Archives for May 16, 2017

Sharing Nature

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I was at Lowe’s picking up paint last week and decided to save Jonny some time and buy myself a few Mother’s Day gifts. We have an area behind the sink here perfect for houseplants, so I bought a couple small ones along with a violet. Amidst my childhood memories of places and events, there are fond memories of specific plants. The banana shrub at my grandmother’s house in Gadsden, and a potted violet at my dad’s house on Missionary Ridge. A few years ago I planted a couple of banana shrubs, but I think we are just too far north for them to thrive here, and neither made it. I’m not sure why I’ve never bought myself a violet, probably lack of a good spot for it, till now. When I arrived home from Lowe’s, I whispered to Jonny that there were some surprises for me in the trunk of the car, and he should move them to a hiding spot. I looked forward to potting up those plants and setting up my little space behind the sink for the next few days. On Sunday morning, I was surprised with my gifts and then Jonny took the kids out for a couple of hours. I potted my plants and tidied the kitchen and then worked on birthday gifts for Silas and Mabel. It was a lovely morning. My younger kids are still a bit confused by the whole thing and keep accusing me of buying my own Mother’s Day gifts. I guess at some point they’ll read this post and my secret will be out.

We just wrapped up our homeschooling co-op year and for my last class I chose to focus on nature study with my kids, despite the fact that my class is based on stories, mainly historical fiction. It was a free day though, so I thought it would be fun to share something different, something that comes more naturally for me. It’s always most fun to share what you love, isn’t it? This is the reason my children know how to identify trees better than they can name state capitals. To prep for the class I took my own children on a walk to gather anything of interest that I might share with my class. We filled a couple of baskets and had so much fun spreading everything out on the table and discussing our finds. The next day at class, I read one of our favorites, (affiliate link) A Year Around the Great Oak, and then shared all of the bits and pieces that we had gathered the day before. Then I took my class on a nature walk and we did a lot of observing. I think that it is good to teach children to slow down and actually observe their surroundings. It’s easy to race around and play outside and never take notice of the diversity of life that is all around you, and that is okay. But it’s a wonderful thing to pause and really notice and study all the tiny pieces that make up the big picture of our beautiful Earth. I taught the kids how to tell the difference between a maple and a sweet gum, explained to them that those beautiful lichens are actually a combination of two organisms, but maybe most importantly, I demonstrated an enthusiasm for nature. Not everyone gets excited to identify plants, but children tend to be easily affected by an adult’s example. We really had a lovely class, a wonderful way to end the year. And now my children at home are asking to take nature walks every day and it makes me happy to hear their shouts of excitement over the simplest and most common of things found on the forest floor.

In other news, I’ve been working on a project with a close friend that is making me really happy. It involves Scripture, and journaling, and my photography: specifically flower photography! I haven’t felt quite this excited about something in a long time. I’ll be able to share more in a couple of weeks! I think that many of you will love it. I hope so!!!