The boys noticed ladybug larvae--also known as aphid lions--crawling all over our favorite bench. Woody was concerned they weren't going to find enough to eat there, so he tried to transport some to the mulch.
But when I realized just how many larvae there were and in so many different stages of maturity, I began to suspect it was no accident that they ended up here on the bench. Sure enough, there were lots and lots of other little buggies around, too tiny for me to identify even with my new glasses, that I guessed the baby ladybugs were eating. We went around the bench looking for the egg sacs, and did not find them, but we did find this! On the left there is a ladybug pupa, and judging by the spots it's ready to transform into a bright yellow ladybug any time now! To the right is a good-sized ladybug larva, the stage after egg and before pupa.
Here's another view that shows the pupa even better:
We watched for a while, then went back to playing. At home, we did an Internet search for a better idea of where these two critters fit in the life cycle of the ladybug, and found this site with some really lovely pictures.
A discussion came up on one of the unschooling Facebook pages a few days ago about whether or not adults could be considered unschoolers. I think it's probably misleading to use the term this way since most adults do most of their learning without school anyway, whereas with children, the default in most people's mind is school learning (either in an actual school or at home), hence the need for an alternative term. But the idea of being a lifelong learner, one who takes great delight in exploring the wonders, curiosities, and stories all around us, is such a lovely way of being, and it applies equally well to children and adults.
I think about that on days like today, how lucky I feel to have the inclination and opportunity to go around marveling at the big, wide world and being able to share discoveries with little folks I love so much.