week 44

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this week. this week right here. whenever i start to doubt myself and question whether this is right for us, i will look back on this week and put myself at ease.

sometimes i feel like i’ve missed out on so much in life and then other times i feel so full and crazy grateful for how beautiful my life is. getting to raise and educate darla in this way is one of the great honors of my life. i can’t believe i get to spend my days romping around the town with her and then sometimes i get to see a human born into this world. it’s nuts.

i hope i can remember how fortunate i am the next time i start worrying about how i’m going to pay bills and afford life.

we spent as much time as possible outside this week. it was absolutely gorgeous. conversations of late are showing me just how much knowledge of science and nature are getting in to darla. it makes me hungry to show her more. how can i show her more?

for those of you just here for the pretty pictures from our week then this is a good stepping off point. please proceed to your nearest exit with caution. thanks for stopping by! come back later, i’ll have more ;-)

those of you interested in this unschooling-thing, stick around.

that spirit deer told me to get out into nature last week and i listened like it was my job because it is. i took her to the audubon center on monday. that day went like this: new obstacle course doings, playground playings, water tower towerings, pond life exploring, woolly bear snuggling and lots of running to and fro. the information we covered ranged anywhere from our feathery friends, to shelf fungus, to dragonfly life cycles, to human anatomy and lots in between.

we ventured to griggs reservoir on tuesday. we walked along the river, tracking a great blue heron and darla collected her choice items for the day. i love how i somehow become the keeper of items during our nature outings. my pockets always end up full of various things she has found along the way.

weds we went hiking in blacklick woods. darla was very fascinated with various nuts and seeds along the trails. she stuffed both her pockets and mine full and inquired about them with the ranger inside the nature center. we saw lots of wildlife on our walk, i think due to the overcast nature of the day, including several does and fawns, a huge buck, chipmunks galore, and two magical albino squirrels that we determined are king and queen of all squirreldom on earth. we rewarded ourselves at the gluten-free bakery afterwards :-)  and darla wanted to take some of the acorns home to the squirrels in our yard because they “probably don’t get too many of those type living around us.” we prepared a plate for them and offered it outside. ummmm the acorns were gone within a couple of hours. i think we have some thankful wildlife in our immediate area now.

maybe this is just the deep breath before the plunge into winter that will keep us locked up indoors but i’ll take it. i’ve determined that my niche in her education is to get her outside as much as possible. because if i can accomplish that then i can certainly do this unschooling/homeschooling thing. and she told me during our woods hike that she wants to continue to do them even during snowy weather so maybe we have some snow hikes in our future this winter.

what else do i want to tell you all about this other than COME JOIN US?  i don’t really write these posts about unschooling to push my views on anyone else, because this is just what is right for our family right now. BUT if you feel so inclined, then please, come join us.

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bird tagging

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the day started out rainy. somehow, even through her own umbrella and a raincoat with a hood d still managed to be soaking wet upon arrival in the car. when she shed her jacket and plopped in her seat, she sighed out “what a dang, darn day” with the exasperation more fit for someone with sixty years her senior. in a short, the day looked to be a rough one starting out.

we’d plans to meet friends at the scioto audubon {you know a usual for us} but we weren’t aware of the fact that every september and october the audubon takes on a big bird tagging project. yeah, you see that up there? those are bags of birds. I SAID BAGS OF BIRDS! although i personally have some conflicting feelings about this process, i feel like it was a great thing for the kids to witness up close. darla was allowed to gently pet a few of the birds. we saw a warbler, a catbird, an american goldfinch and a cardinal.

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after a few hours at the center we hit up the north market because it just seemed like another good thing to do on a rainy day. unschooling helps me see that we’re learning in everything we do. darla LOVES to look at the flowers at the market. we identified several and talked about their prices. and what better way to talk about math than by getting a gumball at the end? commerce is a great area for learning practical math.

so, in the end it was kinda the opposite of a dang, darn day. it was pretty great.

B day celebration

no annual milestone over here, just our letter of the day. and what a B-eautiful day it was, too.

we started of course with breakfast of bread and butter and berry yogurt

it was at this point in the meal that my daughter jumped up and ran out of the room yelling “oh i forgot something.” she returned 20 seconds later wearing her ruby slippers. only her ruby slippers. she stripped out of her sleeper and put on a pair of buckle shoes in a speed that is going to make me very frustrated then next time it takes me 18 minutes to get her in or out of an outfit.

i think she took B day literally and so wearing her birthday suit was entirely appropriate. 

after getting dressed with a lot of attention paid to the letter B – braid with a blue hairband, boots and a birdie shirt we hopped on cordelia and biked to the audubon center for bird learnin’. hence the appropriateness of the bird shirt.

i know i post about the audubon park a lot but it’s by our house and is really a beautiful, magical place. this town does a great job with it’s parks. here’s our little bird watcher.

using the binoculars (the wrong way) to spot what she says is a “jerry bird.” huh?

and there he is. just imagine my sugar sweetness congratulating her for being able to spot an 8 FT PAPER MACHE GULL. ohhh, i laugh at life.

in the center we: read books about birds, bats, bugs, butterflies blah blah blah. visited the salvaged art butterflies which are still holding up with original coolness factor and did some of the center activities testing different bird beak designs.

we discovered a new room with lots of grand activities including bird and butterfly costumes seen here as well as a simulated climbing tree biosphere complete with root system too.

but the greatest resource discovered at the audubon park today….

BIG KIDS

i have previously noticed the magnetic pull that exists between pre-teen/teenage girls and toddler girls – probably toddler boys too but i don’t have as much experience with that. darla first adopted this group of homeschool kids and they were impressed that she knew words such as “audubon,” and  “insect.” i think they were most impressed by her cowgirl boots, though. they then adopted her and entertained her for 15 whole minutes. i ate and entire apple in peace!  all three were jumping, hand in hand, from atop this fire pit thingy, pretending to be birds and chanting “we fly so high in the skyyyyy!” it was very cute and gave me hope that one day darla, too, will grow into a lovely pre-teen and give a weary mother a break by bossing her toddler around for her. thanks again, universe.

a semi-communion with nature

when i say semi i mean that we could still hear the semis speeding along the superhighway. the audubon park is a little nook of nature carved into the cityscape between the two biggest highways that pass through columbus. still, it’s one of our favorite spots to play, bike, hike and spy a little nature. here’s our latest nature hike.

photo 1. our path  2. darla holds my hand; a momentous event  3. our shadows turned out more “poltergeist” than i would’ve liked but, eh  4. she climbed stuff  5. deer tracks!  6. “take heed. for the path you are about to choose will lead to certain destruction!”  7. she enjoyed being able to run as far in front of me as she liked without restriction  8. i realized halfway through the trip that it was incredibly insensitive of me to wear a hat adorned with a feather to a park dedicated to avian conservation  9. you can’t see the little guy but a shrew was in the underbrush rooting for his breakfast. we watched him for ten minutes – a personal record for d’s attention span and ability to stay fairly quiet  10. she climbed more stuff  11. she left “directions” for other hikers so they wouldn’t get lost  12. N is for nature  13. examined moss. i’m going to have to get a magnifying glass to bring along for future wilderness treks  14 & 15 shoulder ride and her turn to wear the hat  16. salvaged item art inside the audubon center.

this trip was the first time we’d ventured inside of the center. wowza, what incredibly wonderful resources and setting. we spent a good hour in the reading library which architecturally consists of 3 walls of glass looking out over the park. lots of birds flying to and fro and stuff. i’m hoping i’ll be able to get darla a jump start on learning plant names, bird species, trees, etc. those are all things about which i wish i had more of a knowledge bank.

it was a very organically educational, carefree day for us. there were many more discoveries and new experiences that i didn’t capture because i did force myself to put the camera away and just be present. i love how everything seems like such a marvel in nature. the pictures don’t even do justice to the weather and the jubilant attitude darla exuded that day. universe, i’d like more days like that one, please.