in a bit, I realize that it opens up the world of curiosity for us. Nature is beautiful.
Here's the perfect example:
We have been finding spiders near our house--- in particular under the awning. We always throw it off as " oh, it's just a banana spider." My experience with these "banana spiders" are that they don't ever move even if you mess with their web, so I am not too concerned with them being near. As long as it doesn't crawl on me or jump on me, we are good.
We were hurricane-prepping (yes, that's a thing here in South Louisiana) and my son noticed a spider with an egg sack on the wiring we had over our old garden. He snapped a pic and sent it to me--- "Mom, she must have laid eggs."
At the time, I didn't notice the egg sack. What I noticed was ANOTHER banana spider around the house. Or so I thought.
I made a comment asking him how he knew the spider laid eggs and he said "because of the two huge egg sacks next to her." Since it was cooler outside, we decided to go take a look.
Part of our schooling this year is learning how to properly research. I do believe Facebook ****gasp**** can be a great resource.
Let me explain. There are thousands of groups on Facebook. Some are for entertainment, some are to share great, valuable information.
Such is the case of Bug Identification Group - People Helping Others ID Bugs
I've used this group in the past to ask about other bugs we have found in the yard or neighborhood. Like this gorgeous Luna Moth that found her place underneath our boat.
After posting the picture of the what we thought was a "banana spider" I realized that it was NOT indeed a banana spider, but an Argiope aurantia - Black and Yellow Argiope.
Apparently the two are often confused. I googled Argiope aurantia - Black and Yellow Argiope (this name was provided to me in the Facbeook group above--had I not had this group to ask in- I would have NOT known what to search for)--- vs Banana spider and came across this source:
Here's what I learned:
Argiope aurantia (black-and-yellow argiope spider) :
N. clavipes (banana spider):
Now that the differences have been pointed out, it seems so obvious that they are indeed----- different.
So what did nature teach us today?
How do we plan to further our research?
Update as of 9/27/21:
Jon has done some research on the differences between the two on YouTube. He shared with me some interesting facts that I was not aware of. This week, I plan to make him learn about the anatomy of one of spiders and to draw a diagram for me. He's great at drawing. I am excited to see what he does with this!
As a homeschooling mom who found that her children thrived more when living life together instead of being stuck in a classroom 8 hours a day, I turned my love of travel and educating my kids into the perfect mix: unschooling.