Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Seed Hunt - December Challenge

Outdoor Hour button
It was one of those mornings today....you know what I mean if you have young children.   It was one of those that I am tempted to complain about.  I have a huge list of what went wrong.  I had many good reasons to drop our nature study today,  however I have committed to be faithful to homeschool my children.  I find that the Lord meets me every time I get over  each little barrier and into His marvelous grace.  There was plenty that went right this morning, it just didn't go as planned.

We began by reading A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long.   This is a gorgeous book wonderfully written and illustrated.  It reminds me of Lynn Cherry in that it pulls in many "field guide"  drawings as you read.  Even the end papers are littered with drawings of seeds.  My boys wanted to know the names of every single one.  We were off to a great start.  The plan was to go to our normal walking path at Moreau Park and collect seeds and anything else that we found of interest.  Also we wanted to check in on our beaver tree.

We piled into the car and drove over to the park.  When we arrived the inside gates that lead to our favorite path, they were bolted shut.  When I stopped by the ranger station to inquire about the gates, I was informed that they would be closed until spring.  I explained that my boys had been studying the tree that the beavers have been taking down.  I asked her if it was down yet.  I think she thought I was a bit off my rocker.  She then said that she didn't think that they had it down yet.  The road is quite  long for a walk with three little children in the rain, so I needed another location for our study.  The boys were disappointed and eager to get fresh dirt in their boots.  Suddenly I remembered that my father-in-law had a piece of property that the boys had not been to, so we headed in that direction.

When we got there the rain had let up and we headed down the path in search of seeds.  First we saw this.
The brush had prickers on it, but we took a sample for our drawings later.

As we continued down the path toward the pond we came across a tree that had shelled nuts of some sort.

We were not sure what kind of tree it was.  "I" collected some samples into his pockets and we continued.

We found a huge patch of Queen Anne's Lace.  I was thrilled that the boys recognized it immediately.  Even amongst all the other overgrown weeds, they still spotted it.

By the bank of the pond we found a second type of red berry, and some Sumac.  The boys knew that as well and said that it could give a rash, so they left that alone.  They spotted ice on the pond and were very excited.
We also found a white birch with some seed cones.

As the boys were running back to the car, I noticed my favorite find of the day....

I have no idea what the tiny red flowers are, but they were growing amid some moss.   I was very surprised to see something flowering in December.  What a blessing.  It completely lifted my spirits.  In this dreary, cold, wet weather there are sweet little flowers poking their heads up to the light.  The Lord was surely teaching me that no matter what our circumstances are, that we can lift our faces to Him.  In addition I know that we will continue to press and get out this winter to discover whatever He has in store for us to find.  We all are learning!

When we returned home the boys completed their drawings on the December World notebook pages.  Most of their drawings focused on the seeds we collected.  We completed the drawings together and then the boys dictated to me what they saw on our "Outdoor Hour."


Melissa said...

Seriously a wonderful time 'studying' nature together! Way to go!

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

I love A Seed is Sleepy!

Your photos tell the wonderful story of your nature study this week. I love the many things you were able to tie into as you took your walk and amazing that your little guys recognized the Queen Anne's Lace in this season of brownness. :)

Thank you so much for sharing your December World.

Hollinger Family said...

A fabulous outing! I love the outdoor hour; our family has been following the idea behind the scenes for quite some time... nature is always intriguing! =)