Sunday, April 10, 2011

More Lessons to Learn...

A visit to the Homestead is always a learning lesson for the boys.  I love visiting my parents because there is so much rich tradition to soak in.  I hadn't planned to stop over to visit today but my sister and niece were visiting so I dropped in and inadvertently interfered in wood cutting day.  I wasn't prepared to help much much I kept the kids out of the way and out of the creek while managing to get some cute photos of them playing in the woods.  

The entire walk back to the creek was one giant learning lesson with Grandma as our tour guide.

First, she stopped to show the boys where a raccoon was perched high in a tree, sleeping its "night" away.  

As we walked through the park and down the path, she made sure to point out every deer track and even found the tunnel made by a mole in the dirt.  She doesn't just make sure the boys see them, she tells stories, uses details to teach them about the animal that made the track or why they travel/eat/hunt/sleep the way they do.  It's a learning lesson for ME and love watching my boys soak it all up!

 When we got to the creek, we learned about water currents, tadpoles, water spiders, gravity, and more.  It's remarkable what there is to learn simply by being outside.

We found some "eatin' grass" (chives) the boys got to sample.

 And then stopped again to inspect the tunnel made by the mole.  Fascinating stuff!

At work I write grants for the youth in our service and have recently learned of a very real phenomenon called Nature Deficit Disorder.  Richard Louv wrote a book entitled Last Child in the Woods about this problem and spotlights a "trend that children are spending less time outdoors, resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems." (Wikipedia) There are real world lessons to be learned by getting outside and taking in what nature has to offer.  Everything from Math to Science can be learned simply by getting out and surrounding yourself with the sights, sounds, smells, and happenings in nature.  It amazes me the differences in children who have experiences like my children are afforded and urban kids who don't get outside to learn such lessons. It makes me even more grateful for my upbringing, my amazing family, and the legacy that I get the share with my children. 

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