The Seasons as a Guide for Learning

The Seasons as a Guide for Learning

As I walked out of my house Sunday morning, I breathed in the fresh air and sighed contentment.  Bird song surrounded me as I walked along our quiet road.  It was only 6 a.m. and the baby had woken me at 4:45 this morning.  Lately, the early morning light has roused her and then me, too.

So as I soaked up the early summer morning I began to reflect on our week together at home.  It had been busy; strawberry picking, music lessons, time with friends, household tasks, and learning all the time.  Our reading choices this week have been about edible and medicinal plants and botany in general.  The seed for this learning was planted early in the spring when we went for a walk with a good friend and she pointed out ramps (wild leeks) to us.  This one experience led us to learn about how to harvest ramps in a ecologically responsible way, but most of all, it intrigued my children that we could go out into the woods and find food to eat.

About the same time as our discovery of the ramps, symptoms of thrush appeared in the baby.  Her tongue was coated white and her bottom was spotted and red.  I decided to research some herbs to help her.  I made an herbal salve that began healing her bottom at once.  I had long stored bags of herbs in our pantry for tea but all of a sudden, the herbs were more interesting to the children.  They had watched as I added herbs, oil, and beeswax to our little crockpot and they had seen how quickly the baby’s rash had disappeared.  So they began asking questions, wanting to know about different plants and herbs.  Since my knowledge in this area is pretty limited, I began to search out some resources.  (I’ll list them below.)

I came across the cooperative board game Wildcraft, which teaches about a variety of herbs and their uses.  That game alone sparked the kids’ curiosity.  Suddenly, they were looking for the wild plants on our walks and in our backyard.  We began reading a beginner’s guide to edible and medicinal plants, as well as a few botany books.  The oldest 2 children decided to make their own wild plant scrapbooks.  They have begun gathering plants, identifying them with field guides, and photographing and pressing them in order to put them into a book of their own creation.

It has been pretty incredible to watch this all unfold.  From it I have learned so much!  I have been reminded that we learn all the time, and that spontaneously following our interests feels so good!  I have also been reminded that every spring we feel the need to put aside our hours curled on the couch to spend hours outdoors.  We still read together but not as much.  Our learning looks different throughout the year, and allowing it to flow like the graceful dance of the seasons, frees us to honor our passions and acknowledge them as authentic learning.

Resources:

Wildcraft: An Herbal Adventure Game, LearningHerbs.com

Shanleya’s Quest by Thomas J. Elpel

Botany in a Day by Thomas J. Elpel

Exploring Creation with Botany by Jeannie K. Fulbright

Botany by Charles Kovacs

Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide by Rosemary Gladstar

Advertisements
Book Announcement

Book Announcement

My book began as a few e-mails between friends.  One friend in particular was beginning to homeschool her young children.  She wanted some guidance and I wanted to be there for her even when I wasn’t able to pick up the phone and talk with her.  So, I wrote her an e-mail about some of the things I have learned on my homeschooling journey so far.  Many months later, she wrote to me saying that she had come across my e-mail and that it still spoke to her, bringing her peace and hope.  My words helped her to reflect on her days with her children.  By that time, the original seed that prompted the e-mail was now a flowering plant in the form of this book.  I wrote this book with my dearest friends in mind, always staying true to what I would say to them about any of the topics included in the book.  My hope is that when you read it, you will hear my voice as if we are sitting together, two parents sharing together our journeys.

Below you will find a little info about the book an how to get a copy.

Laying Down the Roots: A Practical Guide for Nurturing Families of Young Children

By Angela Awald

Contents:

Foreward

Introduction

Sleep & Play

Seasonal Festivals & Celebrations

Nature & the Outdoors

Artistic Expression in the Young Child

Stories, Books & Literacy

Mathematics in the Early Years

Practical Activities In & Around the Home

Crafting Your Family Rhythm

How to Make this Work with Multiple Children

Practical Ideas for Learning in the Early Years

Resources

Ready for sale on July 8,, 2013!!

Pre-Order price $12 plus ($2.50) shipping.  If you are local, we can make arrangements for pick-up.

Price as of July 8, 2013 $15 plus ($2.50) shipping

If you would like to order a copy, send me an e-mail at nurturedroots@outlook.com.

Blessings on your journey!

Right Where We are Supposed to Be

Right Where We are Supposed to Be

A few weeks ago, I went to a workshop about unschooling.  I had signed up for it before I had put up this blog and the facebook page for Nurtured Roots.  I am not even sure why I signed up for it except that something about it spoke to me.  I had read about the idea of allowing children to choose their own learning paths, often called unschooling.  The unschooling philosophy appeals to me and challenges me in unison.

So as I drove through the rain on my way to this workshop, I really began to wonder why I was going and what it meant for me as I start up Nurtured Roots.  What if I decided that unschooling was best for my family?  Would that decision detract from my credibility as a homeschool advocate and mentor?  Would my very attendance of an unschooling event take away from what I am attempting in starting this business?  I love to write curriculum and read it.  I love to teach and to be taught.  These and many other questions and thoughts spiraled in my mind weaving a web of what-ifs, but that confusion was swept away as I listened through the workshop and talked with some of the other parents there.  The answers to my earlier uncertainties became clear.

I was there because I was supposed to be.  I was supposed to hear Dayna Martin talk about her life’s journey and how she had come to unschool her children.  I was supposed to hear the voices of the other parents, and their love and concern for their children.  How they want to follow their hearts.  How they are seeking the path that works for their families.  I was supposed to be there because it was there that I had an a-ha moment about raising and educating my own children.  I was there because it challenged me and nurtured me and put me more in touch with my instincts.  I learned about myself on that Saturday afternoon.  So all those concerns about why I was there didn’t matter anymore.  I had followed my intuition and as always happens, I was grateful for the experience.

One of the greatest gifts I received through the day’s experience was the reminder that parents are all seeking their way.  We are all wide-eyed in anticipation that the right path will be illuminated.  What we must never forget is that the right path is different for every family and every person, and the re-awakening of that thought strengthens my desire to be an advocate and guide with families seeking to make informed, intuitive decisions about education.  Different families will choose different ways of learning and I love that!

Not everything I heard in the workshop will work for my family, but just being there and allowing myself to be challenged with new ways of thinking makes me more open to the needs of others.  I am so thankful for the opportunity and look forward to feeling its effects unfold in me and in my family.

I would love to hear from you.  Where are you on your journey in educating your children?