Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Crab Sex!

Every year we go to Watercolor, FL for our family vacation. And every year at Watercolor, we take the children crab hunting at night (usually 2-3x in the week). This year, we got to the beach a couple of weeks earlier than usual. And we noticed something we have never had the opportunity to see before. It was mating season!

First, we caught a glimpse of these two lovers.

My, what huge arms you have....

You see, the children know many things about mating because they have witnessed the act among dogs and have asked every question under the sun. So to see two crabs mating was immensely exciting (in an educational sort of way).

We kept noticing that the smaller crabs (female) had a orange spongy type sack underneath her hind legs. You guessed it - a FERTILIZED egg sack!

We couldn't wait to get back to the house and begin researching crabs: life cycle, differences between male and female and oh yes, crab sex.

This is what we found out.

Fertilization takes place after the female has molted, so the shell is still soft.

When fertilization has taken place, the eggs are released onto the female's abdomen, below the tail flap, secured with a sticky material. In this location they are protected during embryonic development (it reminds me of how spider mamas carry their eggs on their backs).

Females carrying eggs are called "berried" since the eggs resemble round berries. When development is complete, the female releases the newly-hatched larvae into the water. The release is often timed with the tides. The free-swimming tiny larvae can float and take advantage of water currents.

There are several stages of molts (if you live that long!), until finally the baby crab becomes a "juvenile", at which time it can live on the bottom rather than floating aimlessly with the current.

Finally, a shout out to the CRAB HUNTERS! Creighton Alexander and John Arsenault. What an awesome night!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Raising problem solvers

Often, I feel less than qualified as a homeschool mom....

However, one thing I do well, is to prioritize raising up problem solvers. I make it my educational goal each day and long-term, to teach my children to push through problems toward multiple solutions.

When I look at the young adults I interact with day to day in the service industry, I realize that they have a difficult time solving even the simplest issues. I thrive on finding opportunities to help people push through the struggles they may face - whether with a receipt or an exchange, a substitution at a restaurant or ordering something off menu. When a service associate tells me, "I can't", the hairs on the back of my neck bristle, and I move in for my teaching moment. Don't worry, I am always kind about it. But I do enjoy coaching people into the next solution!

In the mornings, I call the children to school and we pray together. After that, we recite our educational mission:

We ARE energetic self-starters, who can be creative, work independently, and SOLVE PROBLEMS.

In any industry, not just the service industry, these are most often the qualities a boss is looking for. She may not care if we know the life cycle of a Monarch butterfly. He may not ever ask us to sing the US Presidents song. But I guarantee - she/he will take notice if we demonstrate these masterful qualities!