Monday, February 11, 2013

Cattail on a blustery day

For science we read a little book called Outdoor Secrets by Margaret P Boyle. There are some very darling little living stories about nature. One is called the Sower. And it is about the wind. Today was a very blustery day and on our walk we come upon some cattails by the dried creek. My little Doll wanted to test out how the wind would blow the seeds. First, she discovered how easily they come from the pod, and secondly how amazingly soft they are. Her words described it perfectly, 'this would make a lovely fairy pillow.' We were amused by the wind tossing them in all directions. It was fun watching the seeds float off like snow. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Spring is 'snake' season

With our style of learning (Charlotte Mason) we use hands on learning for nearly everything we are interested in knowing. Today's hike is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. We know the seasons have changed and we have experienced our garden growing beautifully. We have discussed that animals begin to come out of hibernation in the spring. We were out for an adventure at a lake and decided to go for a short hike. The flowers are blooming and the trees are full of green shady leaves. The birds are calling out warnings of us being in the nature neighborhood. We hike for a mile and see a dead turtle, a moss coved pond, a field where there used to be Indian Burials, and many spiders waiting for their lunches. On the way out of the trail we were enjoying the many butterflies and birds. So in other words, we weren't really paying attention to where we were stepping. With my husband in the lead, we chased a butterfly, trying to capture it feeding on camera. When, all of a sudden, the Doll yells, "Mom! A SNAKE!" I say calmly, " where baby?" and as you might be assuming, it was right in front of us, a step away. Daddy, must have just missed stepping on it because it was sunning itself and was completely stretched out. As it curled up its neck in defense to strike we carefully took steps backward. The snake made a u-turn and headed back into the bush. My little girl was a little shaken by seeing a snake respond in such a way, (the zoo snakes are usually sleeping in a lump: ) I just reminded her that ,"it's spring Baby, and the animals,including snakes, are excited to be out of hibernation. The forest is their home, you know."  Several key learning points-  A- snakes live in the forest, like to sun on the warm dirt trail, and are just as afraid of you. - so in a way you were lucky to see a snake :) B- spring is a time for animals to wake up from hibernation, hiking in the forest and hiking around the park are two different hikes -always pay attention to where you are stepping! C-park rangers don't always have the answers for your questions.- " aww, yeah, that was ahhh black snake" hmmm well, we knew that much:) The funny/cool thing about the days events, is that the next day at the library she only wanted to check out books about snakes. I also heard her say to someone, her favorite animal is an anaconda:) and finally, she came up with the slogan, 'spring, is snake season.'  Could she have learned about spring, hibernation and snakes from a book, of course. Will she forever remember seeing the long(4ft) black snake stretched across the whole path on a warm spring day, definetly!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Nature hike in the evening

Sometimes, changing one piece of your routine, will give you a fresh point of view. One example, is to take a walk at different times during the day. We usually take a walk anytime around lunch -before or after- either around the neighborhood or at a park with a path. It's nice for fresh air and exercise, but it's also a great time to chat. I like to take that time to reflect on ideas we've been learning to see what other questions she still might have. Then make a note of books we should try to find at the library. Today we had errands to run at lunch and missed our midday walk/chat. So, having a lovely evening, we went on a walk after dinner. The first animal we noticed were bunny rabbits. There were many new bunnies hopping from tree to tree nibbling grass. The second were cats, we saw two black cats on the prowl. And finally we saw some fireflies. We gently caught one and took it home for a mini observation. Fireflies are so amazing! It was so cool to watch it explore it's jar. We noticed it didn't want to share its light while in the jar. So after about 15 minutes we released it. As soon as it flit out it buzzzed a bright light as if to say, thanks, it was nice to meet you. Teaching the names of bugs, and their habitats is a small piece of the lesson. The lesson was  really on compassion and being gentle to all God's creatures. How awesome it is to see the lesson take root:)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Peaking at Nature

Our backyard is a little weedy and we're trying to not use spray this year. With such a lovely sunny day we headed to a particularly clover filled section to pull some weeds. She has enjoyed laying here in the little white flowers watching the clouds float through the sky. While we were digging around we found this furry caterpillar. What fun it was to watch it crawl around and around. After we finished pulling the weeds we returned our fuzzy little friend back to it's home.

St Patrick's day

A memorial breakfast of green milk and mint cookies was followed by some stories about St Patrick. We read Tomie dePalo's, Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland, and The Story of Saint Patrick's Day by Pamela Levy. And for the fun of it we read The Leprechaun who lost his rainbow by Sean Callahan. I also tried to pull the 'leprachan's made everything a mess routine', but she's just not up for any nonsense these days.... She said, "Ok, well who did it you or daddy? " Sooo, the lessons on truthfulness and what's pretend and real have really taken root in our little five year old. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

3.14 National Pi Day

She's a long way off from measuring with Pi but understanding that it measures circles and making an edible circle is something she does understand:) For the fun of it we made our very first chocolate pie for National Pi day.


Wonderful News! All 5 of our butterflies have made their  chrysalis. And interestingly, so have the ladybugs in sorts.... The lady bugs did not make use of  a fancy case, They just used their last exoskeleton to change inside of. They also hung upside down like the caterpillars, but they still looked like the pupa stage. The Doll is taking very careful notes on this discovery. Also, since the butterflies have now all made their chrysalis, we moved them into the net habitat. So in about 7 more days we'll have butterflies and lady bugs